Rams' annual competition far from typical

Ridgewood's annual bodybuilding competition featured much more than chiseled students showing off their muscles.

By CHRIS WAGENHEIM Correspondent
Published May 24, 2007

Ridgewood's annual bodybuilding competition featured much more than chiseled students showing off their muscles.

In its 18th year, the competition on Friday was just the tip of the extravagant iceberg.

The festivities were kicked off by an acrobatic break-dancing team. Then, one of the bodybuilders sang the national anthem before the competition began. Two faculty members competed in an arm-wrestling match in the middle of the event, and a death metal band comprised of students brought the eccentric night to an end.

Junior Ryan Nye, who was attending his third competition, said the event isn't as much about bodybuilding as it is about the students getting together one last time before the seniors graduate. The Class of 2007 was done Wednesday, and the rest of the school finishes Friday.

"Not everyone is into death metal, but it brings the kids that are, here, " said J.D. Baker, life coach and coordinator of the event. "The dance team comes with their families, all the contestants and their families. I have kids in the back of my classes that don't want to be a part of anything, and this event brings them here."

The gym was packed. Students, parents and teachers all came to see Mr. and Miss Ridgewood crowned.

Some were also there to see the arm-wrestling match between science teacher and former WCW wrestler Dean Liptak and football coach Brian Wachtel. The arm-wrestling match took place halfway through the event and was nothing short of a reincarnation of a pro wrestling bout. With theme music, prefight banter, drama and no clear winner, it was all there for anyone who remembers watching a match as a kid.

As for the competition itself, the 6-foot trophy and title of Mr. Ridgewood went to Barry Johansonbaugh, while weightlifting champ Meghan Seltman was crownd Miss Ridgewood.

Seltman, female athlete of the year at Ridgewood and a member of the its hall of fame, was one of only seven girls to compete.

"I wish I would have had more girls this year, but you know, they don't feel comfortable and I understand, " Baker said. "Even some of the skinny guys up there, I give them all the credit in the world to get up there and have the nerve."

Used to the challenge of competing in male-dominated sports, Seltman, a senior, said it was a tough transition between strength conditioning and body sculpting.

"The transition is not easy at all, " said Seltman, who sang the national anthem at the event. "It kind of gets me down, because I lose a lot of my strength because I had to switch reps and everything."

When asked what she was going to do with the 6-foot trophy, Seltman said she was going to move a dresser out of her room to make space for it.

"I just wanted to come out here, do my best and go out with a bang for my school, " Seltman said, "because I am really going to miss it."