2014 USN Caledonian Classic
Report by Lee Kemp, photos courtesy of Ian Coyle
Saturday 31st May saw the inaugural UKDFBA Caledonian Classic take place at Deans Theatre, Livingston. A sold out audience roared on each and every one of the 54 athletes who turned out to contest the 11 classes, creating one of the best atmospheres ever witnessed at one of our contests. The results are as follows:
1st, Peshrow Abdullah. Peshrow looked absolutely huge for a teenager with a beautiful shape and full muscle bellies and tiny joints which accentuated his already impressive muscle mass further. Peshrow lacked condition by modern contest standards but was good enough to take the class today. If he comes in leaner and improves his presentation (particularly his quarter turns) then he will be hard to beat at any level.
2nd, Dale Newton. Dale too was big and well-proportioned and presented himself far more competently than the winner, but was the first of many today who was badly let down by his tan. Way too dark and very “grubby” looking in places, Dales tan made him very difficult to judge and almost completely obscured his conditioning and possibly cost him the class win. However, an easy enough issue to iron out and once he does he too will be tough to beat in the teen division.
3rd, Blair Fenton. The first of a huge team from Raw Anatomy, Glenrothes to take the stage today. Blair was the youngest of the three and as expected was lighter muscled than his opponents. He has a nicely balanced physique though and was confident and enthusiastic in his presentation with the best tan of the three. A promising future awaits this young man should he choose to pursue it.
1st, Lewis Rossi. Although pushed pretty hard by the two men who shared the top three slots with him, Lewis was a solid winner of this superb 9 man class. Tall and long limbed, and well on the way to filling his frame with the required muscle mass, Lewis was big, cut and impeccably presented. Once he grows and matures further, he will no doubt be a World class heavyweight.
2nd, Scott Cunningham. Roared on by the local supporters, Scott very nearly put a halt to Lewis’ winning ways with a big, wide shouldered and well presented physique with a great shape and especially impressive legs. A little harder and a touch more sheen to his tan and Scott would have made the class impossible to split. Another young man with a bucket full of potential.
3rd, Sam Robinson. A more compact and diminutive Sam struggled to match the two ahead of him for size, but was the hardest and most separated of the class with a thick chest and excellent legs. Being a little narrower structurally than would be ideal for his frame, Sam needs to focus on creating as much of an illusion of width as he can but if he continues to appear onstage with the condition and presentation he bought today will always be a potential front runner.
4th, Atif Afzal. One of the most structurally blessed men in the entire contest, Atif took a firm grasp on the fourth spot despite being relatively lighter on muscle mass and less conditioned than some of the others in the class. Atif has wide shoulders and a narrow waist, with particularly good chest and shoulder development and just needs to bring up his legs a little and try and hit harder condition to do major damage at this level.
5th, Jordan Cleland. Last year’s 5th place finisher at the UK Championships, Jordan appeared here a little softer than at that contest which cost him dearly as lacking the aesthetic appeal of some of his counterparts he really needs to be “bang on” condition wise. Nonetheless, his heavily muscled physique was presented well and fought off some strong challengers for the last of the top 5 spots.
Also competing were a big, brutal Roy Cowan who just missed out on 5th place with a compact but heavily muscled physique, Adam Wilczynski who was ripped and ready with good tan and presentation and just needs to fill out a little more to break into the placings, Ewan Gardner who boasted a killer side chest shot and massive quads and Salman Mohammed who lacked the size or condition to place higher today but shows good potential.
1st, Andrew Williams. Andrew was a dominant winner of the class, despite being just a fraction away from his best condition. He had a compact and heavily muscled physique with no obviously weak body parts. Andrew posed beautifully and rightfully took home the best poser award for the whole contest. Even at this early stage of the day, it was clear that Andrew would be one of the best physiques in the contest.
2nd, Michael Boyle. In his best ever condition, rock hard and ripped and full with a great tan and improved posing from past outings, Mick was as clear a runner up as Andrew was a winner today. With a good off season focusing on his lower body development to try and balance his physique out a little more, he can definitely expect to push for the winners spot in future contests. Michael was visibly over the moon with his placing which was well deserved and a pleasure to see.
3rd, Stuart Balsillie. A tall, lean physique who had been seen in staggering condition in the weeks leading up to the contest, Stuart was another who fell afoul of bad tanning almost completely obscuring the fine details of his physique. If his tan were at least 50% paler and not running from him, I have no doubt that he’d have been fighting hard for at least the runner up spot. Stuart knows this himself I’m sure and will be back better than ever at his next contest.
4th, William Boyd. In staggering shape for a man of 61 years, William was well balanced and lean and posed like only a seasoned veteran of the sport can. He deservedly took the Over 50 trophy and was very close to pinching a top 3 slot.
