Egyptian Theatre to host bodybuilding competition

By Olivia Willoughby

Tanned, buff and drug-free: the top competitors from across the U.S. get to show off Saturday at the Sixth Annual Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders Midwest States 2011 Bodybuilding & Figure Competition.

FitWorkz owner Ray Binkowski will host the event at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.

“I wanted to promote drug-free body building,” Binkowski said. “As a competitor and a judge, I wanted to provide different and unique experiences for competitors.”

Binkowski said he chose the Egyptian Theatre because it’s “one of a kind.” He also said he plans to draw in about 700 spectators to the event.

“He’s been putting on this event for a number of years and it’s continued to grow every year,” said Alex Nerad, executive director of the Egyptian Theatre. “Ray and the competitors have been very happy with the theater and the event taking place here. I believe last year, they had well over 500 people. This year it’ll be either similar or bigger.”

The event is split into two parts: pre-judging and finals. Pre-judging begins at 11 a.m. and involves most of the judging, Binkowski said.

“Mostly family and friends come to the evening part of the event,” Binkowski said. “This part has more of the entertaining side of the event.”

The possible audience of 700 have other things to look forward to besides checking out the rock-hard abs of the competitors.

“We have one of the U.S. Naval Vocalists that will perform the National Anthem and the DeKalb County Marines will present the colors,” Binkowski said.

Not only will spectators get to see competitors make their way to the finals, but the event also has a charity side to it. Spectators can gain a discount of $5 off the original fee of $15 if they bring in new and unwrapped gifts, Binkowski said.

“[The contest] is a kick-off for the local Toys for Tots,” Binkowski said. “[Saturday] is one of the first days that they start collecting toys.”

There is also a $25 fee for the finals part of the event. NIU students can also get a $5 discount off the fee, Binkowski said. However, this discount does not work in addition to bringing a new gift.