2019 NPC Natural Kentucky - A Huge Success!!
by Christian Duque
The 2019 NPC Natural Kentucky was the perfect event to close out the year for the NPC season in the
Bourbon State. Promoters Gary Udit, Rick Bayardi, Jeff Schuerman and Angi Schuerman hit a home run,
along with longtime title sponsor Affordable Athletic Supplements. Ticket-buyers were treated to a great
expo, which included the Kentucky State Armwrestling Championships, and fantastic seating for both the
prejudging and finals. Speaking of the finals, show time was set for 2PM, something which was a huge
hit with competitors looking to go out and enjoy their Saturday evening.
The location couldn't have been better. The host hotel, the Embassy Suites, is beautiful property,
immediate across the river from downtown Cincinatti, a city of over two million. It's a rock's throw from the
scenic the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, opened in
1866 and used primarily by pedestrians traveling between the Cincinciatti and Covington. This is the
same beautiful, blue bridge which can be seen in the NPC Natural Kentucky backdrop that competitors
pose in front of.
With regards to the venue, the Northern Kentucky Convention Center is the ideal location for two contests
that are constantly growing. It's located adjacent to large multi-level, covered, and secured parking
structure and surrounded be several neighboring hotels which could easily serve as overflows as the
shows get bigger - and they will get bigger.
One of the main reasons I believe the Natural Kentucky will get substantially larger is because of the
first-ever 2019 IFBB Pro League Ben Weider Pro/Am in Montreal, Canada. This was the first ever, natural
pro show, and it highlights a growing number of NPC natural contests throughout the country. These
events are world class productions bringing the very best drug-free athletes to the NPC stage, affording
them the opportunity to earn coveted national qualifications, and then going getting one step closer to
earning IFBB Pro League status.
I also think that the quality of natural contests in the NPC is quite frankly unparalleled anywhere else,
especially when you compete in The MAZ (the NPC Mid Atlantic Zone). The reason for this, is because
every contest in KY, OH, WV, DE, MD, VA, PA and Washington D.C., run exactly the same. So let's say you
walk into the Delaware State, the Northern Kentucky Grand Prix, or the Natural Maryland - they all run the
same way. Everything is athlete-centered. Unless you literally walked outside the hall, you wouldn't know
where you were among the eight places in the zone.
Another key aspect to the success of NPC contests over all others, is the quality and transparency in our
judging panels. The path to becoming a full-fledged judge is a gradual process, where each test judge's
skills are tested, evaluated, and tested many times over. Competitors are judged fairly and accurately.
One of the things i especially love, is when competitors are moved around on stage. Sometimes, they'll
get moved around so many times they're in disbelief, but guess what? NPC Judges score physiques
based on what they see and they won't gloss over anyone.
A big part of what judges see, is based on what competitors present. One of the things I'm most proud of,
is the number of NPC Seminars we've organized in the region. With regards to the two contests in
northern Kentucky, we had a great seminar held Crunch Fitness - Newport - earlier this year. That event
featured our NPC Mid Atlantic Zone Chairman Gary Udit, IFBB Pro Linda Andrew, and Kentucky Head
Judge Jimmy Hornback. Then we had a second seminar, in nearby Middletown, OH, in October, which
featured Gary Udit and Linda Andrew at Mike Ferguson's Powerstation Gym. Both of these events were
100% free and offered competitors the ability to fine-tune their posing, familiarize themselves with all NPC
rules, and get tips on everything from hair, makeup, jewelry, posture and more.
One of the core principles that everything we do in The MAZ, which every competitor at the 2019 NPC
Natural Kentucky appreciated, was our commitment to customer service. Speaking of which, another
great tool available to all competitors, is the Gary Udit Events app for iPhone and Android. This app kept
competitors informed about all contest updates through text alerts. As Gary would say, "you've worked too
hard for this," so we don't want our competitors to miss a thing. Could you imagine giving 110% on a 16
prep, spending all kind of money in meals, gym memberships, suits and tanning, to miss your time on
stage? It's ALL about customer service.
And I will tell you, I met well over a dozen and a half people, many of which who had competed at other
shows in the region, who approached me and had very positive feedback about how this show was run.
Every single time I saw Jeff Schuerman, Angi Schuerman, and/or Rick Bayardi, they were working; they
were walking around, talking to competitors, they were always scanning their surrounding, ready to spring
into action, whatever the issue may have been. Autumn Cleveland did an absolutely fantastic job
expediting, as did Jon Powers, making sure all the competitors knew where they had to be. Olympia Tan
ensured that everyone's color was perfect; anyone who needed touch-ups were set. Mike Kamdar
exceeded all expectations on the turntables, even introducing some new tracks that kept many of us
hoping for more. If you let Mike go no hold barred, people would start dancing in the audience.
With regards to the MC, Ted Luniewski absolutely killed it. I wasn't sure if he was there to compete or MC,
but when I tell you the guy is SWOLE, he's SWOLE!! Rick Bayardi, who runs the legendary A Team
[expeditors of the Mr. Olympia], kept the stage perfectly organized.
Head Judge Jimmy Hornback and his colleagues definitely had their work cut out of them. I could never -
ever - judge a show. There was a lot depth to the lineups. These competitors brought their best to the
stage and many posed their hearts out. The judging panels did a fantastic job, making sure the
mandatory poses were executed on time and properly, ensuring that each competitor was compared
appropriately, and giving their undivided attention the competitors on stage.
Tyler Breedwell did an absolutely fantastic job shooting the stage. His final shots were crisp, sharp, and
perfectly timed. He did a great job of taking group shots and communicated very effectively with the
athletes. Before moving on from this last point, I think it's very important for folks to understand how much
skill it takes to communicate with athletes who have just received their awards, who are standing in front
of lights, with a great DJ and MC at work, and being able to direct a group of champions on where to stand
to take a perfect shot. I've seen photographers give it a shot, sometimes nailing the perfect shot, and
other times giving up and settling for whatever they could get. Tyler, like a true pro, always makes sure he
gets what he needs - and nothing less. That being said, he's able to get what he needs while being great
on time and delaying the process at all. This is yet another reason why our contests are simply in a
league all their own. When you're the best, it's so obvious, a lot of this goes without saying.
In hindsight, I can't say enough great things about this awesome contest. if you didn't attend this year, well
I certainly hope you'll attend in 2020. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for the 2020 NPC Northern
Kentucky Grand Prix Championships - the first contest of the 2020 NPC Kentucky season.