The sound of German folk music, the taste of wurst with sauerkraut, and the endless steins overflowing with beer. This is the sight at the largest beer and travelling funfair festival in the world, which takes place in Munich, Germany. It is a very important part of Bavarian culture to celebrate Oktoberfest, and this fantastic tradition also has some very strong ties to Ontario. The city of Kitchener, whose former name is Berlin, has a very strong German culture. There is a large amount of German descendants in Kitchener, which is why the second largest Oktoberfest celebration around the world is held in this beautiful city in Ontario. Thousands of visitors come to enjoy and celebrate this very important part of German heritage, and in this fantastic time of year, the OPA also has the Oktoberfest Classic Natural bodybuilding show.
The Oktoberfest show has gone from debuting with 40 athletes at a high school gym, to being one of the largest natural shows in Ontario and encompassing the entire Oktoberfest festival into the event. Melissa Shadd, which is the promoter for the show, competed in the OPA for many years and is a very active member in the fitness community in Ontario. Her love for fitness drove her to bring natural bodybuilding to the Kitchener region where she resides. She found somebody else just as passionate about fitness as her, which was World Gym in Kitchener. These guys have been around for decades starting from a humble hole in the wall gym, to being one of the most hard-core gyms in the city. As the Miss Oktoberfest winner in 2003, Melissa had very strong ties with the festival, and she wanted to combine her love for Oktoberfest with her passion for natural bodybuilding.
The show was held at Bingemans in Kitchener, which is the same venue where one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the area takes place. This meant that athletes and spectators could celebrate Oktoberfest in the same venue as the show was finished. The amount of hard work and dedication that was seen at this show was admirable. The authentic Oktoberfest Stein that the overall winners received, was one of the most unique trophies ever seen at a bodybuilding show. The show started off with the fitness class, Jessica Zehr absolutely wowed the audience with her acrobatics and fantastic fitness routine. Soon after, Rob Deschamps came out with a classical posing routine to take the crown for classic men’s bodybuilding. In the end, the overall bodybuilding champion was Anthony Arthur. This man is known as a giant killer by many, as he is a lightweight, but has aesthetics, muscle bellies and conditioning that many can only dream of.
As men’s physique went up, they all looked amazing, but one who stood out was Kaivan Shimi. This man swept the show with taking the physique teen, the physique junior, the physique medium, and the overall award. As the ladies started getting ready, Helen Piatkowski took the overall women’s physique award. Jessica Ritzman, a high level powerlifter who was doing her first competition, took the title of the overall figure winner along with the best poser award sponsored by The Crystal Suit. As for the overall bikini winner, Brooke Alexander displayed a great physique with the finest stage presence. This show was full of fantastic individuals who had put in a lot of hard work to display their masterpieces. It is always amazing hearing the various paths of life these athletes take and how it led them to the same stage.
The companies sponsoring the show had samples and products for people to try, and there was even an Instagram page known as Kitchener Muscle there taking professional shots of athlete’s on a backdrop, free of charge. It is just absolutely amazing seeing how our fitness community comes together at OPA shows and has a fantastic time with old and new friends. The support from families, coaches and loved ones in the audience is something that is beautiful to see. Another great thing to see was the judge’s panel. These guys work so hard for hours making sure that every athlete is judged fairly and are there to help them. Even during the intermissions, the judges would walk around with the spectators visiting the booths, talking to the guests and even giving advice to the athletes getting off stage. Humility is one of the greatest human traits, and the Oktoberfest show was full of humble individuals who are just looking to improve and show that fitness and health is a great path to take!
This show is so special and really stands out from the rest. Melissa Shadd herself said: “I think the biggest difference, is that this event is part of the Oktoberfest festival. We offer athletes an amazing goody bag every year and there are lots of things for their families to do, both before and after the event. They can go the pancake breakfast before the show, attend Oktoberfest events in between, and the best part is that athletes and sponsors rave about the show finals; they start at 3 PM. This gives athletes just enough time to grab lunch in between the show; however, the finals are over before7pm, so they can all go out the Oktoberfest after party. The party is held at an official Oktoberfest venue, as there is still plenty of time to celebrate and eat!”
This show is definitely a great family event which finishes a little bit earlier and has many more fun activities that families can enjoy. This event, like all other OPA events, was a great success and a reminder of how much fitness is growing in Ontario and around the world. This show demonstrates how the love for fitness can bring so many people together including the OPA, Melissa Shadd, the judges, the athletes, the sponsors and anybody who came to support it. Make sure to keep your eye out for next year’s Oktoberfest show as this is an event you do not want to miss out on!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.