2005 OPA Sudbury and Northern Ontario Championships
Date: June 11, 2005
Location: Sudbury, ON, Canada
Pictures online at ThePhotoIssue.com: Northern
The Ontario Physique Association's
(OPA) "tier" system is a three-level model that each competitor must follow in
order to progress to higher levels of competition. Level 1 is a local championship
(usually called by the city name, but not always); Level 2 is a regional championship
(there are four: Northern, South-Central, Western, and Eastern); and Level 3 is the
provincial-level championship. Bodybuilding competitors must start at Level 1 to progress
to Level 2 and so on. For fitness and figure competitors, though, Level 1 is optional. If
someone feels they're good enough, they can go straight to Level 2, and as in
bodybuilding, the top three from Level 2 qualify for Level 3.
The figure competition at the Northern Ontario Championships
featured eight beautiful women, and there was even an over-35 Masters category, too!
The tier system is so ingrained in the minds of the
athletes that many Ontario competitors call the CBBF's Canadian Championships Level 4, but
that's an "unofficial" name since the CBBF (the national governing organization
that the OPA belongs to) doesn't call it that, since not all provinces have the same sort
of tier system as Ontario.
In the case of Level 2 events, they're always held with a
Level 1 event as well, essentially making two complete competitions into one. It also
means Level 1/Level 2 competitions are big in terms of the number of competitors. On June
11, 2005, the Sudbury and Northern Ontario Championships were held in, you guessed it,
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Sudbury's not even close to the farthest place north in Ontario,
but it's pretty far north when you compare it to Toronto -- it's about a five-hour car
ride from Toronto, and almost six hours from Ottawa, where I live.
The Sudbury and Northern Ontario Championships bring back
fond memories for us at BodyBuildingLive.com -- this was the first contest that we covered
in an official capacity for the OPA. That first show we covered was back in 2000, and it
was great; ever since we have looked forward to the next one each year. This year's show,
promoted by OPA president Ron Hache (a Sudbury resident himself, who last promoted this
event some 15 years ago), was just as memorable for many reasons, including what I'll talk
The number of competitors at this year's event was fairly
high -- more than 50 in all the bodybuilding and figure classes (unfortunately, no fitness
competitors entered) -- but the level of competition was even higher. In fact, I think
that some of the competitors who won and placed high here will likely take home trophies
at the Ontario Championships next week in London (June 18), and a couple could even do
well, if not win, at the Canadian Championships this year, if they try to go that far.
To touch on the performance of all the competitors is next
to impossible -- pictures often tell a better story and we have plenty of them in our ThePhotoIssue.com site -- but I've
found that at most shows there are a few competitors who stand out from the rest of the
The first person who comes to mind is 52-year-old Valentine
Payne, a veteran bodybuilder who told me that he started his bodybuilding career in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, many years ago. In fact, this was his first competition in 12
years! Now he lives in Ontario, and what a comeback this was for Valentine.
First, Valentine won the Middleweight class in the Sudbury
Championships in a very tight race over a much younger Aaron Bauer. Bauer has an extremely
good physique with outstanding definition, but Payne, I feel, edged him on size, balance,
and that elusive "muscle maturity" that usually only comes with age. Payne could
also do what almost no bodybuilders, and, sadly, even almost none of the pros, can do
today -- a stomach vacuum. To see Payne do one is something that very few audience members
witness these days, but was commonplace before the '90s, when so many competitors,
particularly the pros, started showing up with big, bloated guts.
After that win, Payne went for the Overall title against
the Lightweight and Heavyweight winners and came out the Sudbury Men's Bodybuilding
Champion for 2005. But it's not over yet. Payne also entered the over-40 Masters category
in the Northern Ontario Championship -- and won again!
I don't doubt we'll see Payne do well at the Ontario
Provincial Championships in a week, and I think that if he makes it to the Canadian
Championships this year he'll definitely be in the running for the Grand Masters title
there (Grand Masters is for men over 50).
At the other end of the spectrum was 20-year-old Pamela
Anstey -- this was her first figure competition. Pamela's an attractive young lady with a
very good body structure for figure and quite good overall symmetry for a brand-new
competitor. Her level of definition, while not what might win a national-level
competition, was close to ideal at this level of competition -- and the judges thought so
too, awarding her with first place over some other very good competitors.
Backstage, before she won, Pamela told me that she hoped
she could at least qualify for the Ontario Provincial Championships. In the end,
obviously, she got far more than she bargained for -- Pamela is the 2005 Northern Ontario
Although I don't believe Pamela is ready to be competitive
at the national level yet, with some good guidance and coaching and, of course, hard
training and incredible persistence, she could be competitive nationally, perhaps, in just
a couple of years. She has a very pleasing look and, based on her young age, many years of
competition ahead of her.
Finally, this report wouldn't be complete without talking
about who was most likely the "star" of this show -- Carl Cipriano. Carl hails
from North Bay, just an hour or so from Sudbury. To say Carl was a crowd favorite is like
saying Arnold Schwarzenegger was a pretty good bodybuilder. Carl was the very last
competitor to step onstage and when he did he received by far the loudest response from
the audience. It's easy to see why.
Carl is one of the most thickly muscled competitors I've
ever seen -- I mean ever. In fact, when Carl Cipriano first emerged at a Level 1
show last year, I got a call from Ron Hache -- not only the OPA president but a
professional judge, too -- to say that Carl has what it takes to be a Canadian champion.
He's got the one-in-a-million genetics that so many bodybuilders dream of, but so few
have. His arms, shoulders and chest are so thick that when he hits a most-muscular pose I
don't doubt that he could crush his winning trophy between his pecs. When he turns around
he has back thickness that's so overpowering that his lower lats actually cast a shadow
over his waist! The guy is an absolute monster, the epitome of a Herculean-type physique,
and he quite easily won his class. Then, he walked away with the Overall title, making him
the 2005 Northern Ontario Men's Champion, to the enormous approval of the audience.
I have no idea how old Carl is, only that he's likely a
fair bit older than Pamela and quite a bit younger than Valentine. I'm pretty sure that if
he entered the Ontario Provincial Championships right now he'd have a good chance of
winning. But, despite how good his genetics are and how great he looked at this show, I
think he still has a bit of work to do in order to easily walk away with a national
title -- which is something he could do if he improves just a few things. And I believe he
knows this. Still, despite the fact that Carl needs to improve some -- doesn't everyone?
-- he has what it takes to be a national-level champion some day, and even, perhaps, a
highly competitive pro, which is no small feat since it's in the reach of so very few. In
short, Carl Cipriano has what it takes, and his performance on June 11 made this year's
Sudbury show another memorable one indeed.
Full results for the OPA Northern
Ontario Championships and Sudbury
Championships can be found at the official website of the Ontario Physique