Northern States Super Natural 2002

The Historic Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda was the place to be on May 4. Competitors from all over the Northeast squared off at the first annual Northern States Super Natural Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Contest (NSSN). The contest was promoted by Marian Giallombardo (publisher and owner of Sports & Leisure Magazine) and Don Cray, owner of Cray’s Gym in Buffalo.
The NSSN is sanctioned by the INBF. All of the athletes were tested via polygraph, to ensure a seven-year natural status. The INBF, unlike other natural federations, does ban the use of pro-hormones, as well as other banned substances.
As first time promoters, it was challenging and exciting to venture into the unknown world of promoting shows. Don and I worked hard to bring something different to the local bodybuilding scene. We wanted our show to have a family atmosphere where the competitors would feel special and be rewarded for all of their hard work.
The support from our generous sponsors helped make it possible to put on an exciting and professionally run show. Nutrition Warehouse, our Gold sponsor, provided all competitors with goodies (protein powder packs, vitamins and protein bars) and gave each class winner a 5.75-pound jug of whey protein. Our other major sponsor was Pacillo’s (Buffalo). Steve’s Meats (Buffalo), Beyond 2000 Nutrition, Holiday Inn (Buffalo), Castle Banner and Sign (Cheektowaga), and Phil’s Pizza (Tonawanda) also sponsored the event.
Shirley Giallombardo (author of S&L Magazine’s monthly recipe) and Phil’s Pizza provided food for the competitors and the staff. As a competitor, I knew what our athletes would be craving… pizza and donuts. Dozens of Krispy Crème donuts and party pizzas were feasted on after the show.
WNSA daytime radio host, Mike Schopp (2 - 6 pm weekdays) was the Master of Ceremonies. He handled the job like a pro. Although he had never even attended a bodybuilding show, you would have thought he had done this many times before. Next year I hope "WNSA’s Mr. America" shows up in the little red posing suit that I sent him. A little Pro-tan and oil and he’ll be ready!
Before the competitors came out, the audience was treated to a light and special effects show. As the curtain opened, the competitors were posing to "We are the Champions" by Queen. As an added attraction, giant wooden statues (made to look like the sculptured trophies) flanked the stage. These "giant trophies" will be back yearly and will have the names of our open class winners added to them.
The Master Khechen School of Tae Kwon-Do put on an entertaining demonstration. Ten students from the school had the audience mesmerized by their highly skilled performance.
We’ve all heard the statement… "like a rock." Well, guest poser, Eddie Hernandez exemplifies that phrase. He "wowed" the audience as well as the contestants. He has been training for 24 years, and it shows. He was huge and rock hard (his biceps didn’t even feel human!). Eddie demonstrated by example that it is possible to be amazingly massive while remaining 100 percent natural for life.
The athletes looked great and their routines were entertaining. The INBF allows props during the evening routines, and many of the contestants took full advantage of the opportunity to have a little fun.
Both fitness competitors were very energetic. Sharon Davis took top honors over Denise Anguzza. In the figure division, all five ladies were poised and pretty. Dez Comer placed fifth, Vaso Kroto was fourth, Michelle Chapman was third, Denise Anguzza was second and Sharon Davis went home with another first place trophy.
Four ladies competed in the masters over-40 class. A very muscular Melanie Granada had excellent upper body development and hardness; she earned a well-deserved first. Also sporting a muscular physique—especially through her back —Diane Benedict placed second, while Tina Rosier and Joanne Howard were third and fourth respectively.
There were three classes of men’s masters. Chris Raker had vascular arms and was very lean and cut, and took the over-40 class, while Bob Caughey placed second, Steve Orsini was third and Mel Scott, who had big arms but needed to be a little leaner, was fourth. In the over 50 class, George Cascone’s exceptional symmetry and wide lats earned him the win, as well as the masters overall title. Also placing in the over-50 were Steve Orsini, second and Ron Cuspard, third. In the over-60 class, Steve Orsini placed first and Ron Cuspard was second.
Newcomer, Stephanie Newman possessed a nice overall structure and good biceps and was the unanimous winner in the woman’s novice class. Tina Rosier, who was very lean but needs a little more size, placed second. Joanne Howard had nice size and was third.
In the men’s novice class A, Hamen E. took fourth; he came in thick, but needed to be a little leaner. Todd Conroy, who had good legs but was a little flat, placed third and Jeremy Selimbene was lean, hard and had cut abs, and placed second. Luke Pecyna, who showed off well-defined muscularity and overall thickness, celebrated his 26th birthday in style…with a win.
In the men’s novice class B, Ron Funderburk, who made his comeback in bodybuilding after many years, had a shredded upper body and placed fifth. Bob Bozek had a muscular upper body and was fourth. Brock Pickens had vascular arms and great abs and was third. Chris Raker’s cut thighs helped him take second and Aaron Newman’s very thick upper body and shredded legs earned him first place.
Bob Caughey had good biceps, a lean back and captured the men’s class C win, while Anthony Andrews sported good biceps development and placed second, and Mel Scott who possessed good size, took third.
The men’s novice classes were tough and competitive. The top finishers in all three classes looked great. Although Luke Pecyna and Bob Caughey displayed well-defined muscular physiques, Aaron Newman was the unanimous winner.
Women’s open lightweight competitor Michelle Chapman had a nice overall shape and placed second, while Joan Bourkney’s nice quads, and excellent back earned her the first place.
In the heavyweight class, Mitzi Newman had strong calves and quads; she placed third. One point separated Diane Benedict who placed second and Melanie Granada, who came in first.
It was a close call, but Joan Bourkney’s cuts, detail and symmetry earned her the top honor as the overall open winner.
The men’s open bantamweight class was very close. Craig Yarnell had excellent legs and side serratus and took the top spot over Ron Ashbaug, who had an exceptional V-taper, excellent chest, but wasn’t quite as ripped as Craig.
Seasoned competitor Steve Orsini was ripped as usual, finishing first in the lightweight class.
In the men’s middleweight class, Twanta Craig who was cut and defined, placed third. Although George Cascone had exceptional symmetry, it wasn’t enough to earn top honors. Adam Schoenhals, with good overall shape, thickness and vascularity, placed first. He also competed as the only teen.
Three men vied for the top spot in the light heavyweight division. Irving Rosenthal had a nice V-taper, but he needed a little work on his quads, and was third. Dan Florestan took second with his thick chest and hard delts. Thick and balanced, Larry Baiz unanimously placed first.
Heavyweight Ron Cuspard had size, and placed second to Scott Newman who possessed a tiny waist and well-balanced physique.
The thick, well-balanced, vascular and hard Larry Baiz’s trip from Syracuse, NY was well worth it, as he unanimously took the top honors as the men’s open overall winner. It won’t be long before we see Larry on stage as a WNBF pro.
The judging staff had years of experience behind them. Our two local judges, Nick Mortellaro and Richard Derwald, both have been involved in bodybuilding and powerlifting for decades. Fellow WNBF Pro Kathy DiMartino owns PROfitness Training in Rochester. WNBF World and Universe Champion Eddie Hernandez promotes a show in Hazlet, N.J. Steve Downs was the head judge, is VP of the INBF and has been involved in bodybuilding for many years.
Having had a few weeks to reflect on the last few months, I am still overwhelmed when I think about the show. It was challenging and fun to promote such a large event. Don and I are very happy to have had such a great group of competitors, sponsors and staff at our first show. Everyone who was involved helped make our first show a very rewarding experience. We appreciate all of the positive feedback that we have had from our competitors.
We plan to build on the tradition that we have started, and we’ll continue to promote shows that are fun for the athletes and entertaining for the audience. The 2003 show will be held at the Riviera Theater, May 3. For information/application or tickets, call 716-876-2738.
We’re holding another bodybuilding, fitness and figure show preparation semnar in August. Check out the ad on page 16 for details.
For additional show coverage, read Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine. It’s available at Tops and Wegmans and many other locations.
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Luke Pecyna (left) winner of Men's Novice Class A with special guest poser, WNBF Pro Eddie Hernandez.

