|HIGA MONSTER'S First Trip to “Mr. Olympia”
When I first got an email from Universal's corporate office asking if I
could attend the Mr. Olympia Expo, I was ecstatic! I had never been to
this prestigious event, and it was even more exciting because The Cage
was making a comeback to the Olympia Expo.
After working The Cage at the Arnold Classic, I was looking forward to
seeing how it would be in Las Vegas. I didn't know what to expect since
I heard that the atmosphere is different for the Olympia than the
Arnold. I flew into Vegas knowing that there would be a lot of work
ahead at the expo. However, I was ready to be there, selling products
and t-shirts to the legions of fans roaming the Las Vegas Convention
After breakfast, I ran into J-Dawg and he gave me my pass to get into
the expo. It was good to see him because the last time I saw him was at
the Arnold back in March. Coming to expos like this is kind of like a
family reunion. We get to see our fellow Animals, both old and new. We
get a chance to see those who we've already met, and we get to put
faces to the names of others who we haven't met. J-Dawg and I decided
to walk together before the expo opened. Holy shit, it is a long ass
walk from the Hilton to the expo! I thought walking to the Arnold Expo
was long but this one was brutal! J-Dawg and I got a cardio workout
before we even got to work!
As soon as we walked into the expo, I spotted a huge “A” hanging from
far away. I knew what that was right away-our home. It was our Cage,
where heavy lifting, product sales, picture taking, and autographs were
going to take place for the next two days.
After a while all the familiar faces started to show. Ox, G Diesel,
naturalguy, and ghost were there. I got to meet Wrath for the first
time. What a cool dude! You would never even know that he recently got
into a car wreck that almost killed him.
When the expo opened, the first thing that people asked for was the
Limited Edition t-shirts we were selling. Corporate made an awesome
shirt this year for the Olympia, and the hats were sick too! Think
about it, you can only buy these limited edition shirts once in your
life. That's why they were flying off the shelves! The Animal fans love
There were some great seminars and lifting contests. Let me tell you,
the deadlift contest between Sgt. Rock and Big D was TENSE! You could
cut the tension in the air. G Diesel and I were looking at each other
wondering if these guys would reconcile after the lifting was over.
Once the dust settled, they shook hands and acknowledged that all is
I was set to do a Log Press demo at 2pm. I was excited to show my
friends and fans in The Cage how to lift a log. I worked up to a
maximum weight of 315 lb. Even our MC Vinny G tried to lift the empty
log to get a feel of it and see how different it is. We explained to
the crowd that in most Strongman contests we have to either work up to
a maximum weight or get the most reps that we can.
So after pressing a heavy log that weighed 315 lb, I stripped the log
down to 240lb and did a demo of clean & presses for 6 reps. I
wanted to show the crowd that clean & presses for reps require a
lot of cardio and anaerobic conditioning. That way, they could see the
difference between the two and not think that we “fat” Strongmen are
not in shape!
After my exhibition it was back to The Shop to sell more products. We
also gave out samples of Agent O so that the fans could get a taste of
things to come. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Rage
and naturalguy were making their way back to the booth with some sweet
looking hardware. Inquiring minds needed to know and it turns out that
Universal Nutrition won 3 awards from Bodybuilding.com for
Multi-vitamin of the Year for Animal Pak, Joint supplement of the Year
for Animal Flex and Best Ad Campaign of the Year for The Breach and
Muscle Digest ads. How awesome is that? It really made me feel proud to
be with this company. I was jacked to work the rest of the day in The
As the day wore down, the crowd started to wind down a bit. We sold all
of our Animal Pak and people were asking for more. “Do you still have
limited edition shirts?” Nope, those are gone too!
I actually helped breakdown The Cage after the expo. Man, I have a
great appreciation for how much work is entailed with that. I was
trying to help my brothers by packing up all the equipment so that they
could get back to their rooms to shower after two long days of standing
on their feet. That's a lot of work, and then you have to deal with the
egos of the stewards there at the expo. You have to bite your tongue
though because they can easily take their time and not give a shit
about helping to breakdown your booth.
Finally, the Sin City ABC was held at Gold's Gym. This was another
first for me cause I have never stepped foot in this place. Man, what
an experience! There were a lot of bodybuilders there doing photo
shoots while we were working out. But one thing stood out-everyone was
wearing an Animal shirt. It was like a mass exodus of people coming to
work out at the gym. Different colored shirts and designs, but they all
said Animal. After our workout we went to eat at Blueberry Hill. It was
great to sit down and talk with others. G Diesel called over one guy
over that was sitting alone and I offered him a seat next to me. This
guy drove 5 hours from Utah to attend the Olympia Expo and the ABC.
Never met the guy before, but we made him feel like family. That's what
Animal is all about. That's what makes me look forward to the next
gathering. See you in Columbus!