NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters
Bodybuilding Fitness and Figure Championships, 2007

Taken backstage after Mike Horn won the 2007 North American
Masters show and went pro.  Jan Horn won her class in figure at that show.
Photo courtesy of Jan and Mike Horn.

NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters Bodybuilding Fitness and Figure Championships

Contest report by Gerry Triano

Held July 21-22, 2007, at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Promoter: Gary Udit

This is always a huge show, and 2007 was no exception -- with 345 competitors in all divisions. There was a prejudge for masters men and the one-piece round for all Figure athletes on Friday evening, and a prejudge for all other competitors on Saturday morning. The Teen Fitness routines were performed, and awards given, at the Saturday prejudge.

Finals were held Saturday evening. Because of the unusual length of last year's event (it ran from 6 p.m. till 1:20 a.m.), promoter Gary Udit did some very effective streamlining for this year’s evening show. The show started at 5 p.m., and with the Teen Fitness finished on Friday, that didn’t have to be covered. Teen, Collegiate and Masters Figure athletes were just introduced and rewarded in their two-piece suits. The show was finished by 10:50 p.m.. Gary certainly delivered on his promise for better pacing. Mike Lackner (1998 Collegiate Nationals winner) did a top-notch job as emcee, and was instrumental (along with the backstage expeditors) in keeping the show moving.

The competition was keen in all divisions. Notable was the Collegiate overall posedown in which lhw Casey Fathi, hw Alberto Rubinaccio and shw Brian Yersky were all featured. Brian was impressively big with some good lines, and Alberto had arguably the best developed quads in the show. Casey's tightness and overall look deservedly won him the overall title.

I was particularly impressed with the Women's Masters bodybuilding this year. Congratulations to Debbie Bramwell on her overall win in the 35+ category, which earned her IFBB pro status. Debbie won her lhw class last year and came back again determined to go all the way. In many year's of attending national events, this over-35 lhw class was one of the strongest and most contentious I've ever seen. All five ladies had incredible shape and posing ability, so this makes Debbie's achievement all the more notable. The overall posedown was also a difficult call, but Debbie deservedly prevailed. This was well contested, and as a group the ladies posed with more flair than the men.

As always, the Masters Men provided extraordinary competition. One highlight was the return of ‘70s icon Martin Vranicar to competition. He dominated the over-50 division, and won his class and the overall to earn IFBB pro status. Like Debbie Bramwell, he was in the toughest class in the group (hw), so his accomplishment is noteworthy. And an honorable mention goes to Robert Caltabiano, a past overall 50 winner. He has competed in this division every year in which he was eligible (he was 3rd in this year's 50 mw). Look for him to be a major contender in the over-60 group next year.

The over-40 division was spectacular. Wayne Hugar was particularly sharp, dominating and winning the bw class. Perhaps the most contentious was the lhw class, with 21 athletes. Anthony Finocchiaro came in at his absolute best to win the class over Vinny Galanti (2nd in his Masters debut) and a ripped Stacy Seals (3rd here, and also masters mw winner at last year's North Americans).

In the hw over-40 class, Gus Carter came in tighter than he had been to win the class. Dropping from shw to hw was key for him. The shw came down to three terrific athletes: Andy Haman, showing intimidating size and density and winning the class in his Masters debut; Mike Horn, who has amazing delt and upper back width as well as a sharp taper, finishing 2nd , and Daryl Jones, who finished 3rd but eclipsed everyone with his back lat and awesome size. All these competitors were strong contenders.

The overall battle was intense as usual, since two pro cards were at stake for the overall winner and overall runner-up. Anthony Finocchario is now an IFBB pro, as is Andy Haman, who won the overall over-40 trophy and earned pro status.

Hats off to Gary Udit and all the athletes who participated to make this another super event. And congrats to the others who eraned IFBB pro status: Paul LaSala (overall over-60 Masters winner) and Tivisay Briceno (overall Masters figure 35+ winner).

August 2007

For more about the show, see these links: