Socorro bodybuilders strut stuff at contest

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July 19 was a big night for three Socorro athletes.

Courtesy photo: Levi DelCurto, middle, crushes his competition with his classic “crab” pose.

Levi DelCurto, Sepp Fuierer and Claire Honeyfield competed on stage in the Organization of Competition Bodies (OCB) Natural New Mexico Body Building and Physique Championships at the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque. The three Socorro representatives put on an impressive show, garnering seven trophies all together, more than any city in New Mexico or surrounding states.

Courtesy photo: Claire Honeyfield receives one of her three first place trophies in the women’s figure competition.

DelCurto got things started by winning the first place trophy in the medium-height class in the novice division and third place in the open division of the men’s bodybuilding competition. Fuierer followed up by winning the tall class in both novice and open divisions.

Honeyfield was the biggest winner of the night, taking first place trophies in the novice division, open division short-class and open overall champion in her very first women’s figure competition.

In fact, it was the very first show for all three amateur athletes, who began their physical training in the New Mexico Tech gym. Fuierer and Honeyfield are both recent Tech alumni with engineering degrees, and DelCurto is a current Tech student majoring in chemical engineering.

The loudest fans in the full-house audience were from Socorro, particularly when DelCurto and Fuierer, Socorro High School grads and boyhood buddies since ages 4 and 5, squared off against each other in the novice overall competition.

The overall is when the winners of short, medium and tall classes compete, literally head to head, toe to toe, (and everything in between) for the overall trophy. The prize could have gone to any of the three men, but the judges were impressed with the thick and striated quadriceps and developed abdominals of Jacquaan Matherson, the short-class winner.

After winning the Open tall class, Fuierer did battle once again, this time against Jeff Nippard, the short-class winner, and Maxwell Bohlman, medium-class winner.

This was the lengthiest pose-off of the night, as the judges critiqued every muscle of the body, from every possible angle. In the end, Bohlman, gym owner and long-time competitor from Arizona, was victorious.

Honeyfield, a Raton native and recent Socorro resident, stole the female show, clearly displaying the best shape, tone, muscularity and balance of the 15 women’s figure competitors.

Her closest competition was Michelle Hardy, an experienced and highly-decorated beauty and Albuquerque favorite, who had the misfortune of being in the newcomer’s height class.

Honeyfield gathered three trophies in all for overall novice, open short-class and overall champion. In winning the championship, Honeyfield earns her International Federation of Physique Athletes (IFPA) pro card, meaning she now can compete as a professional in national and international contests. Such success in an individual’s very first show is a rarity.

While bodybuilding and figure building are clearly individual sports, camaraderie in the gym is invaluable. Watching, learning and sharing information about weight lifting technique, cardiovascular training and nutrition make it a social affair, with all the effort culminating in the onstage contest. Posing on stage is deceivingly strenuous physically, mentally and emotionally. The years of training and weeks to months of strict contest preparation require dedication, determination, planning, and hard work, as an individual must take full control of his/her health and fitness. The Socorro trio was clearly up to the task.

“Contest prep was very challenging,” said Fuierer, “But the sense of accomplishment and reward of being in the best condition of my life on stage made it all worth it. I’m excited to make improvements and look forward to competing again.”

Honeyfield said that she enjoyed the experience, including the low days.

“It makes you appreciate food in a whole new way,” she added. “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did and am looking forward to improving and maybe competing in a pro show in the future.”

DelCurto said she loves training and loves the sport. “It feels great to show off your hard work. I’m excited to put on some more mass, and go at it again … chase after the perfect physique.”