Yes, Steve “Kid” Kuclo finally became the man at the USA Championships over the weekend, winning the Superheavyweight and Overall titles a couple of weeks before his 26th birthday. And, making me look good in the process, since I picked the Plano, TX firefighter to come out on top at the annual event held on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
To refute what Dave “Jumbo” Palumbo said about my selection in our wrap-up video (which can be seen at both this site and Rx-Muscle.com), I did NOT pick the favorite when Kuclo’s 6’0′, 260-pound bod showed up in my crystal ball. Shoot, the guy didn’t even get to pose last year at the finals after finishing sixth! Didn’t win at the Nationals, either, landing in third last October in Atlanta, GA, so this wasn’t an “automatic” as Jumbo claimed.
Anyway, the Jon Lindsay promoted bodyfest produced a record 691 contestants–nearly 200 more than last year! Of course, there were two new additions to the game, men’s and women’s physique. I hosted the show for the 19th year; thanks to the tremendous backstage assistance I always receive, another record was also set–the show ended at 10:05 pm, something I thought was as likely as Charlie Sheen giving a “no comment” to the media.
On the subject of receiving, three other class winners also get to receive their initial IFBB card: Jonathan Delarosa (HW); Tamer El Guindy (LHW) and Luis Santa (MW). Congrats to the remaining class winners, Victor Del Campo (WW); Ori Atkins (LW) and Heath Warren.
I haven’t seen the scoring for the Overall yet, but some, including Jumbo and fellow wrap-up commentator Chris Cormier, felt Santa got an early Christmas gift with the fourth pro card; they deemed Del Campo as the rightful recipient. But, as I say on camera, I think the decisions were just. Even though Victor did remind me of a mini-Dorian Yates! On second thought….
Back to men’s physique. Frankly Shredded (yes, that’s the name listed, and that’s the name I called out!), won Class A. It wasn’t the first time I saw Shredded; he won the Overall at the NPC San Jose Championships that I emceed two weeks earlier. Deniz (pronounced “Dennis”) took Class B, with Nick Garton topping Class C. When all three did their turns in front of the judges, Deniz was the menace for his two opponents, and walked off with the first-ever USA MP crown.
Check out all of Roland Balik’s contest photos from Sin City and let me know if you agree, or disagree, with how things turned out.
‘Til then, I’m out.