Military-themed activities will accompany the annual Memorial Day weekend Muscle Beach Venice International Classic bodybuilding and figure contest, scheduled for Sunday and Monday, May 28th and 29th, at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice.
The event is the first of three bodybuilding and figure competitions organized each year by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Other bodybuilding and figure competitions are scheduled for Independence Day and Labor Day.
Registration for the Memorial Day weekend competition is $50 per competitor. Spectator admission is free for the public.
The contest will feature male and female bodybuilders from around the world competing in lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions.
The figure competition for women is divided into short, medium and tall classes.
A master’s division will be held in each of the competitions, and a teen division is also scheduled for competitors ages 16 to 19.
Preliminary judging will be- gin at 10 a.m. and in the afternoon on Sunday, May 28th, and the competition finals are scheduled to start at noon Monday, May 29th.
In addition to the bodybuilding and figure competition, the event will have a “military connection,” in honor of the Memorial Day holiday, event promoter Joe Wheatley says.
“We decided to join forces with the military,” Wheatley says.
The event will include various tributes to the men and women who have served in the United States armed forces.
A flyover by the Air Force F-117 Stealth Fighter out of Edwards Air Force Base is scheduled to kick off the Memorial Day festivities at 11:45 a.m. Monday, May 29th, followed by the competition finals.
The Air Force’s Commanders Jazz Ensemble, which has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall in New York City, is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28th, at the Venice Beach Recreation Center.
A Commanders Jazz Ensemble performance is also planned following the competition finals at 3 p.m. Monday, May 29th, on the Venice boardwalk at the ocean end of Windward Avenue.
During the two-day event, all armed services branches will have static displays of military hardware, as well as representatives in uniform staffing informational booths.
A group of military recruits will also be sworn in by a U.S. Air Force colonel in a “mock” induction ceremony following the performance of the national anthem during the Monday, May 29th, festivities, says Wheatley.
Other military-themed activities include a climbing wall and a football toss organized by the U.S. Army.
Wheatley said another highlight of the event will be the inductions of Glenn Sunby, Samir Bannout and Mickey Hargitay into the Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame.
Sunby is one of the original founders of the Santa Monica Muscle Beach. Bannout, who was named Mr. Olympia in 1983, is considered “one of the gentlemen in our sport,” Wheatley said.
Hargitay, father of television actress Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is one of the first bodybuilders to cross over to the film industry.
Information on the Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, www.musclebeach venice.com
Wheatley said event organizers expect to have a record number of athletes compete in the two-day contest, surpassing last year’s high of 63 athletes.
“It will be a big show,” promises Wheatley.
Information, (310) 399-2775.