Saturday, May 11, 2019

Handshakes and Contracts in Modern Bodybuilding

A very famous bodybuilder, who used to wear jumpsuits at expos, and who's very, very strong, once told me he had a contract with a giant supplement company all based on a handshake. For years, the checks always came in, he worked his butt off, and everyone was happy. Then all of a sudden, things started to change, maybe the company sold, and that contract they had was no more (at least that's what he thought). He could have sued, but didn't. I'm an attorney and there have been a great many times, I've salivated at the thought of suing a company (or two). A first year, no a first semester, law school student could unleash a lawsuit on a contract breacher that would make their head spin, but is it worth it? That's what it really amounts to. The cases I've contemplated would cost me more time and effort than they're worth, but what about my friend, whose entire family depended on that money? If the sponsorship is your livelihood, then the stakes are way higher.

Years ago, a person's word was everything. If a man agreed to terms, it was done. It was cast in stone. If a man told you he'd pay, he'd do whatever it took to live up to his promise. It wasn't just about doing the right thing, entirely, it was also about honor, his own personal honor. Those values have been severely eroded today, but there's still people who do business this way. I'm one of them. If you give me your word, that's good enough for me.

That being said, every email, every text message, and every voicemail that manifests the parties' mutual assent, of an offer and acceptance, provided there's adequate consideration, results in a fully binding and enforceable contract. You don't need a formal writing; sometimes, even a napkin with some scribbling on it, is all it takes.

With regards to sponsorships - it's on you. If you're talking about trivial amounts of money, then a handshake might suffice, but you're taking a chance. If it's your mortgage, car note, and/or the sole means for your financial survival, a contract might be the better choice.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Factory Signs The Shredder!!

Big News!! Chauncey "The Shredder" Wilson, your 2019 NPC Kentucky Derby Festival, Classic Physique, Overall Champion, has been signed by The Factory Gym. Chauncey has been all over the news as of late, doing an interview with StrengthAddicts, getting signed by Louisville Supplement Store / Blueprint Supplements, and now inking with the most hardcore gym in the land. Wilson is also sponsored by Zilla Meals, who sponsors NPC Strong Kentucky!

The Shredder, who is prepped by IFBB Pro Jason Theobald, is destined for greatness and I predict will earn his IFBB Pro League Pro Card in 2019. For years, The Shredder has been a major draw in Kentuckyana bodybuilding, from appearing on podcasts, inspiring countless, and being the face of major NPC contests. When a promoter picks a bodybuilder to be the focus of a contest poster, that's when an athlete knows, he/she has hit the big time!

There's no telling what the future holds for this awesome athlete. I know one thing's for sure, signing with The Factory Gym was a great move! Chauncey will be backed by a gym who will do everything to push him into the spotlight, and I know he will also work very hard to promote the gym in and outside Kentucky. 

2 Scoops Radio, NEEDS To Continue

As I'm sure most of you have heard by now, it seems that Louisville's 2 Scoops Radio podcast has come to an end - or at the very least, an indefinite hiatus. The program, which aired weekly, was hosted by Cory Howell and IFBB Pro Ty Robinson, and featured new and established competitors, as well as fitness stars. The program was received very well by the bodybuilding community and also had a close connection to Next Level Sports Nutrition. The collaboration saw them work together often (e.g. the 2018 NPC Kentucky Open, posing clinics, charitable events). As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Ty and Next Level parted ways some time ago. The details of the split are no one's business, but theirs; however, I had a hunch that when said split took place, the program's days were numbered.

When folks change jobs, schedules change, and sometimes outlooks can change as well. I've been there before - both on the employer and employee side - and it's all about regrouping, never skipping a beat, and continuously raising the bar. Unfortunately, the regrouping process doesn't always work well for projects and/or secondary interests. The fitness industry is perhaps the toughest place to make a buck and land on your feet after a career change. I have faith that once things settle, 2 Scoops will carry on - at least that's the hope.

Kentucky needs all the press it can get!!

I've been wanting to do a podcast for a long time. Initially, I was sold on the idea of having a podcast where I had a co-host, a solid backer who'd buy all the equipment and build us a studio, and pay me per show. I share these details with you, because they're part of MY STORY. When my co-host bailed (not his fault, not mine), the backer bolted, and I was left with a great name/url "Bluegrass Bodybuilding" and no direction. That podcast was supposed to LAUNCH in January and here we are in MAY and still no podcast. My friend PJ told me, just this morning, that I should just do it already and I probably will, but I shared this example to illustrate, just how much changed circumstances can alter everything. I will get the podcast out, because I'm Christian Duque, and I don't need anyone or anything to be successful, but it just might take a little longer. 

