As the title suggests, I just spent the weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. Got back about noon Sunday. There for the annual Hall of Fame inductions? Nope. There to check out LaBron and his mastery of the hoop game? Naw. I was there, once more, to emcee the annual Natural Ohio, the dandy produced by the tag team promotional efforts of Todd Pember and Dave Liberman.
Last year a record 158 competitors walked on to the Lakewood High School Auditorium. This season the bar was set even higher, as 180 competitors (not counting crossovers) flaunted their stuff in front of a large, energetic crowd.
When it was all said and done, Luric Edison was crowned the Men’s Bodybuilding Overall champ, Toni West was voted the best in Women’s Bodybuilding, and Stephanie Blocker topped a strong Figure field. The amazing Tanya McCort, a mother of four, won the first ever Bikini competition.
Speaking of astonishing mothers, Niki DelGrosso, wife of Titan’s Gym (Mentor, OH-open 24 hours) owner Geoff, gave birth to TRIPLETS six months ago-the adorable Vincent, Tyler and Teigan-yet still competed in the contest! And, Niki finished an impressive eighth in a strong field of 22 in the Open Figure “C” division.
While we’re on the subject of impressive performances, guest poser Jay Cutler literally got out of bed-he was hit with the flu earlier in the week-to keep his commitment as the show’s featured star.
I’m always wary of Ohio weather come Arnold Sports Festival and Natural Ohio time–three years ago I was greeted by 8″ of snow for the latter event -but, gotta admit, have no complaints this time around. Heck, it was as warm in Columbus a month ago (for the Arnold Sports Festival) as it was back here in “sunny” So Cal. And, even though it was a bit on the chilly side over the weekend, the sun was out enough to make it a cheery time in ’09.
Mike Lackner and I did lunch at the Cheesecake Factory after the prejudging, which anchored a fairly new mall in Westlake. Speaking of Westlake, what the heck ever happened to Diane Garrity? If anyone reading this remembers the former Nationals Lightweight champ who moved to California for a short time nearly 20 years ago, let me know. Dandy Diane had a great bod, and a great singing voice; the registered nurse and I did a few skits together at the IRON MAN PRO and at the Cal State Los Angeles shows I put on way back when.
Anybody with the current, accurate details-including contact numbers-gets a free year’s subscription to IRON MAN, courtesy of yours truly.
Now, get to work…I’m exhausted and about the hit the sack, Jack