CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT -- Four Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division won medals in the Desert Classic VII Bodybuilding Competition at the USO Theater, here, May 07. Two Soldiers took second, one took third place awards in the men's lightweight bodybuilding division, and two won first and second place in the middle/heavyweight division.
Headquarters Support Company 1st Sgt. Harold Murdock was awarded the bronze medal, Judge Advocate General Sgt. Douglas Washington was awarded silver, Satellite Systems Operator/Maintainer Spc. Shamare Brown was awarded silver, and Air Defense Systems Operator Spc. Charles Calloway was awarded the gold. The men's competition events were men's physique, which judges physical symmetry and aesthetics from the waist up, and men's bodybuilding which judges overall muscle development.
"Hard work definitely pays off," said Calloway who cut his calorie intake in half and increased his workout volume in the five weeks leading up to the competition.
Participants conducted their routines in a variety of attire from traditional, colorful bikini's to boxer cut lycra underwear or board shorts. They were scored as part of a group through a series of poses such as front double biceps and side triceps, individually as part of a one-minute choreographed posing routine set to music, and during a group pose-off.
"The way we're judging here is different than the way we judge back stateside," said competition judge, Curtis Nelson, who has won bodybuilding awards in N.C. and Mo.
Douglas won-over the crowd when he dropped into a split and then struck a front double biceps pose, Murdoch's choreography was to "Up Jump Da Boogie", and newcomer Calloway, during the free-for-all group pose-off, dominated by blocking other competitors on front of the stage.
"The judges gave us feedback afterwards and said that I owned the stage and posed better than the other guys," said Calloway, who despite this achievement gets less than the maximum 300 points on his Army Physical Fitness Test.
In addition to the service members on stage, two crowd favorites were local guest worker, Sajesh, who moon danced to Bollywood music as part of his routine, making up for a lack of muscular definition with enthusiasm, and a sassy, civilian "woo girl" in the audience who provided motivation, support and encouragement for all competitors.
This competition marks one of several physical events where 29ID Soldiers have dominated. Other events where the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge test, where 29ID Soldiers took all of the gold medals, first place finishes in the Camp Arifjan Strongman competition, and first and second place in the Camp Arifjan Half-Marathon Rowing competition, and the Air Assault and Rappel Master Courses.
The 29th is currently deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield, providing mission command for more than 18,000 U.S. Army Central Soldiers and supporting theater security cooperation across the CENTCOM area of operations. This is the largest number of troops the 29th ID has led since World War II. The division will be celebrating their 100 year anniversary later this summer.