Muscle Beach Venice enthusiasts have something to work up a sweat over as the Labor Day Muscle Beach Championship bodybuilding contest brings the “godfather of fitness” Jack LaLanne to the stage.
Now in his 90s and still traveling the world promoting his health products and giving inspirational speeches, fitness icon Lalanne will be honored with a lifetime achievement award and will be inducted into the Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame.
Bodybuilders will begin registering the day of the contest at 7:30 a.m. Monday, September 3rd, at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility, at 1800 Ocean Front Walk, near Windward Avenue, in Venice. Prejudging starts at 10 a.m. and bodybuilding finals in each division will get under way at 1 p.m.
Amateur male and female bodybuilders from the U.S. and other nations will compete in the contests, which are held three times a year — on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Registration is open to anyone and the fee to compete is $75 per participant.
Joe Wheatley Productions organizes the event in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks in affiliation with www.bodybuild ing.com/.
Following the introduction of the bodybuilding athletes at 1 p.m., LaLanne will be presented a lifetime achievement award. LaLanne’s segment will be followed by the grand opening of the Walk of Fame at Muscle Beach, that will consist of bronze plaques mounted around the weight pen honoring 23 Muscle Beach Hall of Fame inductees.
The honorees this year are Bill Howard (emcee and main driving force for the Muscle Beach contests from 1963 to 2003), Joe Weider, Joe Gold, Mickey Hargitay, John Balik, Frank Zane, Millard Williamson, Samir Bannout, Albert Beckles, Paula Boelsoms, Leroy Colbert, Dave Draper, Cory Everson, Armand Tanny, Glenn Sundby, Larry Scott, Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Gene Mozee, Rachel McLish, Don Howorth, Charlie Fautz and Bill Grant.
LaLanne, along with Franco Columbu, Deforrest Most, Tony Pearson, and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, were inducted into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame last year and they will have their bronze plaques installed in the Walk of Fame in 2008.
LaLanne, who turns 93 on September 26th, is the second person to be given the Muscle Beach Lifetime Achievement Award. The first was awarded to Joe Weider at last year’s Labor Day contest, an event where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (who worked out regularly at Muscle Beach in the 1970s) turned up.
In addition to starting the health club chain that eventually was bought out and became known as Bally Total Fitness, LaLanne made headlines in the 1950s with a series of record-breaking physical feats.
A short sampling of LaLanne’s feats includes swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed; setting a world record for 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes; and swimming the Golden Gate Channel while towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser.
He had his own fitness and exercise television show from 1951 to 1984, and was a founding member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness under President John F. Kennedy.
“We are looking forward to wishing him a Happy Birthday from Muscle Beach,” says promoter Joe Wheatley.
Twenty three sponsors are scheduled to participate in the event, providing giveaways, promotional materials, and health and fitness information. Marriott Vacation Club plans to hold a raffle for a four-day, three-night vacation in Las Vegas.
The event will conclude with live R&B music performed by Maurice Williams and his group.
Information, (310) 399-2775.