5th, Gerry Reilly. Appearing onstage for the first time in 20 years, on his 49th birthday nonetheless was Gerry. He had the appearance of having lost a lot of excess weight to appear onstage today and his physique and entertaining presentation (which bought the house down) would be a credit to a man of any age.
Also competing were James Durnion and Keith Haggart, both of whom needed to be considerably harder to do themselves justice but boasted well built physiques and were every bit worthy of the stage.
Novice Men, Lightweight
1st, Marcus Beales. Another dominant class win, this time carried out by Marcus who was only a few weeks past the junior age limit. Probably the hardest man in the contest, with not an ounce of fat or water on his physique. Rock hard from top to bottom with prominent glutes and shredded calves and hamstrings in particular, Marcus was untouchable in this class. Coupled with a fantastic tan and confident presentation which belied his novice status, he seemed to enjoy every second of his stage time.
2nd, Darren Marr. Another man in great shape with deeply separated quads and a tight upper body, the tall and lean Darren just squeezed into the runner up spot but had no answer for the superior muscle mass of the winner. Darren had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand with a confident free posing display.
3rd, Pablo Jareno. Heavier muscled than Darren, with a fuller, more shapely upper body but lacking the condition to match him, making the fight for 2nd place particularly close and difficult to judge. Pablo needed a little more “oomph” to his posing and general stage presence today to convince the judges to place him ahead of Darren, but with more experience and confidence and with another year’s worth of physical progress, Pablo could be pushing for the top spot next time round.
4th, Chris Cheong. A heavily muscled first timer with particularly good leg development, Chris too was in the mix for a top 3 placing. A little attention to his arms and shoulders to help balance his upper body out and harder stage condition will see Chris too pushing for the top slot next time.
5th, Steven Strachan. Possibly the most balanced and pleasingly shaped in the line-up, with ample muscle to stand his ground it was only Stephen’s condition that held him back, being way too soft to place higher. He too had an attack of the “tan gremlins” but with this experience under his belt I predict he will come on in leaps and bounds for his next contest.
Also competing were Mason To and Callum Ross, both of whom were well developed and balanced but needed more condition to place higher and Pete Daalman who to the contrary of Mason and Callum was lean and hard, but needs more size on his tall frame to be competitive.
Novice Men, Heavyweight
1st, Gordon Hunter. A class act from the moment he stepped onstage, Gordon was big, balanced and in good condition with a great tan and competent, confident presentation in both his mandatories and free posing. Although pushed quite hard by the runner up, Gordon was a solid winner of the class and has a very bright future in the sport.
2nd, Neil Young. A tall, heavily muscled man in good condition. A first time competitor, Neil seemed a little uncomfortable with his posing at times and was without a doubt more impressive from the front than the rear but as he addresses these issues for future outings will become a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division.
3rd, Noel Rye. A big man, with a well-balanced physique, confident posing which he executed to roaring support from the Raw Anatomy contingent in the audience and a great tan. Noel was held back from placing any higher by his conditioning today but again will take some scalps once he addresses this.
4th, Kenny McGill. Another big man with a well-balanced physique but again lacking the condition to make further progress up the placings this day. Kenny had done his homework for this contest, with a dark tan and well executed posing.
5th, Stephen Lawlor. In good shape and well presented, Stephen being at the lighter end of the weight bracket for this class meant that he didn’t have the mass to topple those who placed ahead of him, particularly in the torso which was marginally behind his arms and legs in terms of development. Stephen posed enthusiastically, enjoying his free posing and raising a chuckle from the judges table with his “Baywatch” themed routine completed with Hasselhoff mask.
Also competing were Sean Rye and Craig Shanks who again were polar opposites in that Sean needs to be harder to create more of an impact where Craig needs to focus on adding more size to his relatively tall frame. Both men looked great however and made credible contest debuts.
Following a brief interval, in which the packed audience took time to enjoy the sun in the venue’s courtyard and the accompanying barbeque from show sponsors The Gym Food Group (which was one of the coolest additions to a bodybuilding contest I’ve ever seen), the crowd were treated to a fantastic guest posing display from contest promoter and WNBF Pro Heavyweight “Big Gordie” Adam. Gordie was is great shape for a guest spot and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he posed both onstage and in the audience and will not doubt make a great impact when he makes his pro debut later on this year.
Ladies Fit Body, Masters
With the number of Fit Body entrants too great to make one open class, and the balance of athletes such that it would have been impractical to split the class either by height (as is customary in INBF contests) or into novice and open divisions (as we have done in UKDFBA previously) it was decided to split the division into masters and open for the first time. Sadly, the masters class had 2 withdrawals in the weeks leading up to the contest but the three remaining ladies were all great with a particularly tough battle for 1st and 2nd.
