Iron Ore Classic making a comeback

After traveling out of town most of the time to compete, Prince George bodybuilders will have a chance to flex their muscles in a hometown show this fall.

The Iron Ore Classic, last staged in the city in 1995 with a little more than 100 athletes, is set to make a return on Oct. 3 at Vanier Hall.

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Organizers of the B.C. Amateur Bodybuilding sanctioned event that includes bodybuilding, physique, figure and bikini classes, say it takes a lot to host an event like this.

"Of course we want to live up to the memory of the old Iron Ore Classic," said organizer and bodybuilder Karley Green, who just competed Saturday in the physique event for the first time at the National Bikini, Fitness and Physique championships in Halifax.

"There will be about two dozen volunteers helping organize the athletes backstage and help with any issues they may have - tanning, fatigue, dabbing sweat off the athletes while on stage, security and of course first aid."

The DJs must also have each bodybuilder's music and the presenter must have a detailed script.

Hair stylists, makeup artists and spray tanners will also be co-ordinated for the athletes.

World renowned powerlifter/bodybuilder Johnnie O. Jackson from Texas will appear on stage as a guest poser.

Green said it's a huge deal to bring someone in of his calibre.

"He's the level of athlete you would see guest posing at a pro event or working booths at expos like the Arnold Classic (Expo)," she said. "Our event will seat about 750 people. The Arnold Classic Expo (in Columbus, Ohio) has 200,000 people frequent it. He also competes at the Olympia (in Las Vegas) which is like the bodybuilding Olympics. It is the most sought-after and glamourous event in bodybuilding."

Green hopes the event attracts 100 competitors. However, most don't usually sign up until they are six weeks away from competition and they have until two weeks to sign up in general.

Green added each province has a separate federation that sanctions that province's competitions. The athletes must compete within their province of residence, move up the tier system and eventually they can qualify for a national event which allows them to leave the province.

As an incentive to participate, competitors have a chance to drive away with a new truck for six months, donated by Wood Wheaton Supercentre.

To qualify, each category will have an overall winner and all of their names will be put into a draw. One will be randomly selected to receive the prize.

"Overall means that you won your height or weight class and then competed against the other height/weight class winners and beat them," said Green. "You are the best figure/fitness/bikini/physique/bodybuilding athlete at that event."

The sport has grown in popularity at the local level.

When Green, 31, began competing in 2009, there were only eight athletes in Prince George. Now there are more than eight fitness facilities in the city and about 30 people at each centre who have either competed or are interested in competing.

Green started out in the figure class but switched to physique last year and qualified for nationals.

"Physique is like '80s bodybuilding," she said. "We do all the routines and bodybuilding poses, but we aren't expected to be as big as the current female bodybuilders. (Nationals) was a fantastic experience. I traveled all the way to Halifax to compete with the best in the country."

Tickets for the Iron Ore Classic go on sale this weekend. Links on how to purchase them will be posted on the event's Facebook page, Iron Ore Classic.

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