Here's the deal, 2 Scoops Radio went the distance, for a very long time. In podcast-time, anything double digits, is huge. These guys went at it for a straight-up year and they were getting sandbagged for a big part of that time. I won't say by who, but the fact they couldn't cover contests was/is utter bullshit. They were never in bad standing and they could have always have gotten a press pass. It's simple, you send an email to the NPC National office and they do the rest. Any promoter who listened to anyone but Rick, should have known better. 

Moreover, on what could very well have been their last episode, Cory shared some of the reasons he didn't cover the Derby (e.g. the grueling process of getting media credentials [which it's not], paying for tickets, and paying for parking). That made my blood boil! Had it not been for RD Caldwell Jr. and several other friends of mine in the industry, I too, would still be paying for everything to add value to promoters' contests.

Media does not pay for tickets. Media ADDS VALUE to contests. The more BUZZ a contest has, the easier it is for a promoter to  sell more booths, sell more tickets, and get more Competitors to enter in the future.

I remember last year, when the 2 Scoops guys thought they could cover the Tricky and when they were told they couldn't; they actually had to relay the news to their audience, just days before the contest, on one of their episodes. That's a humiliation they should NEVER have had to endure. That being said, I can't be a hypocrite. At the time, I was a part of that STUPID supp shop feuding, buying into without questioning, and even asking for seconds. Now, looking back, I'm disgusted and anyone who tries to pull that crap again, I'll take on - and I'll win. That crap is over. That feud is pretty much dead and both sides are open to dialogue and dialogue will happen, when the time is right.

Cory and Ty went through a lot, but I strongly hope they'll meet and talk. I have already pledged to help in any way I can. I made the pledge privately to Cory, but I make it publicly from here as well. Private pledges mean little. I want the world to know, I'm here for you guys, just let me know. I also implore everyone reading this to Inbox and DM these guys and let them know you want the show to to continue. If weekly is too much of a pain the ass, then do 1 monthly podcast. If you can't both get to the studio, record it remotely. I've been a guest on a million podcasts where all I do is call in. Ideally, you want both hosts in the same studio, but beggars can't be choosers. Wherever you tape it, we'll listen - myself included. I'm a 2 Scoops Radio, FAN!

One last thing, 2 Scoops Radio IS Cory & Ty. I commend Cory for calling it quits - or going on hiatus - as opposed to finding a replacement for Ty. I don't think that would've been the right move. That being said, I'd like to see the Gains Train hit many more stations in the future. It's my hope that the show carry on. Try to talk fellas, don't stop now. 

All The Best, 
Your Friend,

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

CBD Protein Comes to Louisville Supplement Store

If you're stressed out - all the time - like I am, then this is music to your ears. Blueprint's Rob Nieters first tried CBD just nine months ago and in a short time, has invested a great deal of time and resources into having one of the widest selections of quality CBD products on the market. Louisville Supplement Store offers everything, imaginable, from vapes to lotions to now, protein powders!!

LSS has two great protein products, now available, a 3,350mg Cbd whey in 3 flavors
and a 1,675mg Cbd whey in 2 flavors.

I don't know about you, but 1-2 scoops of either, would not only feed hungry muscles, but would make one heck of a great meal before bed. Maybe include a tablespoon of peanut butter or some oats, depending on where you are with your macros, but you could have DEEP, RESTFUL SLEEP AND GROW!! Sounds pretty damn good to me!!

Be sure to head over to Louisville Supplement Store at 9407 Westport Rd Ste. 123, in Louisville, KY, today!! I have a feeling you're going to love it there!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Next Level Sports Nutrition, Title Sponsors, 2019 NPC Kentucky Open

First and foremost, let me just say how happy I am to report this piece of news. Next Level Sports Nutrition is now, the official title sponsor of the upcoming, 2019 NPC Kentucky Open and Kentucky State! This is literally a match made in heaven, and here's why.

Gene and Tina Goode are shining examples of how contest promoters in the NPC should operate. They go the distance to ensure the highest level of customer service, from their family of staff, their iconic stage, and their constant giving back to the fitness community. You can see Gene and/or Tina at NPC seminars, posing clinics, in-stores and community events all throughout the state. They also go to many of the big shows, out-of-state, like the NPC Teen, Collegiate, Masters Nationals, the North American Championships, and others. They're two of the hardest working promoters in the business and they've really been through quite a lot the last two years, from losing their beloved venue in Frankfort, making a costly move to Owensboro, and now settling in their new home venue in Lexington.

