Muscle Sport Magazine

Two for the Price of ‘Won’ – NPC Rule an All-Around Victory

The NPC recently announced in 2018 that only the top two in each class at the local and regional level shows would qualify for national level competition. So many people were butt hurt. Me? I’ve always thought that it’s a great idea.


For too long, people who have NO business getting onstage at all have been making their way to the national level via weak competitions and placing fifth in a field of five (some should be placed seventh out of five they are so bad) and then taking to social media, “Qualification for nationals procured; here I come.” Then five months later, they get last place in 50 people, wind up yelling politics and crying they got screwed when in reality they were not even ready for the small local show, let alone the next level. Dreamers, which is 100% fine, but you also have to be realistic.


Here’s a true story – I hit the stage for the first time in 1993 and was the only lightweight teen… which means that I won. I was put in the heavyweight class and got killed. But even with the first place in my class, I didn’t go to nationals; I didn’t beat anyone. I don’t even count it as a win.



Since then, I have competed for 20 years and placed second in the lightweight, light heavies, heavies and super heavies as a bodybuilder more than once in each class, as well as second in men’s physique. I never went to nationals; if I can’t win the class, then I don’t belong there. I held myself to that standard. I simply wasn’t good enough… period.


In 2015, I won the Delmarva (regional level) masters physique. THEN I went to the national level at Team Universe. Why did I wait? Because I wasn’t ready, as are MANY people. They haven’t even competed at a show yet and the first thing I hear is, “I hope I qualify for nationals.” I just look at them with a blank stare, as they have no idea.



So now with these top two qualifying, only the people who deserve to be there can go. And that makes for better shows, better competition per class and more elite shows which – let’s face facts – this is the NPC, the best of the best come here looking to become IFBB pros. So now if you want to be there in the mix at a national show trying to turn pro, you have to earn the right. Not just show up to a small show and get to go. I think it brings more prestige to the shows and weeds out the people who aren’t ready or just don’t have what it takes to be a pro.


The same amount of people have a shot at any show with this new rule but only the ones who truly deserve to move to the next level now get to go. And to me as a NPC judge – which I now am – a competitor for 25 years and a huge fan of the sport, I think it’s fair all the way around.


Be sure to visit the official site of Jerry Ward


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