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One-on-One with Vancity Showdown Contest Promoter Corey Swiergosz
Muscle Insider Publisher Scott Welch sits down with CPA contest promoter Corey Swiergosz to get the lowdown on what it takes to make it in the business and why the 2018 Vancity Showdown will be his largest event to date!
The scene for this interview took place at a local coffee shop in Vancouver after Scott and Corey debated their Olympia predictions and shared supplement industry gossip as they always do when they get together. The Vancity Showdown has become one of the most exciting contests in British Columbia which is why Muscle Insider covers the event each year. The stakes are high as this year all overall winners will be published in Muscle Insider giving them national exposure along with winning outstanding prizes from the sponsors Corey has secured.
A. We’ve been promoting the show for three years now through my company Influential Sports.
Q. In the past you’ve had the likes of Regan Grimes, Jose Raymond, Chris Bumstead, and Cody Montgomery as guest posers. How important is a guest poser?
A. When it comes to putting on a good event, a guest poser is important to the overall athlete experience. All of the guest posers that I have at my shows must attend the athletes’ meeting on Friday as this gives them an opportunity to take pictures with the star. I also like to have the guest poser seen with the competitors and answering any questions they have, which increases the overall athlete experience. Secondly, it also helps the guest posers, as athletes live out their dreams of making money with their hobby, being able to travel the world and have the chance to help inspire and motivate the young up-and-coming athletes. I’ve tried to choose guest posers that really want to build their name up on the west coast.
Q. We heard mass monster Jeff Beckham will be your guest poser this year! How did you meet Jeff, and how did that deal transpire?
A. I met Jeff at Gold’s Gym, Burnaby, one day when I was training. He was getting ready for the Toronto Pro SuperShow and asked me to spot him on the incline chest press. We hit it off, and he let me know that he’d just recently moved to Vancouver, so then I reached out to him later in the evening and he was more than willing to guest pose for the show, and so it started from there. We will also have new IFBB Pro Richie Chan guest posing which is super exciting. Richie has a huge local fan base who have followed his career and have been inspired by his journey to winning his pro card this past summer at the North Americans.
Q. You’re one of the few promoters in Canada to incorporate multiple sports in your event making the Vancity Showdown not just a bodybuilding content. Tell us about that and what inspired this approach.
A. For a number of years, I’ve been going to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, and I’ve always had dreams and the aspiration of bringing something like that to Vancouver. So, in our second year promoting the Vancity Showdown, we set out to do a multi-sports festival. This year, in addition to the CPA-sanctioned bodybuilding/physique/bikini competition, we will have a BCPA-sanctioned powerlifting competition and an arm wrestling competition, and we’ve added Royal City Wrestling! So, we’re going to have four different sports under one roof on one day at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster.
Q. So you’re also having wrestling? Is this Olympic wrestling or Greco Roman wrestling?
A. No, it’s sports entertainment wrestling like what you would see on TV. It’s going to be a huge audience draw; for the wrestling itself we’re expecting to have between 400 and 500 spectators come out to watch the event! Their fans are fanatical, to say the least. We think there will be a great crossover between bodybuilding and wrestling as a lot of a lot of wrestlers are actually former bodybuilders. When you talk to these guys, they live out a certain sense of fantasy, almost like a comic book or an alter ego and are able to take on a different identity.
Q. For the CPA-sanctioned bodybuilding contest, what does this show qualify athletes for and what are some of the prizes so far?
A. The Natural CPA show qualifies athletes for the Natural National Pro Qualifier that takes place in Toronto during August 2019. The top placing athletes are eligible to compete in that show for a chance to win an IFBB Pro Card. In terms of prizes, all overall winners will be featured in Muscle Insideras well as receive prize packages from our great sponsors. We have a wide range of sponsors, including Gorilla Wear Canada, Westcoast Iron, Maxximus Nutrition, Tyrex Clothing, Dog Days Clothing, Mammoth Supplements, Perfect Sports, Popeye’s Supplements, Training Day Café, Ruthless Sports, and Barbell Freak, to name a few.
Q. Tell us more about the powerlifting competition. What is the name of the federation sanctioning the event, how much is it to enter, and what lifts are being judged?
A. The powerlifting event is a natural event sanctioned by the BCPA, the leader in natural powerlifting in BC. Their incredible team runs a very smooth event that qualifies athletes to compete in the provincials within BC. Registration for this portion of the event is already sold out as the event has been capped at 85 athletes. We’re anticipating between 300 and 350 spectators coming out to watch the athletes lift in bench press, squat, and deadlifting. [For more information about the event and the governing organization, please visit http://bc-powerlifting.com/]
Q. Can you tell us more about the British Columbia Powerlifting Association (BCPA), who they are, and their history as many of our readers may be unfamiliar?
