The 2015 NPC National women's Physique division competition mirrored past events with a robust field of 66 contestants from 26 states and although Georgia's Stacia Woods surfaced as the new overall Physique champion, Florida was clearly the dominant force as the Sunshine State succeeded in placing at least one competitor in each of the four height classes.
This group of women competed with enthusiasm and, unwittingly, produced the some of the most interesting results in the long history of the NPC Nationals. Collectively, it almost didn't matter how many women entered each weight class, in the end all 18 managed to compete as one, and as a group they managed to 'score one' for women's bodybuilding.
It would be unfair to say that every contest uncovers an 'IT' girl from the field, but when they appear, there is no mistaking the effect they have on a judging panel and audience. Most times the allure is intangible... a certain something that sets that competitor apart from the rest with a combination of qualities that produces magic. And so it was with Texan Jessica Gaines.
The starting blocks came by way of the Europa Phoenix Pro promoted by Ed & Betty Pariso on October 10-11 at the Phoenix Convention Center, and already a healthy field of 18 contestants were all buffed and shiny, eager to get the early bird start.
Individually, notable performances and accomplishments were everywhere. Of the 211 contestants competing in the 20 contests this year, a large number were making their pro debuts.
Now with the Ms. Olympia remaining only as the benchmark of bodybuilding history, the newly developed Physique Division rests in the difficult position of picking up where bodybuilding has left off. Hence, the 2015 field of 30 contestants includes another Canadian foursome to carry the torch for Canada.
Only one person can be the first to win an event that is being contested for the first time, and with the inaugural Rising Phoenix World Championships 15 contestants gave it their best shot at being that first winner of what will be the annual event to christen the top female bodybuilder in the world.