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Pump It Up!

Get ready for Fitness Expo 2006


Though outdoor sports like mountain biking, kayaking and Beirut on the back patio often seem to dominate the athletic scene in Boise, there's a sporty subculture of muscle men doing something that's pretty mainstream world wide: body building. Russ DeLuca and his sons Ryan and Jeremy own, a Boise-based company that, according to the Web site itself, is "the world's most visited bodybuilding site."

On April 7 the DeLucas team up with Gold's Gym to put on the 2006 Fitness Expo, a showcase of the sport featuring the biggest stars currently competing in bodybuilding and fitness.

In its fifth year, DeLuca promises Fitness 2006 will be the biggest yet. "If you are into the fitness stuff, these are all the top bodybuilding professionals," he says, and then lists off some of the built bodies on the bill, including Mr. 2006 Ironman Lee Priest; Mr. USA Bob Cicherillo; fitness star Tanji Johnson; Jay Cutler, the No. 2 bodybuilder in the world; and Strongman Jesse Marunde. If these names mean nothing to you, consider they are also hosting Ultimate Fighter Josh Koscheck and Monica Brant. "She is the figure fitness gal," DeLuca says. "She's probably the most recognizable person we have coming."

It's an expo, so attendees can load up on swag from vendors--think free T-shirts and supplement samples. Mensa has not yet confirmed attendance, but scads of booths on health, fitness and nutritional information will be on hand to help pump (clap) you up. And if you need inspiration to pump up, the event is also a show with a stage full of different events all night long. All of the aforementioned superstars will grease up their Mystic-tanned bodies and show off.

Peppered in between the power-houses will be fitness routines, hip-hop dancers, martial arts demos and a magician doing Poker Gone Wild (magicians are strong; it takes a lot of muscles to saw a woman in half).

Last year, attendees watched a female powerlifter squat 600 pounds and she might be back with more.

"We have the Indianapolis Pacer cheerleaders coming--three of them," says DeLuca gleefully. "And some gals who usually work with fire but we didn't want to go through all that at the nightclub so they are using lights."

So, you know how Boise is the birthplace of rock-solid bodies Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude van Damme? OK, it's not. But Boise now has the chance to spawn a homegrown bodybuilding celebrity because the FAME Fitness Model Search will also be at the expo. It is the largest competition of its kind, in which men and women (at least 18 years old) hit the stage in a quest to become an elite FAME Fitness model and take home an assortment of prizes including a big-ass crystal trophy. The title represents the ultimate combination of athleticism and fashion based on judges' ratings on physique, beauty, poise, confidence and style in two rounds: swimwear and athletic wear. Anyone can enter by paying the $35 application fee.

As DeLuca puts it, this is Boise's chance to show off on a national level, and to show superstars and local wannabes alike that the Boise bodybuilding scene is not one to mess with. He predicts the Boise show to be different than other bodybuilding shows because as is the case with most Boise events, we know how to party.

"Because the show is in a nightclub venue (the Big Easy) and people can have a drink, it makes for a good vibe, a good environment," says DeLuca. "When the events are all over, we can all hang out and socialize." DeLuca says it's definitely going to be a fun show. And because DeLuca's biceps are twice as big as my whole body, I believe anything he says.

2006 Fitness Expo, April 7, 6-10 p.m., FREE, Big Easy.

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