Speaking of hard work, Sean and Amy of NLSN are two incredibly hardworking business owners in the fitness industry. After successfully owning and operating multiple stores in Louisville, they've expanded to Lexington. They also have an undeniable track record of creating opportunities for countless Kentucky athletes, both at the amateur and professional levels. The 502 Wrecking Crew put  many athletes on the map and gave them their big break. In addition to everything I've stated here, I also have great respect for both Sean and Amy, for giving IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson a real chance. Of all the athletes they signed, this one particular signing cost them a lot of headaches, blowback, and drama, but they put 100% of their efforts behind him and never looked back. That's the kind of heart you just gotta respect.

Kevin Johnson has a real future - he could very well be one of the few bodybuilders of his day, to make an indelible impact on the sport. He's not only a gifted poser, but one look at what 2x Women's Phyisque Champion Sarah Barnett accomplished over the last month at the Europa Orlando and the Kentucky Derby Festival Championships, and it becomes crystal clear, you're dealing with a very talented athlete. 

In closing, I hope you're all very excited about the coming contest. I have a feeling the Kentucky Open is gonna take it to the - NEXT LEVEL - in LEXINGTON :) 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sarah Barnett Repeats at the NPC Kentucky Derby

Contest prep guru, Tyler Bedson, hit the nail on the head when he spoke about Sarah Barnett's will to win. "Her consistency and desire to win shows, grows more and more, with each passing day." Bedson has coached Barnett to another Overall Win in Women's Physique, this time at the NPC Kentucky Derby Festival Championships. Before that, Bedson coached Barnett to a big victory at the Europa Orlando, some 800 miles away, in Florida. The Bedson/Barnett collaboration is unstoppable, as eyes on the national scene are now fixated on the Next Level Sports Nutrition athlete. Her road to pro is clear-cut and undeniable. Now it's time to push her on all fronts, with an aggressive marketing campaign, the likes of which the 502 Wrecking Crew is famous for.

That being said, a big part of the credit is owed to IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Kevin Johnson, who created Sarah's very moving posing routine. The song selection was perfect and Sarah presented a routine hugely artistic and perfectly executed - it told a story better than words ever could. Kevin is an absolute genius, but beyond that, he's a true artist. I watched the 40 second clip, no less than 15x straight, over and over and over again; it was really emotional. I honestly loved it and simply can't say enough about it. 

Kevin Johnson is the greatest poser and posing coach in Kentucky. 

Other folks who brought fantastic physiques, and who we will be looking to do interviews with at The Factory and Lift Inc, included  Tiffany Davis (a novice competitor that cleaned house!!), Rachel Jensen (who won Class F, Open Bikini), Total INSANITY between The Shredder - Chauncey Wilson and Cody Nolen, and a big win by MPD Competitor Tracy Cates, and others!

Unfortunately, and as suspected, there was zero media coverage at this event. We won't dwell on this embarrassing note, but will say that good customer service, demands that one of Kentucky's largest contests, invest in having press for the competitors.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Sarah Barnett - A Name to Watch at the NPC Kentucky Derby Festival

Next Level Sport Nutrition's Sarah Barnett's big win at the Europa Orlando made headlines, with people all throughout Kentucky cheering her on. Backed by her well-respected and sought-after guru, Tyler Bedson, this looks to be a very promising year.

Although many competitors in Kentucky won't drive more than an hour away for an NPC seminar, let alone to compete, Barnett scored a huge win at a contest over 800 miles away!! She got on a stage where no one knew her, with competitors she'd never met, and she dominated!!

When I asked Sarah about her stellar placing in Orlando, here's what the champ had to say:

"Winning the Europa Orlando was a really cool experience. It allowed me to see all of my hard work come to fruition. But I know that the work is not done as we enter in to the last week leading up to the Ky Derby show. This is a tough show, and I know the competition will be stacked. I have no idea who I will be up against, but I know it will be a tough battle regardless."

One of the things I really like about Sarah, is her mindset going into this contest tomorrow. Most people might have a big head after winning a show like the Europa Orlando, but not Sarah. She recognizes she's up against great athletes, she knows what she brings to the table, and she's ready to fight for the win! This contest is also closer to her heart, as this is where she's from, where she lives, but to be sure, I wanted her to share, directly.

