Alright!!! Here we go – I‘m supposed to be doing some mapping of insurance quote systems, but you know what I‘m like and seriously…really…who cares? I’d much rather be doing what I love to do and hopefully bring you a teeny glimpse of what was a fast, frantic, fantastic day on stage at the ANB Victorian Titles.
I was really looking forward to this show and having ‘done’ 3 shows in 3 weeks now, it has been just as full on in front of the stage and today was shaping up to be no exception as I knew it was going to be a big catch up with friends and ‘family’ who I’d be wanting to get a ton of photos of.
That’s what I like about the ANB – Maria loves to include people in her passion and its contagious! On the day she is everyone’s show ‘mum’ making sure all the smallest of details are checked out, Vicki Arief is everyone’s stage ‘mum’ gently correcting when carb depleted brains forget numbers or step to the wrong ‘right’, and Tony Haranas does the jokes with whoever is the stage MC and keeps things moving along when things might not be going quite according to plan backstage. There’s the backstage crew who make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be and helping out with the tans.
Then there’s always support from a consistent group of judges, as well as a number of competitors who are regulars at ANB shows – have been for years and come back year after year to compete in what can turn out to be very tough fields even if they aren’t necessarily the biggest of lineups. In fact as it turned out, one competitor who has been competing with the ANB for over 10 years chose this show to announce her retirement and her support was recognised with a special trophy presentation, which was nice to see – like I said it makes you feel like one of the family 🙂
There is a different atmosphere at one of Maria’s shows, a little more ‘homely’ – if that’s at all possible with all the nervous tension and expectation in the air!
It was an early start (had to pick up a car) and then had an absolutely charmed run to Bundoora – 23 minutes from the city including getting (a little bit) lost! Off to a good start. When I got to the hall, Maria was holding the competitors briefing, running through how the day was going to work, making sure everyone was aware of the running order and where they had to be for when their category was called, so I ambled around catching up with people – Greg Dolman and David Salaman of ANB South Australia – I finally actually met him! David is new to the ANB and has been doing a great job in Adelaide promoting the federation, I don’t think he knew just how intense running a federation can be, but with support from people like Maria, he’s got to grips with it really well and after a few weeks of down time after this last show, he’s already raring to go for next year! With Dave’s enthusiasm and vision, ANB South Australia can only become bigger and stronger.
Maria had finished the competitor brief, so I quickly caught her attention and asked what she wanted me to do and she pointed to the front table just behind the judges!!!
Woohoo! Media table – front row seats!
This was going to be really good! Leticia Brown joined me at the table – she’ll be covering it for Australian Iron Man and Maria’s social media, blogger (sorry forgot your name!) was also on the table – so there was a veritable expo of technology going on at the – I had phone, iPad, video and camera all primed and ready for ongoing updates – posting photos, comments and routines as they happened. Social media guru had laptop connected to camera with photoshop ready to post up images of the action as it happened – we were ready to go.
The stage had a few extra bits of equipment on it that you probably wouldn’t normally associate with a bodybuilding show…guitars, drums, speakers, sound gear…whats going on?
Vicki Arief’s, son Cam and his band ‘Band Substance’ (totally appropriate at an ASADA sanctioned show!) were going to kick things off. Ys Brand, was the singer and later to be stage mc and they blasted the show open with that classic from 3 Doors Down ‘Kyrptonite’ – brilliant!
They only did one song (shame!) I reckon they should have followed up with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – that would have really set the scene!
After The Band Substances left the stage, it was straight into the fitness models under 30 bikini round – huge group – 17! And there were a number of girls who I’ve been watching for the last few weeks as well – Bianca Romeo, looking fabulous (again!) and Zoe Dawes, who last week came 2nd at the WNBF Vic Titles – get this – Zoe only decided to compete about 3 weeks ago – she’d never even picked up a weight in a gym before that! Was that beginners luck? This lineup would test that theory.
The girls all did their T walk, and then were brought back on as a group and Vicki ran them through the quarter turns.
Next up was the Guys – you already know I‘m a BIG fan of this category! And why not? Hot tanned guys parading in front of my fully zoomed in camera…
Told you it was going to be a good day!
One of the guys, Jimmy Lan – who had a very big crowd following came on stage with dark mirrored shades and a big green beach ball – he obviously intended to create an impression on the judges –which he certainly did when his attempt to punch the beach ball into the crowd fell a little short and hit one of the judges square in the face!
OVER the judges head…Jimmy..
After the bikini and beach wear rounds, the girls and guys had their sports wear rounds – some very creative outfits, Ys, the stage MC, was particularly taken with the girl in the short pink golfing outfit…
Tongue back in head please, Tony doesn’t like having his head drooled on!
