Lakeland Classic Closes Doors

Magazine display case at Future Fitness Gym (Monsta Clothing gym) in Lake City, Florida shows off stacks of mags dating back more than thirty years of various titles with many note worthy bodybuilding figures and contests. I reflect on the changes in not only the faces on the cover but the personalities that built and maintain the publications and contests and revolving door of history for better and worse.

Deb Callahan noted yesterday on social media that this weekend's Lakeland Classic will be the last. Reason given was to focus her promotion energy entirely on her other contest the annual Central District Championships. At virtually the same time another national qualifier the Swolefest was announced two weeks before nationals in the panhandle.

While many of the magazines in the Future Fitness display case showcased up and coming athletes along with the stars of the Golden Era and modern era local stars there is far less diversity of print pubs today besides Muscular Development, Flex and Muscle Mag and no space in them dedicated to the growing numbers of amateur athletes that compete in growing numbers of competitions in Florida and elsewhere. While competitions and competitors have gone up reliable documentation of these figures has gone down.

It will be interesting to see the history of the sport unfold in that magazine display case a decade or two from now and how the changing culture of promoting shows with larger numbers of varied classes of athletes is documented for future generations. Facebook, IG and even websites can't be relied on to document the history of the sport over time just as when discontinued mass contest coverage it left a lurch in google searches for competitor and contest names. Whole sections of Muscular Developments archives various content providers like myself provided only a few short years ago are no longer available after server updates and the projections for that publication's continuance are very much under speculation.

I'll be at the last Lakeland Classic, but increasingly at fewer contests as I strive to make MORE of coverage of the athletes, promoters and actual events that I do cover. Having strong media support for your event whether an athlete or promoter one would think should be important. I make it my business to provide that support for the events I cover. While its predominantly on my websites and social media not in print I strive to provide the most comprehensive coverage in photo, video promotion of the contests and athletes before, during and after the contests. This isn't simply a job, but a way of life to be sure the same as going to the gym and eating six meals a day in contest prep is for many of you.

See you in Lakeland this weekend as we close the book on one of the great local contests and chapter on many things that are left unsaid in all of this.