1st, Karen McLean. Karen was perfectly presented in every way, with her tan, outfit and posing all being absolutely spot on. Although a little softer than the fit body criteria leans towards, Karens overall balance and shape were enough to take a split decision win from the judges.
2nd, Jill Anderson. With a more ideal level of conditioning, Jill pushed the winner very close in this contest. She boasted a great taper in her upper body and too posed competently. A little lack of balance between upper and lower body and a less than flattering tan were factors which most likely played a part in the decision going Karens way. Nevertheless, Jill looked absolutely great overall and will be a threat in this class any time she contests it.
3rd, Debbie Fotheringham. A first time competitor, Debbie made a great debut today showing a lean and well balanced overall package with a great tan. As she gains a little more experience and becomes more comfortable with her stage presentation she will look even better. A great start to her competitive career.
Ladies Fit Body, Open
1st, Nicola McMillan. In another close contest of opposite types of figure, Nicola took the decision by virtue of her superb overall shape. Compact and well-muscled for the class, Nicola looked totally at home on stage with well executed posing. With slightly harder condition, she will be better placed to display her great structure further in future contests.
2nd, Martine Barr. Hot on Nicolas heels was a taller, equally well-proportioned and slightly leaner Martine. She was another lady who had done her homework when it came to presentation and executed both her mandatories and routine to great support from the crowd. Eventually, Martine was pipped at the post for first place as her tall, long limbed frame understandably could not carry the same aesthetic impact as Nicola on this occasion, although with more time in the gym I have no doubt she will fulfil her incredible potential and claim future honours.
3rd, Jenni Tardiff. With a similar shape and structure to the winner, bar a little natural shoulder width, Jenni too made a great visual impact on the judges with her pleasing level of muscle development and condition. Just a little more of each will see her rise in the placings. Jenni too posed well and with an air of comfort and confidence which was a credit to her.
4th, Nadine Harkness. Another tall lady with a well-balanced and developed figure, Nadine just needed more conditioning to move up the placings and challenge those ahead of her today but has come an incredibly long way in preparing for her first contest and was visibly and deservedly proud of her placing today.
5th, Tricia Smith. Another first time competitor, Tricia presented a compact and lean overall package and battled hard for the fifth place slot today, although couldn’t challenge for the higher placings on this occasion. Tricia, another athlete from Raw Anatomy relished her stage time in the same way her whole team did and had great support from her contingent in the audience.
Also competing were Claire Michie, Demi Gamba and Deivija Skadmane. All three ladies were well presented in terms of tanning and costumes and all have good potential but need more time to develop the necessary level of muscularity to be competitive in this class.
Despite the fact that there were only two entrants in this class, it was without a doubt the toughest of the day to judge with each athlete having a totally different set of strengths and weaknesses. The judges had to look long and hard over both ladies over several rounds of compulsory poses before finally coming to a decision. To their credit, both ladies just kept working and made it a pleasure to judge them and seemed to have a great stage rapport with each other.
1st, Trish Hurst. The bigger of the two with better shape and structure than the runner up. Trish was notably softer condition wise but having lost a total of about 45 kilos to step onstage, it was almost a given that true hard contest condition would elude her this time round. She had left no stone unturned in her prep though and was perfectly tanned and presented with a good routine. Trish became more and more at home onstage as the minutes passed, and on being announced the winner was a sight to behold as she was respectfully overjoyed to have taken the class.
2nd, Nicky Mitchell. Nicky, the more compact and diminutive of the two sadly suffered (like many before her) an attack of the “tan gremlins”, with her tan being so dark that it totally obscured her condition, which by all accounts was the much harder of the two. Lighter in muscle with less aesthetic appeal than Trish, it was this conditioning that would have been Nicky’s greatest strength and possibly may have secured her the class win if it were visible to the judges. That aside, Nicky has the frame to carry more muscle, and if added and coupled with the condition she is capable of she will be a threat in any line up.
Mens Open Lightweight
1st, Marcus Beales. The rock hard Lightweight Novice winner again stamped down his authority on this class, albeit with a slightly stronger challenge on this occasion. Despite this, he worked hard and tirelessly to take the class win.
2nd, Mark Inglis. Aesthetically very pleasing and well-muscled with great conditioning, Mark pushed Marcus all the way but in the end had no answer for the winners extra muscle size. His tan and presentation were spot on, and he too worked hard onstage in a very competitive class to secure a solid runner up spot. As he gains size and maturity to his physique he will be one to watch at Lightweight in future.
