Courtesy of Wings of Strength
On Friday, September 6, over 100 participants gathered at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, Arizona, for the first women's bodybuilding weekend. As the sun set in the afternoon, participants and fans gathered to celebrate the fifth IFBB Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championship together with Arizona Women's Pro and inaugurate the first NPC Women's Extravaganza.
The energy was felt when competitors from around the world embraced, complimented and wished each other good luck, even though they would be on the same stage in less than 24 hours. The solo sport of bodybuilding can feel like a lonely road; They can prepare for the stage with the help of a coach or a team, but ultimately stand alone on stage. The entire weekend was characterized by camaraderie and sportiness, which are often overlooked in bodybuilding.
It was a real demonstration of women lifting each other. The ladies were greeted with a speech that continued this theme. Wings of Strength Vice President US Operations Alex Sacasa thanked attendees for attending this women's event and said how honored she is to work with a team of great women who make a real love affair from every event. Emcee Sara Hurrle described the mood as a "total love affair" and reminded attendees that lighting another candle does not diminish their own light and further illuminate other women so that this sport and all women's events are brightened with love and support.
On Saturday the stage was ready. The 20-foot video wall served as a magnificent backdrop and illuminated the muscular silhouettes of the participants. The show opened with the Yellow Bird Apache dancers, an Indian tribe in Arizona who presented the unique spirit of the Indians with energetic music and special hoop dances. Then the fans cheered as every bodybuilder stood on the stage and got the chance to win prizes and sponsors and to qualify for the Olympic stage the following year.
Bodybuilding shows are usually full of friends, family members and fans of athletes, and this intimate crowd was no exception. Participants included partners, parents and children of all ages – there were many heartwarming greetings from "Mama!" It was the highest paid bodybuilding contest for women in the world, and the crowd felt even richer with love and support.
While each division fought for prize money, the bodybuilding division fought for the coveted grand prizes: a check for $ 50,000, a brand new 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, and the priceless 2019 World Champion title, Rising Phoenix. This honor was made possible by courtesy of Jake Wood and Wings of Strength, who founded the department in 2014 to offset the absence of Ms. Olympia. The Rising Phoenix World Championship serves as a forum where bodybuilders compete against each other and can be recognized for their achievements.
Wood often says Wings of Strength supports all athletes in all divisions – and sponsors and promotes several shows throughout the year – because, as he quickly reminds the audience, women's bodybuilding as well as men's bodybuilding can disappear. There should be a bodybuilding phase to support all competitors who want to participate in competitions.
As the event reached its peak, it was time to crown a new Rising Phoenix winner – but not before the women received special awards. Each of the 19 participants submitted a video showing what drives him to bodybuilding, as well as a stage routine to express himself artistically. Nicki Chartrand won the Best Video Award and Janeen Lankowski the Best Routine Award. The final battle for the title went back to two former champions, both of whom had previously won the Rising Phoenix World Championship title – Margie Martin (2015 & 2016) and Helle Trevino (2017).
The crowd roared when the new Rising Phoenix World Champion was announced in 2019: Bright Trevino. After unexpectedly losing her mother earlier this year, Helle wondered if she should break the competition. However, through hard work and a support system that included Wings of Strength, she remained focused and committed. She joked that she knew she would win a car bearing her name and aptly named her new Dodge Challenger Hellcat "Hellecat."
The 2019 fifth Annual Rising Phoenix had the highest attendance ever. What began as a show that needed to illuminate her own path became a solemn women's festival, where sportswomen from all over the world came together to shine so brightly that they could overcome all obstacles. Wings of Strength is pleased to announce that the Rising Phoenix, with the hard work of its team and all of its participating female competitors, will bring the torch to the Las Vegas Olympic stage and welcome the long-awaited return of Ms. Olympia in 2020.
This content is sponsored by Wings of Strength.