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Seeing My Dreams Come True and Helping Others Reach Their Dreams, Too
Many people are surprised when they hear me say that I feel like I am the luckiest man alive. They take one look at my wheelchair and think it must be impossible for me to realize my dreams. But I have been able to accomplish more in my wheelchair in the last ten years than most people do in an entire lifetime. It has taken a lot of work and perseverance, a positive mindset, and the help of some very special people, but I have been truly awed by what I have been able to accomplish. That is why I am so excited about the work I am doing to help other people who are dealing with some type of disability realize that they, too, can achieve their dreams.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me, but I feel like I have accomplished so much. It all started at the end of May and beginning of June with an amazing experience at the 2013 GNC Toronto Pro SuperShow, which was held at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. The SuperShow, Canada’s largest fitness expo, had over 1,000 competitors from Canada and 16 other countries as well as approximately 10,000 spectators attend last year. The event is comprised of two main parts - sanctioned competitions from youth groups to provincial and international competitors and a Fitness Expo. The Expo is a show floor with approximately 75 to 100 exhibitors featuring everything related to health and fitness, from vendors and demonstrations to seminars.
It has been over a year since I have been in Canada and this event in Toronto was one of a kind. I have attended many events over the years but this one was by far the most convenient. The hotel was attached to the Expo and venue - just a two minute walk (or ride) got me to the expo and another two minutes got me to the show venue. On top of that, there was a huge gym facility just one block away from the hotel.
In all of the years I have been doing this, I have never had an experience this amazing! I LOVED the Toronto Pro SuperShow!
When you are getting ready for a show or expo the main thoughts on your mind are food, refrigerator, gym, and transportation to and from the gym/hotel, hotel/expo and hotel/venue. What most people don't realize is that rentals or taxi rides all cost you money and the time you lose while waiting. And that’s just the convenience part, without even talking about the event itself!
During the weekend, thousands of people went through the Expo and venue. There were a variety of sports and events including boxing, kickboxing and weightlifting. The Expo was filled with many different vendors. This was the first year that Bodybuilding.com took part in the expo and the fans in Canada were amazing. I was happy to meet everyone who stopped by the Bodybuilding.com booth.
I was also there to Guest Pose. I was their Featured Guest Poser Friday and Saturday nights at the Men’s IFBB Finals, and received standing ovations both nights. I take pride in my posing routines and always do my best, whether competing or guest posing. With my performances I focus more on the fans and want to be remembered for an amazing style. My competition routines are in a bodybuilding style, but I also try to add in a powerful entertainment aspect because I feel that the fans are there about bodybuilding but they also want to see an amazing show at the same time. So that is exactly what I want to give them.
The Ultimate Goal for why I attended the SuperShow was because of a coming merger in 2014. At the 2014 Toronto Pro SuperShow an IFBB Pro Wheelchair Division will be added! There will then be two IFBB Pro Wheelchair Shows. From that, more Divisions will eventually be added in specific shows around the world. In order for the IFBB Pro Wheelchair Division to be added to the Olympia stage, there needs to be 4-5 IFBB Pro Wheelchair Shows per year, more IFBB Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilders, and a visible demonstration that our sport can hold its own.
Without the support of Bodybuilding.com, Muscle Pharm and Mick Skinner for signing me back in 2008, none of this would have ever happened. It has taken a team effort over the seven and a half years I have been at this. Without the other wheelchair bodybuilders and IFBB Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilders, there would be no Wheelchair Bodybuilding. So Thank You to everyone who helps me to keep pushing forward! Strength is in numbers and we must all work as a Team, as One, to achieve our goal of being on the Olympia Stage!