The guys looked just as good – hmm…do I prefer snowboarding, do I suddenly need to lose the ability to swim in order to be rescued??
Ooh! Pick MEEE – I want to be taught how to BOX 😀
And I’m not even going to go where Mr Snooker was suggesting….
Oh, and watch out Bruce Lee – Jimmy has a few moves he can show you!
Onto the evening wear for the ladies. I have to say that in some of the shows, some of the dresses worn by the girls are not what you would describe as classy…call me old fashioned, but I don’t get it really, by this time the girls have showed off their figures in their bikini’s so is there any need to have a dress slit up the leg to the hip and scooped out at the back to the tailbone, a v down the front that would make Rebecca Twigley blush, and then have all the sides cut out as well?
Some of them are definitely more Lindsay Lohan than Leading Lady…
But this time there were some really nice looking dresses, and overall the girls all looked beautiful.
The Guys had all made an effort too – James Bond eat your heart out! Jimmy Lan (by now the solid crowd favourite) didn’t quite pull off the casual ‘throw the jacket over the shoulder’ effect – but he had the presence to laugh at himself along with the rest of us. Lawrence Templar was Mr Smooth in a beautifully tailored charcoal grey pinstripe suit with a burgundy shirt…
gets my vote! 🙂
So by now it was time for some trophies – Bianca Romeo well deserved her win in a big lineup with Brooke Beattie 2nd and Brianna Cook 3rd
In the over 30 fitness models it was Davina Jumon 1st and Dani Bosanic 2nd and Christina Botting 3rd
For the guys it was…
And the crowd DID go wild!
Mr Smooth, Lawrence was a very close 2nd and James Nearchou 3rd
There was then a short break – which I needed and so would the judges – how they picked between such big groups of good looking bodies I don’t know. There were people I wanted to see backstage and I’d already taken about 500 photos! What??? I was supposed to be trying to take less, not more – we hadn’t even started on the Figure and Bodybuilding rounds, and I had more than a few requests to fill!
I quickly ducked backstage so see what was going on. Even though there was no action onstage, behind the scenes it was all go. The competitors for the next category were putting last minute touches to tans, pumping up, mentally getting their head in to their zone, trying not to eye up the opposition and assess how they thought they were going to go.
Its very difficult not to look at your ‘competition’ when you’re all standing backstage, because you’re all relaxed, you just can’t tell how someone will look when they’re on stage and fully flexed into a pose – some people backstage might not look shredded to the bone, but when they hit their poses they just know how to bring out the best of themselves. You have to try and keep your head focused on you and your performance, otherwise you’ll end up making yourself more nervous and unsure than you might already be.
The crew were rounding up stray competitors to get them into position ready for when we started, the big whiteboard was showing the estimated event time – we were running a little late, so for some competitors they probably wouldn’t be hitting stage for another 4 or 5 hours! That’s a long time to wait when you’re dehydrated and nervous, but most people just plug themselves into their ipod or go and watch out front. For people who organised tables for their friends and families at least they would have people to chat to or their kids with them. That another feature of Marias shows that I think works really well, the round tables for friends and family – it brings people together in a group rather than just in impersonal straight lines, and most groups take full advantage often bringing real gourmet spreads of food platters to keep them all going through the day.
Figure Novice was first and I was looking forward to seeing Kim Nohe – she has been one of the ANB bloggers this year, so some of you may have been following along with her as she took this big step. Kim has been to several of the ANB Get the Edge Workshops, and its always nice to meet someone who is sharing their thoughts and journey.
This was a small group of 5 and as with any novice group they looked a little unsure of themselves – which is where Vicki being such a good stage mum helps, as she makes it nice and easy. With such a small group there was no need for callouts, so one round of symmetry followed by the compulsories and it was time for the free routines.
There is a prize in each category for best posing routine and some people really put a lot of effort into their costume – Kim cam out in a traditional Maori costume and certainly looked the part of warrior woman!
Next up was novice men, I was looking out for Cori Jay who has only decided to compete a few months ago when he let himself be ‘persuaded’ by Vicki..
He is not the biggest guy on stage (and there were some big guys on stage) – for a novice lineup there were some really good physiques – but Cori certainly didn’t look out of place. He posed really well – not surprising really having been taken under Vicki’s expert wing and besides, his butt would have felt the back of Vicki’s hand if he hadn’t! 🙂
After the novices, we moved on to the Intermediate Women, again a small group so only one round of the symmetry and compulsories were required, before the free posing routines.
