2015 USN Caledonian Classic
Report by Lee Kemp
Photos courtesy of Bill Cullen & Caroline Morris, Allsports Photography
On 27th June, a sold out crowd of over 500 roared on a huge entry of over 80 competitors at the beautiful Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh for the second annual Caledonian Classic. The contest was organised by WNBF Pro Gordon Adam and his team who kept the event running like clockwork from start to finish.
The standard of athlete was sky high in this contest, with some huge line ups of athletes fighting fiercely for their place on Team Scotland for the WNBF Amateur International Championships in Leamington Spa in October, showing that both drug free bodybuilding and the UKDFBA is alive and kicking north of the border.
The event was once again sponsored and supported by USN, with prizes for class winners, samples for all at the contest and an appearance from 2 time WNBF Pro World and European Champion Richard Gozdecki, who was on hand promoting the brand and conducting a well-received meet and greet for those in attendance.
On to the results…..
1st – Liam John, Edinburgh. Liam was a beast of a teen, with ample muscle on his tall and wide shouldered frame and hard condition. Despite his tan being a little too dark for the stage lighting, he ran out a clear winner in the class and shows huge potential for the future.
2nd – Jason McEwan, Glenrothes. Locked in a tough battle for the runner up spot, Jason secured his placing with harder conditioning than Steven in 3rd. He was nicely balanced with a great v-taper and distinctive shape, but needs to drill his stage presentation as he looks very uncomfortable at times.
3rd – Steven Kean, Lanark. Fuller and thicker than the runner up in the upper body with tidy presentation, Steven would likely have taken a solid runner up spot and been snapping at the winners heels had he matched the condition of the first two men. Again, great potential for the future however.
4th – Kristopher McDonald, Edinburgh. Kris had the beginnings of a good physique, with a nice structure and evenly balanced muscle development. Another year of good training and eating should see him develop the size and condition required to climb the placings.
1st – Adam Wilczinski, Airdrie. Adam appeared here bigger, thicker (especially in the upper body) and harder than the previous year’s contest with improved, more confident presentation. He had clearly set out to return with a vengeance and did, appearing untouchable in today’s line-up. Moving forward, some more focus on creating the illusion of upper body width and a good beasting of the calves should be top of the to-do list for Adam.
2nd – Joe Marshall, Inverness. A solid runner up, Joe was just a shade behind the winner in terms of upper body mass and softer (although lean and hard) in condition. Joe is lighter in the lower body, which is an area for him to address for future contests but presented himself with confidence and looked great overall.
3rd – Matt Fraser, Aberdeen. Although some way from the condition needed to place higher, Matt boasted a heavily muscled and well-shaped upper body, with particularly impressive arms and shoulders. A little more mass on the quads and tighter condition will see Matt lifting titles at this level in the near future.
Masters Men over 40:
1st – Michael Boyle, Bury. Claiming his first win after over a decade of competing, Michael was respectfully jubilant to win the title after a close battle with second placed Stuart. His heavier muscled upper body was the clincher here with killer most muscular pose and hard condition. His legs are still trailing in terms of both development and hardness and his posing still lacking flair somewhat, but this mild mannered workhorse was his best yet and thoroughly deserved his victory.
2nd – Stuart Balsillie, Glenrothes. Pushing Michael all the way in this nip and tuck repeat of last year’s battle for 2nd and 3rd was Stuart. Rock hard and deeply separated in every body part with a far superior tan to last year which revealed his muscle clarity perfectly, Stuart was notably lighter muscled than Michael in the upper body which landed him in a very close runner up spot. On a different day, the tables could be turned with no complaints.
3rd – Mark Dick, Glenrothes. Tall and wide shouldered with a well-shaped upper body and confident presentation, Mark just lacked the quality of those who placed above him today. A great first season of competition though for a man who has beaten serious injury that saw him confined to a wheelchair for a time to step onstage in such great shape. Mark enjoyed every second onstage and deservedly so.
