Page 14 - NGA NATURALmag 2017 OCTOBER
P. 14

Fall 2017
The Story of of the Heart of of America
John Abraham
In 1995 I I I I was approached by by a a a a a a a a a a a a a local local gym owner by the name of Jerry Thomas
and asked If I I I would like to be a a a a a judge at a a a a a local natural bodybuilding show he was promot- ing through the National Gym Association Jerry had first become acquainted with me me because of of some of of the success that I was having competing in in in both drug tested and non-tested bodybuilding shows in in the Midwest At the time I was was beginning to to feel a a a a little frus- trated because it it was was difficult to to to find bodybuilding platforms to to compete fin in in that were drug drug free free I always had compassion for for other drug-free athletes like myself because I knew their struggle especially in a a a a a sport where drugs are often used to enhance muscle growth So when Jerry approached me I jumped at the chance to get involved At the the time I I had had not heard of the the NGA but was excited to to learn about it it because I I had had been 7
years drug drug free free and and and considered myself to to be be be and and and still do a a a a a a a a a a a a a lifetime natural and and and drug drug free free athlete Additionally I had heard great things about Andrew Bostinto the the NGA founder and how passionate the the organization was about providing a a a a a a a a a a a a a a platform for for drug free athletes to showcase their their hard work and endurance sculpt- ing ing their their bodies naturally So it was at at at at that that time that that I made the the the the decision to assist Jerry by coining the the the the name of of the the the the first show which was THE HEART OF AMERICA NATURAL CLASSIC staged in in in the the the the State of of of Illinois Illinois right in in in in in in the the the center of of the the the US The 1st show was held in in in in in Peoria Illinois Illinois in in in in in April 1995 Jerry relied on my my experience as as a a a a a a a a competitor and welcomed my my input as as to to to how how to to to run a a a a a a a a a a good show Because I I had some bad experiences from other organizations I I knew all the the the things not to to to do as as well as as how how to to to treat and respect the the athletes that are show show competitors competitors This show show had a a a a a a a a a a total of 14 competitors competitors which were mostly male male bodybuilders and 2 female bodybuild- ers ers From that first show show the the rest is is is history Russ Testo was hired to to to to guest pose at at this show show and despite the the small number of competitors almost 200 people attended the show which was unbelievable! At that point I became hooked on judging and even more excited about helping to assist in in in in in organizing future shows The years flew by and the the show show continued continued to to grow Jerry continued continued to to promote the the the show show despite the the fact he he he he suffered from severe diabetes His condi- tion worsened and in 2003 he he he was on on on dialysis almost 14 NGA NATURAL mag 

   12   13   14   15   16