After the intermediate women there was the Teenage and Junior men – these two categories were combined because there was only one competitor in the junior men – and he was shredded! I felt a bit sorry for him as he was stuck on the end of another big lineup and when there was a callout for the teenage category he didn’t get a chance to really showcase his physique – but he would have another chance in the overall.
By now it was all starting to blur a bit, when you look at everything through a little square of glass watching for that split second moment when a facial expression changes or a pose just hits its peak or the competitors eyes are turned directly facing into the lens or two competitors decide to ham it up and have a bit of a laugh – you have to be ‘on’ the entire time, super focused, oblivious to everything around you and completely at one with the subject so you are aware of every little nuance of expression or body posture or ready to capture that moment when the bead of sweat trickling down the competitors face reaches their chin and catches the light – and then you have less than 5 seconds to capture that moment for 4 or 5 individuals as well as the whole lineup…
throw in ‘live’ updates, commenting and answering questions for updates on fb – its multitasking on steroids (the only ones allowed at this show!), its intense and surprisingly hard work!
I didn’t want to budge from my seat as there were people I knew in every category, some were looking really good and some hadn’t quite come in as they had hoped but they gave it their all anyway.
It was great to finally get to see Bruce Hatfield and Aaron Braithwaite on stage together in the Masters category and at one point they were stood side by side – many snappies taken of that!
And ironically enough in answering a message on my phone about how Azza was going, I took a photo of his posing routine, which I think may just be my best photo of the day!
I was up to about 750 by this time and starting to worry if I’d make it to the end of the show – did I bring my backup memory cards….
So the day moved along swiftly, there was another intermission with the Black and Blue fashion parade – Matt and Jarrod who had been escorting the fitness models got their 5 minutes on stage and definitely weren’t shy about making the most of it!
By now it was really starting to get late and the crowd was thinning out quite a bit, once you get down to the pointy end of a show it really is just the family and friends of the competitors who make it to the overall who are still left – but there was still plenty of support and people vocally urging on their girl or guy and the plastic hand clappers that had been ‘handed’ out (I crack myself up sometimes!) were a big hit with the kids and kept the noise levels up.
At last we got to the overalls, the women was a smallish lineup of 7 with Bridgette Freeman, Karen Flaherty and Elise Trussler the standouts. I remembered Bridgette from the INBA Universe last year where she won the Open and I think the overall, and she was in absolutely top condition today. Karen Flaherty had earlier announced her retirement from competing after 10 years and was given a special award in recognition for her contribution to the sport. Elise Trussler has just been in rare form in the last few weeks – she has taken out the INBA and the WNBF overall Vic titles – would she make it 3 from 3?
Only one round of symmetry and compulsories where required and Bridgette was duly crowned the Victorian champion – watch out Nationals, she is going to be tough to beat!
And finally we were onto the guys – 11 competitors in the overall and boy were there some amazing physiques – this was going to be very tough to call – I mean there was Yiannis Ntovellos, the under 65kg winner – he also has been on a roll the last few weeks and his conditioning is just getting better,
Adrian Gordon the novice category winner – he just looked fierce, he meant business no mistake. Benson Milgate an absolutely huge guy who won the over 90kg category is also backing up from taking out the INBA Vic Titles overall and John ‘Boulder’ (thats what I’m calling him – he looks like the superhero guy made from rocks in the marvel comics!), you’d need an industrial wrecking ball to budge him off stage!
am I right or am I right?
How do you pick? It was going to come down to the really fine print of the guidelines to separate this group.
And Tony wasn’t going to let them off lightly – oh no! Symmetry and compulsory rounds for all, then a callout to repeat, then a shuffle to make sure all the judges got to see everyone in close up and another repeat the symmetry and compulsories.
Tony, hurry up, these guys are dying up there!
You could see them sweating and shaking.
At last the judges were happy and Adrian Gordon, the Novice category winner took out the overall – very good win, that was an absolutely top class lineup.
With Bridgette and Adrian both on stage for last minute photos, and then it was all over.
Another show done, trophies handed out and taken home, happy new winners and probably a few disappointments. The events crew swung into action packing up the stage, taking down lighting and removing sound equipment. I was stiff as a board from sitting down all day, my ‘trigger’ finger was sore, I needed to get outside for some fresh air, so some last minute goodbyes and it was off to see what goodies awaited on those little squares of black plastic that had melted at the edges by now.
Thank you Maria for all your tireless hard work in organising and running the shows, thank you to the judges, the backstage crew, the events crew, the Black and Blue models…and Matt and Jarrod…
Of course thank you to the competitors! No show would be complete without you.
And good job, Band Substance – IMHO a good way to open a show!
See you all at the next one!