4th – Billy Duthie, Douglas. Also in his debut year, Billy boasted one of the best physiques in the entire show, massively muscled, balanced and well-shaped and clearly the product of a lifetime of hard and heavy training. His balance and symmetry were superb and he posed well. Only a considerable improvement in conditioning is required for Billy to declare “game over” to his opponents at this level and he should be incredibly proud of his performance and draw encouragement to add the final piece to the puzzle in order to climb to the heights of the sport he is capable of occupying.
5th – Keith Mannings, Livingston. A lean and athletic looking physique was presented by the youthful looking Keith in a competent and confident manner. More overall size required to climb the placings, but a performance to be proud of all the same.
6th – James Durnion, Motherwell. Hugely improved over the previous year with a considerable drop in bodyweight and resulting better condition. James is densely muscled with particularly good legs and with more condition still and a tighter overall appearance is also capable of placing higher.
Masters Men over 50:
1st – Atholl Brechin, Falkirk. The amazing Atholl once again defied Mother Nature to present a physique which was simply astonishing for a man of his 62 years. Although not quite as hard as usual, he ran out a comfortable winner in the class with his evenly and heavily muscled physique and rightly claimed honours as the undisputed number 1 in Scotland in the over 50 division, having won every title there is to win.
2nd – Gary Doull, Livingston. Gary made a fantastic return to the stage, competing for the first time in over 30 years. Hard, muscular and with a pleasing shape and superb free posing (which had him receive votes for the best poser award), Gary just lacked the sheer size needed to challenge Atholl today but was good enough to place high in any over 50 line-up.
3rd – Keith Haggart, Livingston. Improved over last year without doubt in terms of both size and stage presence, Keith is going in the right direction and should focus now on improving his condition to be more competitive next time round.
Novice Men Lightweight:
1st – Ross Taylor, Irvine. A titanic battle for this class took place next, with Ross shading a split decision over the runner up. Huge and rock hard, with especially good legs with huge calves, the tiny margin that clinched this class came in Ross’ slightly more pleasing shape when compared to the runner up. Only a year over the junior age limit, it is frightening to think of the damage this man could have done in that class had he taken the plunge a year earlier, but there are no doubts he will soon make up for that with the huge potential he has for future honours.
2nd – Tom Poyner, Liverpool. Equally as heavily muscled and conditioned as the winner and also with particularly good legs, Tom pushed hard for the top spot. Posing in a classical style and showing off his amazing arms and shoulders in an almost “Arnold” like manner. Tom was a little lighter and had less muscle thickness in his torso than his limbs, which gave a slightly less balanced and aesthetic look than Ross and kept Tom from the winners spot but nonetheless he boasted one of the best physiques of the contest.
3rd – David Old, Newton Stuart. As good as the top two were, David was almost their equal with a taller, slightly lighter muscled by aesthetic and rock hard physique with absolutely airtight conditioning which showed practically every muscle fibre he had in clear detail. Just kept out of the battle for the title due to relative mass (which overall is where he needs to focus before making the step into the open classes) he was good enough to have taken any class any other day and was visibly over the moon with his top 3 placing.
4th – Sam Robinson, Newcastle. Improved in all facets since last year’s Junior placing, Sam just needed more mass and maturity overall to break into the top 3 today. With a great natural structure, good presentation and tight condition, Sam was as good as he could have been today.
5th – Roy Cowan, Glenrothes. A big lean and no-nonsense type of physique, Roy was not as aesthetically pleasing as those who placed higher but continues to improve.
Also competed – Edward Williams who was in hard condition but needs more mass to place higher, Stuart Millar with a great shape but again not quite heavy enough to crack the top 5, Eugene McClure who has transformed himself to make his stage debut but again needs more general mass and condition to break into the placings, Steven Strachan who needed to be harder today, George McDougall with what appeared to be a well-muscled and hard physique, but was very hard to judge due to an overly dark tan and heavy tattoos and 6th placed Kris Barr who was relatively light in the legs but shredded and aesthetic, and very close to cracking the top 5.
Novice Men Heavyweight:
1st – Alan Potter, Penicuik. A heavily muscled man with thick muscle development all over and no real weak points. A little softer looking in the legs than the upper body but too well developed overall to be beaten today.