"Competing in KY is important to me because it allows those that have supported me throughout this journey the opportunity to come and watch and see what show day is all about. There are quite a few people that don’t know too much about the sport that have been very supportive, so I am happy that they will be able to come and experience the day for themselves. While I enjoyed competing out of state, I also like to make sure I am supporting the events in my home state as well."

I am, personally, hoping for a repeat, and let me tell you, if that happens, Sarah will be on her way to earning a Pro Card in 2019. The Florida win, alone, puts her in position, but repeating in Louisville, that would create a literal industry wave that she could ride to the Pro Qualifier of her choice! I couldn't put the finishing touches on this article, without the words of the great Tyler Bedson. In fact, I'll close with them.

 "Sarah has a high quality work ethic. Her consistency and desire to win shows, grows more and more, with each passing day. Together we’ve been able to effectively communicate and overcome any challenge presented to us!" - Tyler Bedson

Thursday, April 25, 2019

NPCStrongKentucky Welcomes Powerstation Gym

After our wildly successful seminar featuring our NPC Mid Atlantic Zone Chairman, Gary Udit, in Newport, I have been eager to create a stronger presence in Northern Kentucky, as well as a foothold in southern Ohio. The goal is to create an unofficial, athlete-centered force, zealously loyal to the NPC, that will help grow the sport and push forward with Gary's commitment to customer service - always putting the competitors first. 

I have been extremely fortunate to find someone I trust and who I believe in 100% in the area, in Jason Theobald. In addition to my friend William Gage Miller, who's done a great deal and who I will continue to rely upon, Jason will also play a very key role. We started talking right around the seminar and have spoken at great length over the last two weeks, further defining what it is we'd like to accomplish. Jason is a driving force in the sport. He's a pro athlete, WIDELY respected and sought-after guru, co-owner of an amazing supplement company and a true believer in growing the NPC. 

The addition of Powerstation Gym is absolutely huge!! It's a facility with a Mecca-like vibe, with tons of amazing equipment, and very big names that train there. It's also strategically located, just around 50 minutes from Cincinnati/Covington, 35 minutes to Dayton, and about 80 minutes to Columbus. This is precisely the kind of foothold we wanted in Ohio, with an undeniable reach into Northern Kentucky. We really hit a home run here!!

There's a lot being discussed and planned. For now, I'd like to thank and commend my friend Jason Theobald, welcome Powerstation Gym, and wish you all, the very best!!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Where's the Media?

Imagine you're a competitor and you're getting ready for a contest, maybe it's the biggest in your state, and you've really invested a lot into it. You've hired a coach, you've altered your eating, you've purchased suits, accessories, taken time off work, booked a hotel room and paid entry fees. Nothing is going to stop you. You have, what's often loosely referred to as, tunnel vision. You're a man/woman on a mission. 

You get to the contest and look your best. You're on time for check-ins. You've got your number, your info packet, you get a great night's sleep. You're on time for tanning, you're early for the athlete's meeting, you really walk away feeling confident. You take the stage at prejudging, nailing those mandatories, holding your peak, looking very sharp, standing tall, confident. Life is good. 

You don't get lost, afterwards. You eat a sensible meal. You're back, early, for the night show. You win your class! You win the overall! You want to tell the world about your journey, about how you conquered your demons, overcame all the obstacles; you want to thank all those who helped you, you want to announce your next show, thank your coach, send love to your family, but wait... there's no media, there's no one to ask you how you did it, no articles will be written about you, no videos will be blasted all over social media. I guess you could ask your friend to point your phone at you, provided you have a friend. Maybe you just prop your phone against someone's rubber dumbbell and give a speech. Maybe you just hold your phone in your hand, trying to gather your thoughts for a 15 second story or a 60 second post. That'll be the extent of your media coverage.

Promoters who truly care about customer service, should strive to have media. Sometimes there's no media around - that does happen - but where there is, they should at least try.

Great media brings a promoter great value. Solid media means the show will gain popularity and a good promoter can easily market that popularity to sell more booths, get more competitors to enter, and sell more tickets.

Great media also makes for very happy competitors.

Sadly, some contests are more about the promoters, than they are about the competitors. This is why so many contests don't have press, don't have guest posers, and charge competitors, their trainers, and their families for absolutely everything. Customer service hasn't just taken a backseat, it's been thrown in the trunk.

