25th Arnold Anniversary Interview with Ben Tatar
By Mike Westerdal
CB: How did this Arnold compare to others?
BT: Wow, they are all so different. Every year the people change, so Arnold events are never alike. Every year the Arnold creates new surprises and spontaneous fun.
CB: What’s the VIP after party like?
BT: There are 2 Main VIP after parties. There is the Official Arnold after party at the Hollywood Casino. This event is probably the biggest and fanciest one. At this party, there is lots of free food. Many people are dressed up in outrageous costumes and this party takes place in a glamorous environment. Some of the hardcore competitors attend this one and Arnold gives a speech.
There is another after party at the Old Boma. This one is more hidden from the general public and attracts many celebrities, supplement sponsors and the booth girls.
I was at charity events and parties every single night during Arnold weekend. All of them were a blast. I only slept 2 hours each night, but I was fired up the whole time.
CB: Who got the biggest freak award from this year’s Arnold?
BT: Well, that’s an interesting question. There are a few divisions of freaks. You have some of the World’s Strongest Man competitors who are the height of NBA Centers, who have the thickness of SHW powerlifters. I also saw a 6’5 amazon woman who was jacked like a male bodybuilder with tattoos. Another category of freak would be the 5’10 400lbs powerlifting freaks like Ed Russ who are the thickest of all the freaks.
Then there are people who are freaks because of their performances and not because of their looks. Speaking of which, what was really funny was that the World’s Strongest Man winner at the Arnold was Vytautas Lalas who is 5’10 (short) and 300lbs which is lighter than the rest of the World’s Strongest Man competitors. The bottom line is that there are freaks all over Columbus. I’m going to give my freak award this year to Mark Felix though for deadlifting 1,128lbs in the Arnold deadlifting competition.
This is an all time World Record, and Mark Felix did this at nearly 50 years of age!!! Yup, with the combination of Mark Felix setting an all time deadlift record with such ease and being around 50 years of age is what gives him my Freak Award for this year!
CB: Was it more crowded than last year?
BT: Last year the reported attendance at the Arnold was 175,000 over a four day period. This years attendance was also 175,000.
CB: Were there any big name attractions that people could meet this year?
BT: The Arnold always has celebrities. There are always movie stars, WWE champions, UFC Champions, NFL Super Bowl champions, Gold Medalists, top pro boxers and the greatest athletes in the World. In addition, there are world record holders, iron champions, freaks of nature and magazine models.
CB: Tell us about the 2013 Arnold competitions.
BT: What is interesting about the Arnold Sports Festival is that people are competing in lots of different events ranging from: World’s Strongest Man, Pro Boxing, Scottish Highland Games, Mighty Mitts, Amateur MMA Festival, DanceSport Challenge, 5K run and pump, Archery, Arm Wrestling, Art at the Arnold, USA Boxing, Cheerleading& Dance, Fencing, Grappling, Gymnastics, Jump Rope, Cross Fit, USA Powerlifting, XPC Powerlifting, The World’s Strongest Hands, Survival Race, Table Tennis, Ultimate Teen Challenge, Track& Field, Weight Lifting, Bikini, Figure, Bodybuilding and so much more.
With all these events going on, you’re going to obviously get a crowd for every single event. Each event that you attend has its large following of fans with hundreds or thousands of competitors. Even the cheerleading and dance competition has a total of over 4,000 competitors. The Arnold 5K and Pump had over 850 competitors.
Over 1,500 people competed in the Archery competition. In the Joust, hundreds of people compete and fans are allowed to participate as well. Over 285 fighters are competing in Boxing. Athletes from 25 different countries are competing in Strongman. In total there are athletes from over 60 different countries competing at the Arnold. There is no event in the planet that is like the Arnold!
CB: Do you have any final thoughts about your trip to the 2013 Arnold?
BT: I was fired up from start to finish. I remember feeling so high on life when I got on the airplane after the Arnold. I have positive memories from this trip that will live on with me forever. If I could sum up the 2013 Arnold in one word, that word would be. VICTORY.