2nd - Aiden Donnelly, Edinburgh. A fraction harder than the winner, particularly in the lower body with a nice shape, great midsection and a very impressive side triceps pose. Aiden just lacked the raw muscle to clinch the win today but will be a threat in the Heavyweight class in years to come.
3rd - Barry Stephen, Aberdeen. Rock hard and well presented, Barry was as well prepared for this contest as he could have been. Only the overall mass of the first two prevented him from placing higher and he too will do considerable damage in the weight classes in future contests.
4th – Joe Murphy, Glasgow. One of the lightest men in the class with more compact physique which boasted wide shoulders and a great v-taper, Joe needed to nail his condition to reach his physique potential today, and would most likely have been a threat in the lightweight novice class had he done so. Yet another man with huge potential.
5th – Atif Afzal, Glasgow. The best he has been, with a well-shaped and balanced physique which had grown in mass since his outing last year. Atif is another man who needs to master his condition to fulfil his potential.
Also competed – Gary Sheppard who was heavily muscled from the front but needs to bring up his rear body parts and improve his condition a little to move up into the placings and Scott Porter, Stephen Lawlor, Ross Montgomery, Scott Fraser and Andy Hamilton who generally needed more mass for their height to be competitive in this line up but were all in great shape. Scott in particular was very hard and separated and very impressive for a first time competitor.
Ladies Open Fit Body:
1st – Karen Millar, Glasgow. A solid performance from Karen despite a strong challenge from the other ladies in the top 3. An almost perfect package with ideal levels of size and condition with a beautiful shape and pro level presentation. Karen will be one to watch and is capable of doing some serious damage at International level.
2nd – Margeurita Norval, Glasgow. A beautiful structure and level of muscle development, without the hardness of the winner. Margeurita too was a very high level athlete and capable of holding her own at a higher level.
3rd – Gemma Meiklem, Dumfries. In great condition for a novice athlete, with great stage presence and balanced development. Gemma was not quite as full and aesthetic enough to leapfrog the other two ladies in the placings today but with some extra muscle on her frame will challenge for the winners spot in future.
4th – Lesley Smith, Glenrothes. Very closely matched with Gemma and just losing the battle for the final top 3 slot on the basis of slightly softer condition, Lesley was well balanced and presented and deserving of a top 5 placing.
5th – Laura Corcoran, Kilwinning. Hugely improved from her time as a bikini competitor in terms of muscle development, Laura has a beautiful natural shape with a wide back and great leg development. Had she been as hard as she needed to be today, it is likely that she would have pushed the winner hard for the top place.
Also competed – Nicola Yule and Tia Blowman (see Women’s Bodybuilding results), Ailsa Deas, Deivija Skadmane, Laura Tadrowski and Claire Tracey who all needed a little more muscle to be competitive today, Sarah Anderson who was well developed and with a great shape but just needed to be harder to place today.
1st – Alan Love, Wishaw. In a huge and tough class to judge, “Aldo” stood out like a sore thumb from the moment he stepped onstage with a lean, well-shaped and muscular physique which boasted the “right” amount of size and condition for the discipline. He presented himself very well and was the clear benchmark from which the rest of the class was placed.
2nd – Lewis Christie, Aberdeen. Nudging the runner up spot on a tiebreaker with 3rd placed Darren, Lewis looked 100% at home on stage with great pecs and abs and a perfect tan. With a little more shoulder and back width he would push the winner pretty hard.
3rd – Darren Marr, Livingston. With a better shoulder to waist differential to the runner up, Darren presented an eye catching package and was hard, but not overly so. A wise switch over to the discipline from the Bodybuilding he competed in last year, and over the moon to place third in such a line up.
4th – Luke McLellan, Glasgow. Another man with a great midsection and great chest development, Luke too would benefit from a little more back and shoulder width in an attempt to push for the winners spot.
5th – Martin Zajac, Edinburgh. Aesthetically very pleasing, but bordering on being too hard and developed for this class, Martin was good enough to take the final top 5 placing in a 3 way battle with unplaced Pablo and Michal, who were similarly very pleasing to look at but a little too developed to meet our physique criteria.