For more pictures of the competitors, click here.



1st - Sharon Davis
2nd - Denise Anguzza


1st - Sharon Davis
2nd - Denise Anguzza
3rd - Vaso Kroto
4th - Michelle Chapman
5th - Dez Comer


1st - Adam Schoenhals

Women's Masters

1st - Melanie Granada
2nd - Diane benedict
3rd - Tina Rosier
4th - Joanne Howard

Men's Masters

Over - 40

1st - Chris Raker
2nd - Bob Caughey
3rd - Steve Orsini
4th - Mel Scott

Over - 50

1st - George Cascone
2nd - Steve Orsini
3rd - Ron Cuspard

Over - 60

1st - Steve Orsini
2nd - Ron Cuspard

Novice Women

1st - Stephanie Newman
2nd - Tina Rosier
3rd - Joanne Howard

Novice Men

A Class

1st - Luke Pecyna
2nd - Jeremy Selimbene
3rd - Todd Conroy
4th - Hamen E.

B Class

1st - Aaron Newman
2nd - Chris Raker
3rd - Brock Pickens
4th - Bob Bozek
5th - Ron Funderburk

C Class

1st - Bob Caughey
2nd - Anthony Andrews
3rd - Mel Scott



1st - Joan Bourkney
2nd - Michelle Chapman


1st - Melanie Granada
2nd - Diane Benedict
3rd - Mitzi Newman



1st - Craig Yarnell
2nd - Ron Ashbaug


1st - Steve Orsini


1st - Adam Schoenals
2nd - George Cascone
3rd - Twanta Craig


1st - Larry Biaz
2nd - Dan Florestan
3rd - Irving Rosenthal


1st - Scott Newman
2nd - Ron Cuspard
2002 Northern States Super Natural Men's and Women's Overall Winners, Larry Baiz and Joan Bourkney.