It has been a staple in Columbus for many years.
The Arnold Sports Festival, formerly known as the Arnold Classic, is synonymous with fitness and bodybuilding.
Dean Caputo, a 1981 Streetsboro graduate and former national champion bodybuilder, has been a regular visitor to the Arnold Sports Festival. He also is the owner of Natural Sport, a supplement company in Twinsburg.
Recently, Caputo came up with an idea. Why not feature something like this in Northeast Ohio?
“We basically want to do a mini Arnold,” Caputo said.
He’ll get his wish.
The NPC Northcoast Championships are scheduled to take place May 24 at Twinsburg High School. The prejudging is set to begin at 9 a.m. and the final doors open at 5 p.m.
The show consists of bodybuilding, women’s figure, bikini and men and women’s physique. It is a national qualifier and competitors from all over the country have a chance at qualifying for the Mr. and Ms. America and USA.
“You have to be a U.S. citizen, but we have people who are U.S. citizens coming from Europe because of the internet,” Caputo said.
The Arnold Sports Festival, which is named after former Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger, has gotten bigger and bigger since its start in 1989.
While the growth of the event has been beneficial for many, it also has created some problems, according to Caputo.
“Sometimes, when you grow something so big, it’s not good,” he said. “I’ve noticed that some of the people who go down there are miserable because it’s so crowded.”
And that’s one of the main reasons why Caputo felt it was necessary to do something similar in Northeast Ohio.
So how did this idea come about?
Caputo and his friend Greg Krause, the current Mr. America Masters 60-plus heavyweight champion, discussed plans for the NPC Northcoast Championships in November.
They soon met with the Twinsburg Athletic Boosters and the rest is history.
“Gary Sorace was my point of contact,” Caputo said. “Since I’ve had a business in Twinsburg for 20 years, I contacted the city, brought this idea to them and they loved it. Twinsburg is a great venue.”
A portion of the proceeds goes to the Twinsburg athletic boosters and Twinsburg’s sports programs.
In the 1980s and 90s, Caputo owned Powerhouse Gym in Streetsboro for 18 years. During this time, Powerhouse Gym hosted the “Dean Caputo Powerhouse Classic” for 14 years.
“We used to bring in the big stars like Lou Ferrigno, who is a friend of mine,” Caputo said. “We attracted a lot of people. With myself being a competitor, I had a lot of connections. We used to have shows in Lakewood and North Royalton.”
Caputo sold his gym in 1998 and could no longer use the name “Powerhouse” for future events.
“We decided to hold and bring back the Northcoast name, which was one of the biggest competitions in this area in the 80s and 90s,” Caputo said. “I competed in 1984 and the last one was in the 1990s.”
When Caputo owned Powerhouse Gym, the popularity of bodybuilding grew immensely. But other events, such as women’s figure, bikini and men and women’s physique, were nonexistent.
“It was all bodybuilding back then,” Caputo said. “Now we have fitness, figure and bikini. We’re planning to add cheerleading competitions, powerlifting and a pump and run. We’re also planning to bring dancers.”
Caputo plans to be the Master of Ceremonies for the NPC Northcoast Championships. He said the show is expected to attract more than 1,000 spectators.
“A show of this caliber has never been in our area and we are super excited to team up together,” Caputo said. “We have big plans on expanding the show next year.”
For details, visit northcoastchampionships.com. Northcoast Championships also has a facebook page at www.facebook.com/NorthcoastChampionships.