Friday, April 19, 2019

With Regard to Supplement Stores

First and foremost, I'd like to thank both Rob Nieters and Travis Schnell for all their support of NPC Strong Kentucky, it's been great having them on the team. It's also been great having a partnership with Blueprint, now Louisville Supplement Store. This relationship will continue for another six weeks through their advertisement on our various pages and platforms. However, upon the end of the ad bloc, NPC Strong Kentucky will be completely unobstructed from working with any shop and any athlete it so chooses. That being said, we will more than likely not have another official shop sponsor, opting instead for our meal sponsor, gyms, and other businesses in the fitness industry.

I feel very strongly about my decision to interview all of the athletes I have. I will continue to do my best to help NPC and IFBB Pro League competitors in KY, to realize their fullest potential. Unfortunately there may be some folks, perhaps with a little clout, who stand in the way of unity, but rest assured, 2019 will not be another 2018.

With regards to any feuds, whether past, present, or future, in Louisville, the position of this page, is one of absolute neutrality. Our #1 goal to GROW the NPC in KENTUCKY.

Once again, I'd like to thank Rob and Travis for their friendship - they're great people and do a lot of good. I'd also like to thank everyone in the NPC community in The Bourbon State. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Major Posing Announcement Coming - 2019 Kentucky Open / Kentucky State

It seems the gym world is buzzing throughout the Bourbon State, as Kentucky Open/State promoter Gene Goode is about to make a major posing announcement regarding his upcoming event at Rupp Arena. The contest, whose home venue in Frankfort was demolished, moved to Owensboro in 2018, enjoying huge numbers. Now, in 2019, the promoters will bring the best stage in Kentucky to Lexington's most talked about venue. Everyone is super pumped, but now with the upcoming posing announcement, the anticipation is building. Initially, when I first read the post, I thought maybe it'd be GAT athlete, IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson, considered one of the greatest posers in the country, if not the world. Johnson won Goode's Kentucky State in 2012; however, upon re-reading the post, it clearly states that the person in question is female. Who could it be then?

Kentucky has some very impressive female posers. There's IFBB Figure superstar Autumn Cleveland, who was part of last weekend's wildly successful Team Hornback posing clinic, and who commands legions of diehard fans. Cleveland's posing is so on point, she's been a part of numerous clinics and featured in countless articles and media coverage.

Another big name that comes to mind, is Ms. Kentucky Donna Williams Salib. Donna guest posed years ago, as an amateur, and later as a pro. She's placed Top 5 at IFBB Pro League pro shows and has a number of fans throughout the country and around the world. Donna knows how to bring an audience to their feet and keep them engaged!!

Another possibility I had thought was maybe NLSN's Sarah Barnett, who just won the Orlando Europa last weekend and who appears on the Kentucky Open contest posters; however, Goode's announcement clearly states that the person in question is a pro. Nonetheless, Barnett, who's also doing the upcoming NPC Kentucky Derby Festival Championships, may have amassed a series of titles, if not a pro card, by the time the Open rolls around in August.

Whoever the guest poser is, Gene has certainly created a lot of buzz for his contest. I know I can't wait to find out who will be the guest poser he keeps hinting at. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Rhea Wills - Future Social Media Superstar

There are those who dream and there are those who do. NPC Bikini Competitor Rhea Wills is a doer, a go-getter. This hardworking NPC Bikini Competitor and rising, social media star is a sponsored by Blueprint Performance and The Factory Gym (where this interview was filmed). She is also a pharmacy student, working in a hospital, yet finding the time to put her best efforts into everything she does.

As the old saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way.

Be sure not to miss this great interview.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Kentucky Head Judge, Jimmy Hornback's Clinic

If muscle is what makes the fitness world go round, then posing is what illustrates everything we love about the sport. If you were to ask bodybuilding fans who some of their greatest stars are, chances are, they'd name off people who can pose. Guys like the late Ed Corney, Bob Paris, Melvin Anthony and Kai Greene. Unfortunately many of these greats have long retired, but for folks in Louisville and the Kentuckyana region, they're in luck. Kentucky Head Judge Jimmy Hornback has got the knowledge and the eye for talent, that's made him a local legend. 

In addition to Jim, IFBB Pro and celebrated Judge, Monica Hornback, will be in the house, as well as superstars Derek Lunsford, Andre Ferguson, and local hero Autumn Cleveland. This event has it all. Will you be there?

Be sure to head on over and have a blast, both at Louisville Supplement Store, and then walk on over to LAC Westport (less than 100ft away). If you're looking to compete at the upcoming Kentucky shows, in Indiana, or abroad, the lessons you'll learn will be invaluable to you. Who knows, if you compete in one of the many contests in The MAZ offering the Best Poser award, you might just win it because of attending this fantastic event, sponsored by Louisville Supplement Store.