A. The BCPA is the governing body within British Columbia that hosts events on behalf of the Canadian Powerlifting Union and overseen by International Powerlifting Federation. All of the athletes within this organization are tested to WADA standards and can qualify to compete for Team Canada internationally via the Pan-American games. Completely run by volunteers [http://bc-powerlifting.com/organization/], the organization is a not-for-profit that continues to actively promote and build the powerlifting scene across the province. [The history of the BCPA can be found here: http://bc-powerlifting.com/history/]
Q. The last time we saw you bring arm wrestling to the Vancity Showdown lobby, we were blown away by how well received it was by bodybuilding fans and how entertaining some of the competitors were to watch. Tell us more about the league holding the arm wrestling event.
A. Arm wrestling is truly a spectator sport that is filled with excitement and fun. The Vancouver Arm Wrestling Club is the governing body for this event, which attracts competitors from Oregon, Washington, Alberta, and rural BC. Last year was the first time hosting the event as part of the Vancity Showdown and will be even bigger this year as the second annual. This is a free event that is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a supermatch taking place as well for cash prizes. [http://vancouverarmwrestling.com/]
Q When you were talking to some of the competitors, did you get the impression that lifting weights and paying attention to diet was imperative to their success?
A. Obviously, not all of them lift weights, but if some of the better competitors do incorporate some form of weight training and perhaps supplements into their regimen, this will help us connect “them” to “us” with something in common.
Q. You’re a former national competitor yourself, did you find that background helped you or held you back when it came to promoting contests? Let’s face it, there are a lot of things that are important to an athlete that may not be in the best interest of a promoter and vice versa.
A. Most certainly, competing myself allows me to look at show promotion from all angles. I’ve taken the good and the bad from each show that I’ve competed in and tried to improve on each show to bring along a more well-rounded show that increases the athletes’ satisfaction onstage. It’s truly about the athletes, as they’re the talent that make everything go around. I treat the athletes with first-class respect and offer them everything that they need to have an enjoyable time throughout the process. This extends from working to get special offers for athletes on hotels, tanning, skin care, supplements, and meal prep in advance of the show, as well as providing them with everything they expect from a well-run show that starts on time and gives them their moment in the spotlight.
Q. Big Ron Partlow is your emcee this year, which is very exciting. How has it been working with Ron so far?
A. Ron Partlow is a great ambassador for the sport of bodybuilding, and we couldn’t be happier to have him emcee our show. As part of the Westcoast Iron crew, Ron is going to be bringing his high-energy act to the Massey Theatre to entertain the audience and keep the show moving smoothly.
Q. There’s much more to putting on a contest than what it seems to all of us as spectators. How many hours would you say your team puts in each week leading up to a show? How many people do you have on your team that help with this?
A. Preparation for the show starts six months before the event day with members of our team working on some aspect every day. Our team is made up of 10 individuals that are constantly working to make the best show possible. We easily put in over 40 hours each week to bring you the product that you see on social media and on show day. I couldn’t put on these shows without the help of my great team, and I’m very thankful for all their help.
Q. Muscle Insider writer Ashleigh Atkinson and her husband, Kyle, are very involved with your shows. How did that whole partnership work with you guys?
A. They’re an incredible couple, and I’m very grateful to have them on my team. They work tirelessly at everything we need to get done leading up to the event and on show day. Kyle also does all the graphic design for us, which gives us top-notch quality graphics for all aspects of the show and writes the actual content that we use on social media, creating our programs, presentations, press releases—you name it!
Q. Now that you’re nearing the end of 2018, how has the first year of promoting under the CPA been?
The first year under the CPA has been an enjoyable experience that has allowed me to be more creative with the show promotion aspect and take on greater responsibility. The structure is set up in a way that promoters have greater autonomy to control the show and make things unique, creative, and different. You are seeing promoters take their own spin on this and drive the sport forward with the continued investment within the sport on all levels.
Q. Who are some of the sponsors you’ve been able to secure so far and service providers (hair, tanning, photo packages etc.)?
Mutant, Gorilla Wear, Ruthless Sports, Westcoast Iron, GFit, Tyrex Apparel, Mammoth Supplements, Dog Days Clothing, PEMF Cell Health, Big Star Sandwich Co, Reel Mac and Cheese, Iso-bar (FitStars), Training Day Café, Medimax Sculpsure, Kaizen Naturals, Absolute Touch Hair, Tanning, and Makeup, CSR Media
For more information or to register to compete in the Vancity Showdown, visit influentialsports.com