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Tampa on its Way, Fun Time in San Jose

On paper, Hidetada Yamagishi should be the clear winner of the Tampa Pro this weekend. But, contests aren’t won on paper. I wonder if Hide, who has been competing in every contest since the Phoenix Pro opener back in February, isn’t going to burn out. Could he be heading for the Silveo Samuel route? After doing show after show the past couple of years, the 2009 IRON MAN Pro champion has been missing in action all season, and rumors about health problems have been rampant.

So, who are the main contenders to snag the title from Yamagishi if he’s not at his best? Looks like Darrem Charles, Ben White. Ed Nunn and Brandon Curry have the best shot. Yes, the same Curry who won his pro card at the 2008 USA but has yet to step on stage. I really liked this guy’s physique…a Flex Wheeler type, if you will. But, I haven’t seen any pics or footage of Curry, so I’m at a loss on just how well he can do this weekend. One thing for sure..all eyes will be on Brandon this weekend. We should know in a few days if Curry will be a factor in the pro ranks. You’re opinion?

Got back from San Jose late Sunday afternoon after hosting Paul Love’s 30th edition of that show. For the past couple of years, Brother Love has been assisted by Geoff and Sarah Malone, owners of the Santa Cruz Max Muscle store.

Congrats to the Overall winners: Men’s champion Tim Hammet, Women’s winner Carla Rossi, Figure titlist Gemmas Santos and Kris Johnsrude, who toppled the Bikini field.

Two-time Arnold Classic champion Kai Greene was the featured guest poser, and he delighted in telling the crowd I was wrong—again—in estimating his weight. I said he was at 282. “Wrong,” Kai quipped at the podium. I moved it to 292. “Wrong again,” he smiled. Greene then said he tipped the scales at 302 (at 5’8”) a couple of days ago.

Which means he was about 290. Looked pretty good at that weight, too. Can Greene have a shot at upsetting Jay Cutler at the Big Dance? Sure he has a shot. But, I’m sticking with Cutler, with no disrespect intended Mr. Greene. Keith Williams, one of my picks to win the Superheavyweight class at the upcoming USA, also guest posed, and Stan Efferding, prepping for the “World’s Strongest Bodybuilder” showdown with Ben White at the Olympia, also posed.

Got to spend time over the weekend with Hannah Park, the first NPC IRON MAN Figure winner in 1993 who made it all the way to the Olympia stage that same year. Hannah then retired, at 24. She’s currently living in San Jose and is about a year or so away from finishing nursing school. This was the first show she’s attended in years, and said she had a blast.

Additionally, I’ve officially sold her on Regular Joe’s, the renowned eatery a few blocks from the venue and host hotel. Both of us felt terrible about eating all that grub in front of Greene, who happened by our table to witness the inhaling of chicken cacciatore, spaghetti and several slices of bread past midnight.

A special thanks to Flex Wheeler, for his kind words about my emcee work through the years, to Love for the beautiful plaque he presented me, and to the Malone’s for their assistance in getting all the proper paperwork done in order to run the contest efficiently.

I’m out.

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