You doubt the power of the fans? You doubt female bodybuilding exist? You think it's dying? How about you tell the folks at Siouxcountry and Unreal Muscle that? Both sites (as well as its members) went above and beyond the call of duty to not only make sure that Tampa would have female bodybuilding in 2010, but in the process, they were able to help bring it back for this year as well. Here's the official statement from Tim Gardner, the promoter of the Tampa show:
2009 REINSTATEMENT CONFIRMED
It was quite the painful dilema on March 17th to publically announce that I would have to cancel the IFBB female bodybuilding division from the 2009 IFBB Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships' schedule. After the announcement reached the bodybuilding community, a few individuals reached out to me and asked what could be done to bring female bodybuilding back to Tampa in 2010. I simply replied that just that particular division alone budgets out to $12,000 which does not include any costs of the venue, judges, stage set, hotel, advertising, transportation, trophies, etc. and that I would require it by December of 2009 to inform the IFBB office of my 2010 intentions.
Two weeks later, we fast forward to what has miraculously transpired to only a short ten days of effort to raise, collect and dedicate not $12,000 but $17,000 to the IFBB female bodybuilding sponsorship of our Tampa production.
I know what you are thinking, April's Fools, right? As surreal as this seems, this is 100% fact. With IFBB Pro Debbie Bramwell at the helm, siouxcountry.com, photographer John Hawley and approximately twelve individuals plus Ed and Betty Pariso as its supporting cast shot out of the gates by way of paypal to pledge $3,400. Great pace for a December '09 target date! Lo and behold, I wake up on Saturday the 28th to an anonymous email stating that his website community, unrealmuscle.com would contribute the balance of $8,600 and asked would that solidify a 2010 Tampa event? I replied that I would inform Mr. Manion of our intentions and start planning for 2010. Later in the day a second email appears asking if the 2009 female portion could be reinstated since the sponsorship budget was covered so early and also if additional funds were raised if it were possible to be added to the female bodybuilders' prize money? Again, another reply of I will inform Mr. Manion and we will also have to confirm the sponsorship deposits before making a public announcement of that magnitude.
Ladies and gentlemen of our vast and prestigious IFBB and NPC family, I am so honored to report today that the 2009 IFBB Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships will be intact just as its inaugural season with IFBB open men, IFBB 202 lb. men and IFBB open women bodybuilding in conjunction with the NPC Tim Gardner Extravaganza Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure & Bikini Championships.
After careful discussion with Mr. Manion, his vote of confidence and the strong support from siouxcountry.com and unrealmuscle.com, I decided to reinstate the female portion and bring it back stronger for the athletes and fans alike. We have increased the prize money and added two more places to our contest as such:
1st - $5,000 *
2nd - $3,000 *
3rd - $1,500 *
4th - $1,000
5th - $500
* Olympia qualification
There will also be a best poser award of $500.
This is a true testament to our bodybuilding community supporting its sport of passion without segregation of its forms of disciplines. This is short of being unbelievable, especially in spite of our current economic environment. I cannot speak highly enough of the positive impact that siouxcountry.com & unrealmuscle.com have placed on our entire sport and not just for the love of female bodybuilding but the love of our organization(s). This will set a new precedence of enthusiasm and pride that will hopefully be contagious for all of our IFBB shows, the platform for our champion athletes.
This alone should show you that as long as there are fans out there, then this sport will continue to live. Yes, it's just one event, but usually it's one event that sparks something bigger and better. Who knows what this will lead to in the future? Hopefully better things.
I'm a member of both of these sites, and I can't honestly be more proud and honored to be a member at both Siouxcountry and Unreal Muscle. To me, they did more than saved a show, they helped save a sport.
Yes We Can?! No..no..no.
YES WE DID!