3rd, Mark Parkes. The biggest man in the line-up with thick development all over his body and no discernibly weak body parts. Mark just lacked the final few percent condition wise to take the win here today and seemed to fade a little as the class went on. Once he irons out his prep to get the final touches required he too will be hard to match.
4th, Andrew Williams. The masters winner more than held his own in this lineup, pushing the top 3 hard. His tan looked to have faded and lost its sheen sine his earlier class win which may well have cost him a place or more in this lineup.
5th, Sam Robinson. Third placed junior Sam again showed the pure quality of his physique by fending off many more experienced and older men to take the last top 5 placing.
Also competing, Sayed Hashemi who was heavily muscled and had a great structure with wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Sadly, Sayed was a good margin down from the condition required to place higher but in shape would have pushed for a top spot. William Boyd, Steven Strachan, Chris Cheong, Darren Marr, Callum Ross and mason To all gave as good as they got but were either lacking the size or condition to challenge the placings today.
Mens Open Middleweight
1st, Daniel Jackson. As soon as Daniel stepped onstage, the crowd and judges had no doubt in their mind that he was a clear winner in this class and would be hard to beat in the overall. Massively muscled with huge quads, chest and shoulders with deeply etched abdominals and rock hard, vascular condition Daniel was untouchable in this class, so much so that he wasn’t even included in the first judges callout his dominance was so clear.
2nd, Derek Brettell. Without a doubt the most pleasing shape and structure of any athlete in the contest, Derek too was a class act. Heavily muscled with one of the tiniest waists ever seen on a man of his size, he looked somewhat drawn onstage with it later becoming known that he’d taken some drastic measures to make the middleweight limit. In reality, allowing himself to compete a few kilos heavier and fuller would have benefitted Derek immensely and it will be interesting to see him compete a division up next time as he too would be hard to beat.
3rd, Gordon Hunter. The novice heavyweight winner more than held his own in the open class and would have been a worthy winner had he not come up against two such World class opponents.
4th, Atif Afzal. Junior competitor Atif took his placing by virtue of his aforementioned great shape and structure, which will always bode well for him in competition.
5th, Kevin Clewlow. A tall man with a huge frame and some impressive body parts, namely legs and arms. One has to wonder if he too would look better as a heavyweight, as he looked to be showing the effects of a tough weight cutting process. Kevins free posing was graceful and accomplished and a pleasure to watch.
Also competing were Michael Boyle whose hard condition just missed out on a top 5 placing, Roy Cowan, Kenny McGill and Stephen Lawlor.
Mens Open Heavyweight
1st, Lewis Rossi. Lewis comfortably took the heavyweight division, with enough muscle to match the rest of the line-up but with conditioning, balance and presentation that couldn’t be equalled in the class.
2nd, Neil Young. Not giving Lewis the class without a challenge, Neil took a firm second place with his impressive mass and conditioning.
3rd, Noel Rye. With the mass and structure to win the class but held back by condition, Noel took a solid third, to some great crowd support.
4th, Ewan Gardner. Ewan, using his previously mentioned towering size, great quads and side chest pose to muscle his way to fourth place was over the moon when the results were announced and will be one to watch as he progresses.
5th, Sean Rye. Enjoying an enthusiastic posedown with brother Noel, Sean took a solid fifth and will be interesting to watch as he progresses.
6th, Dave Cunningham. With balance mass with no glaring weaknesses to be seen, Dave had the tools to have been well inside the top three today but was a long way from the level of condition required to do so and was the final victim of the days tan curse to boot. An encouraging comeback from a man who had not stepped onstage in a number of years and potential there to turn the tables in a big way next time if he gets his preparation right.
As the class winners (including two of the three ladies who stayed to take part) took the stage for the finale, it soon became apparent that there was one man who true to earlier predictions was just untouchable today. In only his first contest, the look on his face when his name was announced was priceless, seeming genuinely shell shocked by his success and almost in disbelief of his win.
Daniel Jackson was his name, and on this showing it would take a fool to bet against him for World level honours in the not too distant future.
Daniel, along with Scott Cunningham , Andrew Williams, Mark Inglis and Derek Brettell were selected from this contest to join Kerrie Donaghy and team captain Gordie Adam to form “Team Scotland” for the 2014 INBF International Championships in September, where I predict they will all feature prominently in their classes and no doubt bring some silverware back across the border.
And with that, the first ever UKDFBA contest outside of the English Midlands was concluded. Thank you to our sponsors USN who made it possible for us to spread our wings and promote this contest in the beautiful country of Scotland, where we were received with the greatest of hospitality from what I can only describe as some of the most appreciative and enthusiastic supporters of the sport I have ever encountered. It was a pleasure to serve you, and we will return!