2007 ABFF Northern Lights Bodybuilding & Figure Championships
By Karen Patten, Pro Fitness Competitor
Cinco de Mayo, 1862- the Mexican army, with only 4000 soldiers, confronted and ultimately defeated 8000 French troops in the Battle of Pueblo.
Cinco de Mayo, 2007- another battle was waged, this time in the far North. Athletes from all over the State of Alaska had come to Fairbanks to battle it out for the coveted title of ABFF Northern Lights Bodybuilding Champion.
The ABFF Northern Lights Bodybuilding and Figure Championships is the Northernmost Bodybuilding and Figure Competition in the United States. In his 8th year promoting this event, Derek Snelson paired with first time promoters Andy Evanger and Karla Renkert. Andy is a Physician who lives and works in Fairbanks, and Karla is a competitive bodybuilder who most recently earned the title, Alaska State Heavyweight Women’s Champion. These promoters did an excellent job of providing for the athletes’ every need. Backstage, it was clear the emphasis was on providing a fun, safe environment for the competitors, and the athletes responded in kind, giving the standing room only audience a show to rival none other. Fairbanks is the site of Fort Wainwright, and this show was largely put on to provide entertainment and support for these troops. They came out in force to support the athletes and cheer for their own.
The show began as 2006 Northern Lights Bodybuilding Champion John Wayne Johnson took the stage in a dramatic performance that elicited cheers, stomps, and whistles from the ladies in the crowd. He then made a quick costume change and came back onstage to emcee and brought out the Women’s Figure competitors.
Kristin Cash looked amazing in her second show ever, with excellent conditioning and improved symmetry over her last competition. She is moving to the east coast later this year and should make a huge impact there, as well.
Deniza Niocevic followed Kristin in her first figure competition. She had nice stage presentation and with a little fine tuning should do well. Both these figure competitors train at Fort Wainwright.
Women’s bodybuilding was won by Samantha Theisen from Anchorage. She is a recent high school graduate who shows excellent muscle maturity. Her posing and stage presence belied her youth, as her performance would rival that of a much more experienced bodybuilder.
Alaska’s only Pro Fitness Competitor then took the stage (yes, that’s me). In 2004, I competed in this same show, on the same stage, to win my first figure competition. I was honored to be invited back as a guest poser. The crowd was thrilled to see the routine that earned me my pro card last year.
Matthew Wonchala drove all the way from Eagle River to win his class in Junior Men’s Bodybuilding. He’s another competitor that shows excellent muscle maturity and should go far.
Novice Men’s Bodybuilding was won by Jacob Graham, who also traveled all the way from Eagle River.
The toughest class of the evening was Men’s Open Bodybuilding, where Wyatt Belanger, Randolph Walker and Matthew Tompkins battled it out for the sword. After an exciting pose down, the judges awarded the overall win to Wyatt Belanger, who was thrilled to win his first overall title to add to his numerous awards. Randolf Walker from Fort Wainwright took second, and Fort Richardson’s Matthew Tompkins walked away with third place.
The highlight of the evening was Professional Bodybuilder Matt Lowden from Juneau taking the stage. He’s currently training for a show in New York in September and at 230 pounds, came in ripped. The audience members that had somehow remained seated came to their feet to join the rest of the crowd in cheering and wolf whistles, as he wowed them with his amazing size, symmetry, and stage presence.
Major sponsors of this event include Bodybuilding.com, the World’s #1 Bodybuilding Cyberstore and the best resource for athletes around the world; Bill’s Distributing, who provided Muscle Milk, Muscle Milk Light, and a variety of energy drinks for the competitors and judges; Far North Harley; Wired Energy Drink, Kre-Alklyn and Kre-Fem; Powerhouse Gym and Fitness Center; and Gene’s Chrysler.
Audience members received an extra bonus in that there was a classic car show going on simultaneously. Spectators were able to admire hot bodies and hot cars at the same place- every man’s dream!