Ben Tatar represented Critical Bench.com at the 2012 Arnold Sports Festival. Below I ask him a few questions about the trip and share some of his pics.
CB: What was different or better about this year’s Arnold?
BT: The night life was better this year. At night I hung out with celebrities, NFL players, the Bengals Cheerleaders (including my good friend from the Bengals, Alyson Jordan) and there was a million different things to do all at once. There were also new things to attend like the Lexen Xtreme Powerlifting Competition. Crowd control was better this year and my relationships with the people I know have grown.
CB: What was the big event from the Arnold that people couldn’t stop talking about at the after parties?
BT: It seemed like everyone who went to Party with the Pro’s competed in some event and did very well. Most people had their own success stories to share and celebrate! It’s always good seeing people from all over the world at the Arnold. The world is pretty big, and it’s a good place for people to unite.
CB: List some of the celebrity stars who were at this year’s Arnold.
BT: Some of the big name celebrity superstars that were at this year’s Arnold were Carmen Electra, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Mario Lopez (from Saved by the Bell,) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Angle, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Hughes, Rob Terry, Buster Douglas (who beat Mike Tyson), Roy Jones Jr., Larry Fitzgerald, Brian Shaw, Frankie Edgar, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Ronnie Coleman, Sean Sherk, The Incredible Hulk, Mark Henry, and Alyson Jordan. There were more, I just listed 20 that came to mind. It’s been cool getting to work and party with the stars.
CB: Lots of celebrities. Any new faces that were a big hit with the crowds?
BT: Lexi Kaufman–Lexi Kaufman is a magazine cover model. She was also a very well liked booth girl and is constantly making headlines as a professional competitor. At the Arnold she won 1st in Bikini class A.
Amanda Adams–Amanda Adams is constantly making magazine headlines and she is a booth girl star at every expo from FIBU in Germany to the Olympia in Vegas. Amanda is always a delight and she comes to every event with her A-Game.
Tiffany Tillinger— Tiffany won Brian Cannone’s Fitness Atlantic competition, and she now she is also a BSN Allstar! I have known Tiffany for many years, and it has been great watching her rise to the top! Special shout out to her husband Sean Larson who I previously interviewed.
Heather Morris–Heather works every event from conventions to the Super Bowl. She is on many different TV shows (ranging from Bikini Destinations to various TV shows on Spike.) She can be found in many different magazines and on different magazine covers.
Shiloe Steinmetz–I have seen Shiloe at all the big events over the last few years. Shiloe has 25 titles under his belt ranging from various regional titles all the way to two-time Team Universe Heavyweight National Champion. Also, I want to give a shout out to the girls who worked with him, April Lynn and Holly Schrader who work for different big companies every year and who worked with Shiloe this year.
Jenna Renne Webb–Jenna is constantly making magazine covers. She has become so popular that every company wants her to work for them. Jenna is one of the most loved Diva’s in modern day fitness. It was great seeing her again.
Miss USA, Marie Lynn–Marie Lynn has just won Miss Connecticut USA. It was good seeing her.
Sean Sherk–I interviewed Sean Sherk when he became the FIRST ever UFC Light weight champion! Sean was with Carmen Electra at the Arnold, and he will go down as one of the greatest wrestling champions in UFC history. Check out our interview.
Alyson Jordan–The Bengals got voted as the hottest Cheerleaders in the NFL (Over the Dallas Cow-girls) and of all the Bengal Cheerleaders, she was selected to be on the Bengals calendar cover. We have have become great friends, and she was the judge of the cheer leading competition. She is always traveling and doing media and charity extravaganzas. We partied every night.
Brad “the Wolverine” Dunn–Brad “the Wolverine” Dunn is one of the best strongman competitors in the world. He is a member of Natural Freak and is respected in the United States, Europe and all over the world.
Mary Schmitt–Mary and I go way back. I helped her get started in the industry years back when she did booth work with Muscle Werks. She is now a sponsored athlete who is doing interviews with Absolute Fuel. She has really made it big and her fan base is now huge!
Chanel Jones–Chanel Jones interviews hardcore athletes. She also works with Bad Ass Nutrition with Carmen Electra.
Rob Terry–When it comes to modern day professional Wrestling Entertainment, Rob Terry is a genetic freak.
Santana Anderson–Santana Anderson is constantly winning professional bodybuilding competitions all over Canada. He worked the Arnold with Fusion nutrition with rising star Jaclyn Wilson.
The Arnold had lots of rising stars and famous celebrities. It also had lots of greats in the industry whom I’ve known for a long time. People like Mindi Smith who has won Critical Bench Diva search competitions and then went on to do well in Miss Olympia competitions. There’s Courtney Hodges who was a Maxim model and now does lots of charity events. She has been a successful spokesperson for Met-RX throughout the years. Another example is Jeremy Hoornstra who dominates the bench press every single year and is a draw every single year. It has been good knowing so many people, who have not only succeeded at their passions but also have depth as people.
CB: Who got the “freak” award?
BT: There was powerlifter Ed Russ who is 5’11 and over 400lbs. This man has squatted well over 1000 pounds and he was the thickest freak there by far.
Another was Brian Shaw. He is 6’9 and 460lbs. He also won the 2011 World’s Strongest Man competition. Shaw was the biggest person there of over 100,000 athletes height and weight wise. He was also the 2011 World’s strongest man champion. To put it in perspective, Shaw is bigger than the Big Show from the WWE. Shaw is 25 pounds heavier than the Big Show, two inches shorter, much leaner and over twice as strong! Shaw is the world’s largest athlete.
Then there were other freaks walking around with their whole faces tattooed, anything is possible at the Arnold!
CB: What was the expo area like this year?
BT: Well, every aisle you walk down is a surprise. You never know what talent or friend you will see next. Everyday there’s different people, and there are always extravaganza’s going on from the Animal Cage (where people get to lift with the best in the world) to the main Expo stage (where different competitions from strongman to ping pong are going on throughout the day). There are just millions of different things going on, and I’m just happy to be connected to it all! It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to next time and I hope everyone works hard for the 2013 Arnold–The Arnold’s 25th Anniversary