Oh, to be tanned, toned, and pumped about it.
On the first Saturday night of May, wife Elaine and I took a “quarter turn to the right” and attended our first-ever gun show. Nope, it’s not what you’re thinking. On this sun-splashed evening, we contemplated doing a few sit-ups before jogging over to Kelowna Community Theatre for the 2017 Kelowna Classic. This sold-out parade of muscle and moxie put a shining light on the sport of bodybuilding and fitness and the individuals in pursuit of titanium abs and tape-measure biceps.
The host organization was the British Columbia Amateur Bodybuilding Association (BCABBA) based right here in Kelowna. The BCABBA is a non-profit association for competitors of figure, fitness, women’s physique, men’s physique, classic men’s physique, and bodybuilding. This contest was considered a Tier One qualifier, meaning that the winners of each category would advance to the Tier Two BC Cup Provincials on Saturday, May 20th at Massey Theatre in New Westminster.
Upon arriving at the theatre, BCABBA media coordinator Rey Damasco offered us seats in the media section in row three. We plopped down right behind the judges at darn near center stage. Talk about getting an up-close look at the beefcake, we could identify every curve and muscle on every thigh and back.
I’m guessing 60-70 competitors advanced to the evening spotlight – women and men of all ages and weight-category sizes. The show was methodically paced. A group of competitors would take a stage and the posturing would begin. Strike a pose. Turn a quarter to the right as show a side chest. Turn your back to the stage and show a rear double biceps. Turn again and do an abdominal thigh. Face front and do a double lat (latissimus dorsi) spread. Then a final 30-second pose down.
During all this gyrating to music, certain audience members were cheering and clapping for their loved ones. Crowd participation was encouraged. The louder the better. Heck, maybe it’s a peer-pressure way to sway the judges? Don’t think so. The adjudicators in front of us seemed very stoic like they had been there before and knew what they were looking for.
We admired many amazing sculptures throughout the 4.5-hour affair. What exactly were the judges looking for? I asked that exact question to BCABBA president Ross Duncan. “The points of emphasis are symmetry, upper and lower balance, definition, body proportion, and muscularity,” he said. “Good skin tone is preferred. We don’t want shiny bodies. Excessive oil is not allowed.”
Big Finish – who won, you’re probably wondering? Sorry, I didn’t keep a scorecard. In my mind, every competitor deserved a trophy. It takes a lot of discipline, poise, and guts to train your butt off and then get up on stage in front of a packed house wearing very little. My favorites were those with a little extra charisma and fluidity to their flow.