It's Las Vegas. It's late July. It's 110 degrees. And once again for the 15th consecutive year since the turn of the millennium, Jon Lindsay Productions is staging the enormous NPC USA Championships at the Artemus Ham Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. As the sister contest to the NPC Nationals, the NPC USA is one of the two most anticipated events on the NPC competitive schedule annually.
Stars are made at this event. And when it comes to women's bodybuilding, the tradition is impressive. Iris Kyle launched her remarkable competitive career after winning the overall 1998 NPC USA, and yes, that contest was also held in Las Vegas.
A contest tradition has to begin somewhere. All the events we now treasure as 'must see' shows on the annual contest schedule had, in many cases, humble and even unheralded beginnings. But over the years, they grow. They gain a reputation among the fans and competitors based on how the event was presented and promoted. The strong survive and even flourish.
One of the hallmarks of a top athlete in any sport is consistency. It is the ability to produce an outstanding performance over and over again. And on the weekend of July 4-5 at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Chicago, Argentina's Rita Bello showed, in no uncertain terms, she possesses that ability as she out-flexed a field of 18 additional challengers to win the Wings of Strength Chicago Pro Championships.
Promoted by Tim Gardner, the Wings of Strength in Chicago is in its third year, and the contest has developed a popular reputation among competitors and a solid following with fans of bodybuilding. In two previous years the winner was Monique Jones, and this year, in her absence, a new champion would claim the crown. Enter Maria Rita Bello.
As if it wasn't enough reason to celebrate the July 4-5 weekend with fireworks on the birthday of American Independence, promoter Tim Gardner found another good reason as he staged the huge Wings of Strength Championships at the Holiday Inn's Tinley Park Convention Center in Chicago. Billed as 'Showtime in Chicago', this 2014 event – led by title sponsors Armored Nutrition and P28 High Protein Bread – is now in its third year with a full slate of IFBB Pro events along with the NPC Tim Gardner Chicago Extravaganza.
Not enough is said about bodybuilding contests that have established long traditions, but when it comes to the deep South, the annual Greater Gulf States held in New Orleans (actually in the suburb of Metairie) has its firm roots dating back as far as the 80s.
Historically speaking, the NPC Junior Nationals long ago established an impressive contest reputation when it came to producing future stars in bodybuilding. Lee Haney won the first men's title in 1982, and in 1986 the women began what has been a terrific run to date.
Nine-year-old Tamee Marie (and that's not a typo) won the Physique division of the Omaha Pro on June 7th.
It was a weekend when horseracing's California Chrome was attempting to score a Triple Crown victory in the Belmont Stakes and the LA Kings were busy beating the New York Rangers in two overtime hockey games.