About halfway through the judging of the NPC’s first men’s physique division in Southern California, at the MuscleContest Championships on March 26, I turned to promoter Jon Lindsay, indicated the long lineup of good-looking young men in board shorts and six-packs and said with a twinkle, ”You did this for me, right?”
”Yep, for you,” Mr. Lindsay replied, nodding and smiling. He was not smiling at me, though (well, not completely). Like me he was looking at the contestants—more than 40 guys had showed up to hit the stage at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City. Men’s physique was an instant hit, which is certainly good news for local promoters and potential competitors. For someone who has spent the past couple of years covering the growth of women’s bikini competition, it made a refreshing change.
One thing that endeared the contestants to this reporter: It was immediately obvious that most of them, having gotten in shape and gotten up onstage in front of, gosh, everyone, did not know what to do next.
They were such ”guys.” A little self-conscious, they casually checked each other out and one by one tried putting one hand on hip. I half-seriously predicted a new client list for Kim Oddo, who was seated in front of me.
Those watching from my corner of the press pit were particularly taken by Scottie White, who had some enthusiastic friends in the audience and who was clearly going to win the over-35 class. In the open C-class—over 5’10”—he would probably take second to Alex Carneiro. We all agreed that both guys—indeed pretty much the whole 20-man C-class—needed to learn how to ”have fun with it.”
A few hours later at the finals the men’s physique contestants returned to the stage, and surprise: Scottie was a new man, strolling center stage with confidence. What happened? Kim was grinning from ear to ear. He couldn’t help himself and had volunteered a few minutes of coaching.
It wasn’t just Scottie. Most of the lineup had been put through emergency paces by family, friends, trainers or persons unknown regarding how to be themselves—and have fun with it—onstage. As a result, the deer-in-the-headlights looks were mostly gone. Alex won the class and the overall, and as he held overhead the big MuscleContest sword, flashing personality, one thought flashed through my mind: ”And so it begins….”