Also competed – Anthony McLorinan, Rob Lamont, Pablo Jareno, David Guy, Michal Walczowski, Cameron Spiteri, Robert Meiklem, Roger Peters, and Jackson Work. A real mix of physiques, all in good shape but either lacking the aesthetics of the guys who made the top 5, or in the case of some too heavily muscled and/or conditioned for the class and better suited to bodybuilding.
1st – Claire McConnochie, Glasgow. Near perfect for this class in terms of her level of muscle development and body fat levels, Claire was a decisive winner in this class and like Alan in the class before, became the benchmark for the rest of the placings.
2nd – Natasha Holmes, Glasgow. Natasha too was in ideal shape for the class, and had clearly left no stone unturned in her preparation for the contest. She was a little lighter in development than Claire and as a result didn’t quite match her shape wise and left first place just beyond her reach today.
3rd – Karen Gibson, Edinburgh. With an amazing structure, Karen presented possibly the most eye catching package in the class. Her presentation was near perfect as were her shape and condition. She was just too heavily muscled across the back, shoulders and quads to place higher under this criteria and with a little more time training and tighter condition would make a superb fit body athlete.
4th – Shelley McGuckin, Glasgow. Another lady with the right level of development and good presentation, but just lacking the aesthetics of the athletes ahead of her and perhaps a tad hard condition wise. Overall, a great athlete though.
5th – Anna Chrystal, Edinburgh. Well trained with muscular arms, shoulders and quads and hard condition revealing a great midsection. Again, another lady better suited to fit body with a little more overall muscle size.
6th – Hannah Harvey, Edinburgh. Although not at the level of development to place higher today, Hannah was well prepared and well-presented and a credit to herself in her first contest appearance.
1st – Tia Blowman, Glenrothes. After her visible disappointment a short time earlier when not placing in the fit body class, Tia dominated the bodybuilding division to claim a win which left her over the moon with her outing today. Well-muscled with great arms and lats and deep abdominals, Tia has the potential to achieve great things in this division.
2nd – Ashleigh Sheils, Glenrothes. Just nudging ahead in the fight for 2nd place, Ashleigh had good arms and legs, and although not as hard as the winner was in superior condition to the other ladies in the line-up which helped her edge in front.
3rd - Ruth Heggie, Glenrothes. A relatively tall athlete with a great structure. Wide shouldered with balanced, heavy musculature and superb calves, Ruth lacked only conditioning today and would have been a tough challenge for Tia had she hit the nail on the head in this respect. Another lady with great potential.
4th – Nicola Yule, Longiddry. Proportionately possibly the heaviest muscled athlete in the class with superb shoulder development, Nicola was some way off being in the kind of shape needed to show her great physique off to its best, but as she gains experience with her contest prep she will climb the placings and reach her full potential. When she does, watch out!
Mens Open under 70kg:
1st – Ross Taylor, Irvine. The novice lightweight winner from earlier returned to the stage and took his second win of the night, possibly more conclusively than the first. By this point, the audience were beginning to wonder if this young first timer was going to be beaten by anyone today!
2nd – Ribaz Ahmed, Gateshead. Rock hard and with dense muscle all over, particularly his thick chest and deeply separated quads. Ribaz would have run away with this weight division on any other day and it took a truly special athlete to keep him from the winners trophy.
3rd – Dean McVie, Edinburgh. A brutally muscular physique in hard condition. Dean did not quite match the level of detail of the two athletes ahead of him and would benefit from adding some mass to his lower body, but was impressive nonetheless and is a class winner in waiting.
4th – Sam Robinson, Newcastle. Holding his own admirably in the open class for the second year in a row, Sam as before just needs time to develop the mass and maturity required to hit the top spot.
5th – Stuart Millar, Livingston. A fierce battle for 5th place between Stuart and Eddie was just tipped in Stuarts favour by virtue of his superior structure and v taper, just edging Eddie out of the placings.
Also competed – Joe Marshall, Edward Williams, Eugene McClure, Steven Strachan.
Mens Open under 80kg:
1st – David Old, Newton Stewart. A jubilant David took the middleweight title on a unanimous decision, with his shape and conditioning making him visibly stick out in the line-up and leaving him untouchable in this class.
