The traditional Memorial Day weekend bodybuilding and figure contest at the Venice Beach Recreation Center will feature two new components this year — a “Battle of the Branches” Armed Forces competition that will be held in conjunction with the main event, and a slate of amateur boxing matches.

The Muscle Beach International Classic is still the centerpiece of activities Sunday and Monday, May 25th and 26th, with preliminary judging for both bodybuilding events scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Muscle Beach facility, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. The finals are scheduled to start at noon Monday, May 26th.

The fee is $75 to participate in each of the bodybuilding competitions, which are open to amateurs only. Admission to all three events is free for spectators.

The boxing event is scheduled from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday with 20 bouts in all, featuring youths from the Boys & Girls Club of Venice and Venice High School. There will also be rivalry matches between members of the U.S. Army and the Marines, students from USC and UCLA, and a finale of the Los Angeles Fire Department versus the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Three-time Mr. Universe Reg Park, who died in November 2007 at the age of 79, will be inducted posthumously into the Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, and vendors from the health and fitness industry will be on hand both days with information and giveaways.

The Memorial Day events are taking place a week after a renovated Muscle Beach weight pen with new flooring and weightlifting equipment was dedicated at the facility Saturday, May 17th.

During the dedication ceremony, Muscle Beach Walk of Fame plaques were unveiled honoring 2007 Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame inductees, including fitness icon Jack La Lanne and former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu. La Lanne also received a lifetime achievement award at the ceremony, which was attended by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

Bodybuilding.com purchased the new weight pen equipment, which was manufactured by Star Trac, and the new flooring was paid for by a donation from HeadBlade, Inc. The installation work was performed by Miami Fitness.

The last time the Muscle Beach weight pen received new equipment was in 1991.

Information about the Memorial Day weekend events, (310) 399-2775.

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