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2016 NBPF Muscle In The Mountain Coverage

publication date: May 27, 2016
author/source: Gary Williamson

March 12, 2016, FRANKLIN, NC- The Natural Bodybuilding & Physique Federation held their second annual Western North Carolina Bikini/Figure/Physique//Bodybuilding Championships at the beautiful and spacious Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

The show was promoted by Heather and Joe Belcher, Yvette and Mark Ray and Alise and Mark Sutton. This year’s show turned out to be bigger and better than last year’s show which shows the level of support the NBPF receives. The show had all the makings of a great one with talent ranging from the neophyte to the steady veterans seeking their Pro cards set against the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The night show got off to an exciting start when Co-promoter Mark Ray, in complete football garb, tossed out goodies from sponsors like Franklin Ford and General Nutrition Center, to the adoring fans.

The action began with an exciting crop of women’s bikini competitors. In the Bikini Open Short class and the Bikini Novice Class B, Katie Hill [pictured above], was the overall winner finishing just ahead of Angelina Reece.

In the Bikini Open Tall class as well as the Bikini Novice Class A , a very lean and balanced Paige Robinson [see below], walked away with first place with Leeann Hamilton finishing in second in the Bikini Open Tall and third in the Bikini Novice Class A.

In the Women’s Physique class, Aaron Leatherman brought the total package and took first place with Fazena Bradham finishing second for the night. In the Women’s Open Bodybuilding it was Yolanda Hernandez [see below] winning the overall and redeeming herself over last year’s third place finish.

On the men’s side of the stage, Rick Tarleton (below) looked incredible with his first place finish in both the Men’s Novice and Open Short Bodybuilding class and I am sure we will be seeing more of him in the near future.


There was quite a battle over in the Men’s Medium class as Vernon Neal took first place and the overall, over Richard Wilson. Neal. Pictured left below, travelled from Spartanburg SC, and earned his NBPF Pro card.

Wilson may not have won the title but he did win the hearts of the audience with his ‘Father and Sons’ performance (below) at the night show. The future looks bright for the Wilson family!

The final battle took place between the youngest competitors in the Teen Bodybuilding class. Casey Loftis edged out competitor and friend Sam Gurney for the title. Sam Gurney however, managed to capture the Men’s Open Bodybuilding title in the Tall class. Both young men plan to compete again in the near future.

Next up, the Men’s Physique class. This was probably the most competitive class of the night. Julian Vilardo [center below] made his NBPF debut with an impressive victory over Caleb Buckley to win the Men’s Novice. In the Men’s Class A it was a chiseled Chris Leguire , who would go on to win the overall, over the Novice class winner Julian Vilardo and Class B winner Shawn McDonald.


Finally, the show stopper for the night was Tommy Tate. Tate (below) finished second in the Men’s Physique Class B, but Tommy has his own story. You see, Tommy lost over 125 pounds for this event and immediately became an audience favorite. Tommy says he plans on taking a temporary pause for the next year as far as competing goes so he can add some more muscle to his frame for future competitions.

For all of this show's results visit the NBPF Website Here!

Now For The Backstage Action! 

We've got more pics & videos:

Check out Nitro's interview with Promoter Mark Ray: 

Vernon Neal

Tommy Tate & Theron Stanford


Katie Hill & Lacy Carter

Yolanda Hernandez

Sam Gurney & Casey Loftis

Paige Robinson & Richard Tarlton

Stacy Jones & Lee Wilson


Chris Leguire & Julian Vilardo

Leeann Hamilton

Congratulations to all of the competitors who dared the stage. A special shout out to the Belchers, Rays and Suttons for a well organized and well run show. The show will return next March to the same location and promises to be better than ever.

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