First and foremost, I’d like to thank Tim Estell the Chairman Of Virginia for the IFBB Physique America for taking the time to do a Friday evening interview with StrengthAddicts IGTV. This was a great chance for us to catch up with one of three new promoters who made the move from the National Physique Committee (NPC) to the federation run by Wayne DeMilia in the United States, and Rafael Santoja internationally. Up until recently, the war between the two IFBB’s was largely fought overseas. There have been pretty focal battles in places like the United Kingdom, Spain, and various countries throughout Latin America; however, there hasn’t been much competition for the NPC here in The States. In fact, the NPC has managed to create a perception of being the only show in town. All other federations are either watered down, poorly run, or terribly inconsistent in their competitor’s eyes. Most NPC athletes don’t know any better, but that’s about to change in 2023 and beyond!
Most of this changed once the Washington Post broke a series of stories that shed light onto some of the darker aspects of bodybuilding and fitness. The publication spoke of sexual exploitation of female competitors, alleged contest-rigging, and other alleged activities which brought about some serious self-reflection among promoters and various officials of the NPC. When Kentucky Muscle promoter Brent Jones publicly broke with the NPC, it sent shockwaves throughout the fitness industry. Not only was Jones the promoter of the two biggest contests in Kentucky, but his shows also had a pro component, and he had an unparalleled level of autonomy as compared with any other promoter in his state. Brent also had strong ties to the Kentucky Derby Festival, a world renown event. That said, Jones had such a moral dilemma on his hands that he decided to break away from the NPC. About a month later, Richard Siegelman, the kingpin of Maryland contests, followed suit.
The departure of Rich Siegelman was completely unexpected. Everyone figured he was happy and his shows were exceeding all expectations. That said, he wasn’t free from the pointless micromanaging and silly games that were the norm in the federation he left. At one point, Rich was the chairman of Maryland; that is until he was stripped of the post. And even when it was determined he had done nothing wrong, he never regained his stripes.
Control is key in the NPC and state chairs are something they’ve been trying to get rid of for a long time. This is why Maryland, DC, and VA are all under a “vice chair,” which is essentially a powerless title given to a key player they want to keep happy. Guys like Rich aren’t happy with bs titles and they certainly aren’t happy with following along when they have serious misgivings. As a former member of law enforcement, a movie star, and a respected member of the fitness community, Siegelman made a bold move based on his moral convictions. While others bowed down and said nothing, he stood up.
Much like Brent Jones and Rich Siegelman, Tim Estell left the NPC and was announced Chairman Of Virginia for the IFBB Physique America. In his interview with StrengthAddicts, he spoke about giving the athletes yet another option to compete. There was no NPC bashing to be had. Tim addressed the importance for entertainment and the value of keeping an audience engaged.
Most members of the ticket-buying public are there for moral support for their significant others, family, friends and/or co-workers who are competing. It’s one thing to give them a chair to sit in while they dose in and out of sleep, but it’s quite another to give them a real show, where they’re excited to see what comes next, and where they might even consider jumping up on stage, themselves! Bodybuilding shows should be exciting! That’s how you grow the sport and that’s a top priority for Tim Estell!!
Tim, Rich, and Brent are very much in support of Wayne’s vision to work with more mainstream sponsors and vendors. This is an effective way to grow the sport and create more interest in it. There’s nothing wrong with expos selling protein powders, weight-training belts, and smelling salts, but why not also have Ford, Coca Cola, and Nike as well? You gotta think big, if you want to get big!
Stay tuned for more and keep an eye on Tim’s first show in 2023, resurrecting the world famous Jan Tana Classic in Roanoke, VA! Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!