Mueller pumping up Iron Ore Classic

If he had the chance, Riley Mueller would go back in time to 20 years ago.

Back to 1995 when the Iron Ore Classic was last staged in Prince George.

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Mueller would've been 11 then and just a tad too young to compete in the bodybuilding show.

"I would've liked to have been a competitor," said Mueller, 32. "As an entry-level show, it would've been awesome. But I'm happy to be promoting it now."

Fast forward to 2015 and Mueller, with the help of Karley Green, is bringing back the Iron Ore Classic, which is set to make a return to the city on Oct. 3 at Vanier Hall.

It's an entry-level B.C. Amateur Bodybuilding sanctioned event that includes bodybuilding, physique, figure and bikini classes.

Even if he wanted to compete at the Iron Ore Classic, Mueller would be ineligible.

Since he's won the annual Northern Classic in Fort St. John several times, he has earned an automatic qualification for the B.C. championships in the light heavyweight division.

Plus, he said, he wouldn't have anything to gain by competing at the Iron Ore.

Besides, he's also recuperating from tearing both of his pectoral muscles while attempting to bench press 475 pounds a year ago while training for the 2014 national championships.

Fortunately he did not require surgery, only plenty of patience.

The rehabilitation has been slow, but steady, as he prepares for the 2016 B.C. championships

"The positive way to look at it is that I was forced to take a break and re-evaluate where I wanted to go," he said. "The egotism and vanity fades when I can't do it anymore. It could've been career-ending, but I had feelings of gratitude and I refocused on the reasons why I compete. I've realized how much I enjoy doing it for myself."

Mueller competes in the light heavyweight division and was first pulled into the sport by a friend in 2008.

As a teenager, he was always active, playing volleyball and soccer while attending Kelly Road secondary.

"(Bodybuilding) was a positive activity, it was something I could put my energy into and it was beneficial," he said, adding he now usually trains between 60 to 90 minutes per day, six days a week at the Reflex Prince George gym he opened in 2008.

He learned how to pose, watched his diet, improving his physique in the process and put an entire routine together.

He'll never forget the first time he competed at a show in Vancouver in 2008. It was both humbling and rewarding.

"Jumping on stage for the first time is an experience that's overwhelming and an adrenaline rush. You can't be shy being on stage with a crowd. You walk in with your (weight) class, but you do your posing routine by yourself. I was thinking so many people are staring at my butt.

"I came out of that show and I learned a lot. My thought was, 'when is the next one?' I was hooked."

The whole process of bodybuilding, he said, is all about self-improvement and creating a sculpture, a better version of one's own physique.

In 2009, he won the overall title at the Northern B.C. Bodybuilding championship in Fort St. John. He defended the title in 2011 and qualified for the provincial championships in 2011. He competed at the 2012 national championships in Edmonton and re-qualified in 2013.

His next competition will be the 2016 B.C. championships.

He's honoured to help revive the Iron Ore Classic in Prince George, an event that's steeped in history.

"I grew up hearing stories of bringing in famous bodybuilders," he said. "It has a history and heritage. Anybody north of Cache Creek will be here. We just need those from the Lower Mainland. Winning a truck was never heard of (back then) and we're trying to establish some excitement to attract those from the Lower Mainland."

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 them will be put into a draw. One will be randomly selected to receive the price.

World-renowned powerlifter/bodybuilder Johnnie O. Jackson from Texas is appearing on stage as a guest poser. He is usually guest-posing at pro events or working booths at expos at the Arnold Classic in Columbia, Ohio.

He also competes at the Olympia in Las Vegas, which is similar to the bodybuilding Olympics. It is the most sought-after and glamourous event in bodybuilding.

For information, visit the Facebook page, Iron Ore Classic.

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