When contestants step on stage at the annual Venice Championships Bodybuilding and Figure Contest Labor Day, Monday, September 6th, they will not only be flexing their finely-tuned muscles for competition, but also honoring the late fitness industry legend Joe Gold.

The contest is the third bodybuilding event this year for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and it will be held Monday, September 6th, at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, home of Muscle Beach, 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Contests were also held on Memorial Day and July 4th this year.

As the final bodybuilding contest for the year, the Labor Day event will have an additional treat with a special tribute to Gold, founder of Goldís Gym and World Gym, who died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles July 11th at the age of 82.

Joe Wheatley, producer and promoter of the event, said Goldís memory will be celebrated following the national anthem, with a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” by Aaron Shaw of Glendale. Members of Goldís Gym and World Gym will also be present during the ceremony.

“Gold will be remembered as a pioneer of bodybuilding and a guy who took chances,” Wheatley said. “He understood the sport and gave back.”

The tribute to Gold is a fitting way to end the bodybuilding season, he said, and the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award will be given to Gold posthumously. Jerome Ferguson will receive the award on his behalf, and Gene Mosse, writer for Iron Man Magazine will give a speech.

The hall of fame award, created by Wheatley last Labor Day, is given to those who have shown excellence and contributed to the sport, and Gold, who will be the fourth recipient, definitely qualified, he said.

Bodybuilding.com is the title sponsor of the contest, which has been held for the last 40 years. After the original Muscle Beach left its first home near the Santa Monica Pier in the early 1960s, it came to its present site at Venice Beach, which Wheatley said is the “Mecca of bodybuilding.”

Each bodybuilding and figure contest is a unique experience for spectators, and the events bring a lot of media coverage, he said. There are normally many tourists who come out to witness a competition they have never seen, and during the holiday weeks crowds can reach up to 100,000 people at the beach, he said.

“On Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day itís the place to be as far as the organization of bodybuilding is concerned,” he said. “Itís the only show in town and it draws quite a bit.”

Over 40 contestants are expected at the Labor Day contest. They come from around the country and some international competitors are expected as well. Many contestants enter the event because itís a renowned place to compete and itís a good environment in which to start their career, he said.

Each bodybuilding competition is divided into male and fe- male weight classes, including lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight (none for female) and heavyweight. There is also a teen division for males, ages 19 and under.

The womenís figure contest is divided into four height categories, including short, medium, tall and masters, ages 35 and older.

When contestants step on the outdoor stage at Muscle Beach, they will be judged on symmetry, muscle development, tone and overall appearance, said Jerome Ferguson, the contestís head judge.

Ferguson, who has judged the competition the last four years and has been a competitive bodybuilder for 15 years, said competing is not as easy as it might seem.

“Thereís a lot of pressure to look right,” Ferguson said. “Muscle Beach is wide open with media coverage. You have to be a very secure person to get up there, and anyone who steps on stage is a winner.”

While the Labor Day contest will be a way for the athletes to show off their hard work, it will also be a great honor for them to compete in memory of Gold, he said.

“Just to be a part of it means a lot,” Ferguson said. Gold “paved the way for all of us to be there.”

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the competition will begin with prejudging from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Finals start at 2 p.m. This is where the contest is won or lost with a one-minute routine to music, Wheatley said. Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category, and the overall male and female winner receives the Bill Howard Award.

When Wheatley took over as the promoter of the contest last year, he was asked to take the event into the new millenium. He said he tries to accomplish that by providing entertainment and increasing the attention drawn to Muscle Beach.

Labor Dayís event will have its share of festivities outside the bodybuilding world. From noon until 2 p.m. entertainment will be provided, with musical performances by 98-lb. Weakling and soloist Holly Malea.

Silent Ground, of Idaho, will sing the national anthem, and the United States Army Color Guard will open the ceremony, Wheatley said.

The final bodybuilding and figure contest of the year will end an exciting season for the bodybuilding world, and it will stand out from other competitions because of the special tribute to Gold, he said.

Each contest held at Muscle Beach is a unique opportunity for people to witness a free outdoor bodybuilding and figure competition, but it is also a way for the sport to reach out to the community, he said.

“Bodybuilding is a sport about giving back, and weíre trying to give back,” Wheatley said. “We try to put on a good show for the public.”

Public admission to the contest is free.

