'Average people trying to do an above-average thing'

Jason Malloy
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Prince Edward Island's first Bikini, Figure, Physique and Bodybuilding Championships in 20 years taking place Saturday in Charlottetown

Prince Edward Island bodybuilders will have their first competition on home soil in nearly two decades Saturday in Charlottetown.

The creation of the Prince Edward Island Fitness and Physique Association has enabled the Island to host the first competition since 1994.

Josh Rioux, the association's president, said competitors were able to participate in the New Brunswick championship in the past. As the Island contingent grew he started looking at beginning a provincial association and getting it internationally recognized.

"Our calibre of (athletes) was starting to say it was time to have our own show," he said.

"It just kind of put us on a level playing field with the rest of Canada."

Based on placements at the provincial event, competitors can qualify for nationals.

While other associations have been operating for 30-plus years, the Island group is doing everything for the first time.

"It's been a lot of fun. It's been a whole lot of work," Rioux said.

Logistics as simple as getting a handle on the number of competitors participating is tough. The association is hoping to get as many people to pre-register to assist them in the planning process.

Rioux, a 33-year-old Charlottetown resident who grew up in Summerside, said it would be a good show for people unfamiliar with the competition to attend.

"What you're seeing for the most part is 15 to 20 weeks of an extremely strict dieting and training program that is geared basically to make you look a certain way for a moment in time," he said.

"It's really, really hard training," Rioux added. "It's average people trying to do an above-average thing."

Rioux said he was obese when he decided to make a life-changing decision. He was 238 pounds and he was wearing a size waist 38 pants.

"I probably should have had a 40 because it was buttoning very easily," he said.

Rioux said many people begin working out as a way to lose weight. Before long, it becomes part of their lifestyle and they realize there is an opportunity to compete.

"To some people going to the gym for a workout is the same as the joy somebody gets from being in a baseball game," he said. "It's that same kind of feeling of accomplishment."

 

Bikini, Figure, Physique and Bodybuilding Championships

When - Saturday.

Where - PEI Brewing Company, 96 Kensington Rd., Charlottetown.

Schedule -

Morning/pre-judging competition will begin at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15 and sold at the door.

Evening/final competition will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and are being pre-sold at the PEI Brewing Company in Charlottetown and Stretch Fitness in Summerside. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Organized by - The Prince Edward Island Fitness and Physique Association.

Lifetime achievement award - The association will honour Summerside's Ernie Heckbert with the award. Heckbert has been statistically given the Canadian title as the oldest bodybuilder in Canada. The 82-year-old has been pumping iron for more than 60 years.

Head judge - Samantha Rioux gained her pro card by winning first place in an international competition in Pittsburgh in 2013. Rioux, who competes in the figure competition, will represent P.E.I. at the Toronto Pro Show on May 30 against participants from around the world.

Organizations: Prince Edward Island Fitness and Physique Association, PEI Brewing Company

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Summerside Canada New Brunswick Kensington Pittsburgh Toronto

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