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Hardbodies competition coming to Meyer Theatre

Competitors from eight different states set to compete in 2nd annual event

By Rich Palzewic

Romar Topacio from Green Bay won his Pro Men’s Physique NGA card at the 2021 National Gym Association Green Bay Hardbodies Natural Show. Rosebud Digital Photo

Women’s Figure winner Lauren O’Brien from Madison won her Pro Figure NGA card at the 2021 National Gym Association Green Bay Hardbodies Natural Show. Rosebud Digital Photo

Editor’s note: To read a feature story about Seymour’s Carson Molle, who has overcome difficult conditions to participate in the competition, check out the sports section in the April 29 edition of The Press Times.

It’s not too late to participate in – or watch – the 2nd Annual National Gym Association (NGA) Green Bay Hardbodies Natural Show at the Meyer Theatre Saturday, May 7.

The event, promoted by Pump Promotions of Green Bay and Paul Hadler, an NGA Pro Master’s bodybuilder from De Pere, is an all-natural (meaning no steroids) competition where participants vie for cash prizes and NGA Pro Cards.

“So far, we have competitors from eight different states – Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee and Wisconsin – signed up,” Pump Promotions organizers said. “We also have eight returning competitors thus far. Our open registration already has more participants than last year.”

Those interested can still sign up and view more information by visiting mrnaturalphilly.com.

Last year’s competition, which was held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay, had some COVID-19 restrictions, but organizers said this year things are back to normal.

The Meyer, located at 117 S. Washington St. in downtown Green Bay, hosts a variety of shows throughout the year – a bodybuilding competition is definitely a unique one.

“The Meyer jumped at the chance to have the show there,” Pump Promotions said. “It will be good for us to have the show downtown in such a historic place. The Meyer was enthusiastic to host us. Our official hotel is also close by – the Quality Inn and Suites Downtown on Washington.”

Tickets for the show can be purchased the day of the event at the Meyer or by calling the Resch Center Box Office at 800-895-0071 in advance.

The day consists of two shows – pre-judging at 11 a.m. and the finals at 3 p.m.

“There are 60 of these competitions around the country,” Pump Promotions said. “The competitors are all-natural – they willingly submit to a polygraph test days before the competition to ensure they’re telling the truth and are all-natural.”

Judges – including former Mr. Universe Earl “The Pearl” Snyder – from out of state will judge the competition.

Snyder will also serve as the emcee.

“We have one judge from New Jersey, one from Florida and three from Illinois,” Pump Promotions said. “These judges have been doing this for a long time and know what they’re doing and looking for.”

Some area competitors include Carson Molle, Benedict Janowski, Josef Kleba, Jaimie Parrett and Brittany Simpson.

Seymour native Molle is a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) student, a first-time participant and the son of former Seymour football coach Matt Molle.

Janowski is a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay senior and also a first-time participant.

Kleba is also a UWO student and the Green Bay Blizzard’s mascot.

“You wouldn’t think a mascot underneath all of that gear would be in good shape, but (Kleba) is the exception,” Pump Promotions said.

Parrett and Simpson are both from Menominee, Michigan, and train together out of the YMCA.

Parrett, 32, is the mother of three kids and said she started lifting weights to get in better shape.

“I was athletic in high school – I even played football as a sophomore with the guys (at Stephenson High School),” she said. “I’ve always liked a good challenge and was a little crazy. My husband and I have three kids, and after the last one, I was carrying too much weight. I wanted to get my body back. Weight training – and exercise in general – relieves stress. It starts my day off right.”

Parrett said the event at the Meyer will be her second competition.

“The first competition I did was to get in front of people, have fun and prove I could wear a bikini again,” she laughed. “This time, it’s more for the girl I’m training. It’s been nice to see her grow in confidence and change her body. I want to inspire other moms. It’s not only about how you look, but how you feel.”

Parrett said lack of time is not an excuse for getting in better shape.

“If you truly want it, you find the time,” she said. “I’m living proof. I have three kids and (sometimes) work 60-70 hours a week with my job. Sometimes, I get up at 2:30 or 3 in the morning to get my workout in so I’m not affecting work or my kids. You find a way to get it done if you’re passionate about it.”

Parrett said she started a Facebook page with a few other local women interested in fitness.

“It started with five women, now there are more than 500 women in the group,” she said. “We put workouts on there, talk about issues and help each other. The name of the group is called ‘Organized Chaos.’ It started as a challenge to lose some weight. You can still have your life after becoming a mom and giving to everyone else.”

Competition sponsors include: Hardscape Oasis, Auto Haus on Velp, 9th Street Wellness Center, Tidy Tails, Fair Muffler & Brake Shop, Pichette Event Rentals, OG Sunless Studio, Lipstickandlace by Melissa and Precision Cut Stone, Inc.

Music for the event will be provided by DJ Frank, while the official photographer is Rosebud Digital.

Rich Palzewic is the sports editor of The Press Times and a contributing writer to Green Bay City Pages.

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