Information, (310) 399-2775.

ure Contest Labor Day, Monday, September 6th, they will not only be flexing their finely-tuned muscles for competition, but also honoring the late fitness industry legend Joe Gold.

The contest is the third bodybuilding event this year for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and it will be held Monday, September 6th at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, home of Muscle Beach, 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Contests were also held on Memorial Day and July 4th this year.

As the final bodybuilding contest for the year, the Labor Day event will have an additional treat with a special tribute to Gold, founder of Goldís Gym and World Gym, who died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles July 11th at the age of 82.

Joe Wheatley, producer and promoter of the event, said Goldís memory will be celebrated following the national anthem, with a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” by Aaron Shaw of Glendale. Members of Goldís Gym and World Gym will also be present during the ceremony.

“Gold will be remembered as a pioneer of bodybuilding and a guy who took chances,” Wheatley said. “He understood the sport and gave back.”

The tribute to Gold is a fitting way to end the bodybuilding season, he said, and the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award will be given to Gold posthumously. Roy Goldman, a friend of Gold, will receive the award on his behalf, and Gene Mosse, writer for Ironman Magazine will give a speech.

The hall of fame award, created by Wheatley last Labor Day, is given to those who have shown excellence and contributed to the sport, and Gold, who will be the fourth recipient, definitely qualified, he said.

The Department of Recreation and Parks presents the Venice bodybuilding and figure contest, which has been held for the last 40 years. After the original Muscle Beach left its first home near the Santa Monica Pier in the early 1960s, it came to its present site at Venice Beach, which Wheatley said is the “Mecca of bodybuilding.”

Each bodybuilding and figure contest is a unique experience for spectators, and the events bring a lot of media coverage, he said. There are normally many tourists who come out to witness a competition they have never seen, and during the holiday weeks crowds can reach up to 100,000 people at the beach, he said.

“On Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day itís the place to be as far as the organization of bodybuilding is concerned,” he said. “Itís the only show in town and it draws quite a bit.”

Over 40 contestants are expected at the Labor Day contest. They come from around the country and some international competitors are expected as well. Many contestants enter the event because itís a renowned place to compete and itís a good environment in which to start their career, he said.

Each bodybuilding competition is divided into male and female weight classes, including lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight (none for female) and heavyweight. There is also a teen division for males, ages 19 and under.

The womenís figure contest is divided into four height categories, including short, medium, tall and masters, ages 35 and older.

When contestants step on the outdoor stage at Muscle Beach, they will be judged on symmetry, muscle development, tone and overall appearance, said Jerome Ferguson, the contestís head judge.

Ferguson, who has judged the competition the last four years and has been a competitive bodybuilder for 15 years, said competing is not as easy as it might seem.

“Thereís a lot of pressure to look right,” Ferguson said. “Muscle Beach is wide open with media coverage. You have to be a very secure person to get up there, and anyone who steps on stage is a winner.”

While the Labor Day contest will be a way for the athletes to show off their hard work, it will also be a great honor for them to compete in memory of Gold, he said.

“Just to be a part of it means a lot,” Ferguson said. Gold “paved the way for all of us to be there.”

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the competition will begin with prejudging from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Finals will start at 2 p.m., and this is where the contest is won or lost with a one-minute routine to music, Wheatley said. Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category, and the overall male and female winner receives the Bill Howard Award.

When Wheatley took over as the promoter of the contest last year, he was asked to take the event into the new millenium. Wheatley said he tries to accomplish that by providing entertainment and increasing the attention drawn to Muscle Beach.

This Labor Dayís event will have its fair share of festivities outside the bodybuilding world. From noon until 2 p.m. entertainment will be provided, with musical performances by 98-lb. Weakling and soloist Holly Malea.

Silent Ground, of Idaho, will sing the national anthem, and the United States Army Color Guard will open the ceremony, Wheatley said.

The final bodybuilding and figure contest of the year will end an exciting season for bodybuilding world, and it will stand out from other competitions because of the special tribute to Gold, he said.

Each contest held at Muscle Beach is a unique opportunity for people to witness a free outdoor bodybuilding and figure competition, but it is also a way for the sport to reach out to the community, he said.

“Bodybuilding is a sport about giving back, and weíre trying to give back,” Wheatley said. “We try to put on a good show for the public.”

Public admission to the contest is free.

Information, (310) 399-2775.

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