2nd – Gerry Rafferty, Motherwell. A huge man with heavy muscle on all body parts with a particularly thick back and legs. Had Gerry nailed his condition today it may have been a very different story in this class and he would have on retrospect challenged strongly for the overall.
3rd – John Paul Bryce, Airdrie. A nice shape with well balance development, John Paul could not quite match the winner for condition or the runner up for size but on another day, without such formidable opposition would have been a worthy class winner.
4th – Barry Stephen, Aberdeen. Holding his own admirably in the open class, Barry’s hard condition helped him push the top 3 hard and as before, he will be a threat in this class as he adds size to his frame.
5th – Roy Cowan, Glenrothes. Roy too acquitted himself well in this class with his rugged musculature and at only 24 years old will turn the tables on many who placed ahead of him today as he matures.
Also competed – Martin Lamont with a big and balanced physique that just needed more condition to crack the placings, Atif Afzal and Greg McLellan, who needed to be harder but displayed a physique which was very much classically influenced with a superb “old school” routine that deservedly bagged him the best poser award..
Mens Open over 80kg:
1st – Neil Young, West Calder. Last year’s novice runner up came to the contest bigger, harder and with much improved stage presence and took a solid win in the class. Huge, with sweeping quads and rounded muscle bellies in the upper body and massive arms. Neil demolished this class and raised some real excitement for the anticipated battle for the overall that would take place after this class.
2nd – Alan Potter, Penicuik. The novice heavy winner held his own admirably with Neil, and with another year under his belt could conceivably be lifting the title himself. A fantastic debut.
3rd – Liam John, Edinburgh. The sensational teen winner beat off some heavier muscled opponents with his rock hard condition (which looked tighter than it had 6 hours previously at the start of the contest) and distinctive structure. This young man is going places without doubt.
4th – Mark Dick, Glenrothes. In a tough call for places 4 to 6, Marks towering presence and wide shoulders pushed him into the highest of those three placings. Another man who should feel proud of what he achieved today.
5th – Scott Fraser, Livingston. Although lighter muscled than others in the class, Scott’s deep separation and hard condition bagged him the last spot in the top 5 today, much to his delight.
Also competed – Gary Sheppard, Ross Montgomery, Andy Hamilton and Noel Rye who appeared bigger and more balance top to bottom than last year and posed incredibly well. A tad more condition needed to crack the placings today though, but with continued improvements Noel will be the one to beat.
It soon became apparent that this would be a two way fight between Heavyweight winner Neil and Novice and Open Lightweight winner Ross, who both had too much relative muscle and conditioning for the other men in the final showdown. Both men knew this too, and went at it pose for pose as soon as they were drawn into the middle of the line by the head judge. It was an apples and oranges affair, with the taller, wider and more imposing Neil and the more diminutive, harder and relatively denser Ross splitting opinion amongst the judges. After the presentation of best poser to Greg and the gym award to Raw Anatomy, Glenrothes (who had for the second year in a row set themselves apart with their team approach to the contest and whose athletes had done gym owners Roy and Noel proud), the final call of the night came down for the second year running in favour of a sensational debuting athlete who had set foot on a bodybuilding stage for the very first time. Gordie proudly presented the overall trophy to Irvines Ross Taylor who looked stunned, relived and overjoyed all in one expression as his numerous supporters roared their approval. A sporting Neil was the first to congratulate Ross, knowing surely that his day will come in the not too distant future.
And with that, the contest was over. A strong team of Liam, Adam, Stuart, Atholl, Alan, Aldo, Karen, Claire, Tia, David, Neil and team Captain Ross will now form Team Scotland and take on all comers at the WNBF International in October where they hope to match the three class wins that last year’s team achieved. On today’s showing, the rest of the World needs to be ready! Scotland, thank you for hosting us again. We look forward to returning in 2016.
Best Poser – Greg McLellan.
Gym Award – Raw Anatomy, Glenrothes.
Overall Mens Champion – Ross Taylor.
Gordie and Lee with the trophies:
More action from the show: