An event that was once just a dream for bodybuilding devotee Chris Minnes has since etched itself in legend. This Lake Tahoe event – put on by Minnes’ Center Podium promotion company – is what happens when you put the world’s most impressive people in one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes known to man. Crystal blue water. Towering mountains. The pantheon of the greats sharing kinship with the greater community. On August 13th-14th, the mythos will only grow more shredded.
Nevada’s Lake Tahoe is a total anomaly. The sunset glows on the clearest water you’ve ever seen – covering North America’s second deepest alpine lake with blue and gold. The surrounding mountains have been carved with the might of ancient glaciers. It’s the beauty and brawn of nature, pushed beyond the conventional limit – and it’s no wonder every bodybuilder has the IFBB Pro/NPC Tahoe Show on their bucket list.
The weekend of August 13th quickly approaches – the greats, enthusiasts, and newcomers alike prepare to gather in ceremony and celebration of the bodybuilding way of life. The last few years haven’t been easy for them – kept out of the gym and from the competitions they’ve sacrificed so much for. But the time has come again for muscle-bound jubilee. There’s going to be a kickass show in Tahoe – made possible by Center Podium and one of the sport’s most faithful devotees, Chris Minnes.
Center Podium is amongst the biggest names in bodybuilding promotion. Their calendar is loaded with highly-anticipated events like this one, featuring competitions including Classic Physique, Bodybuilding, IFBB Pro Bikini, Men’s Physique, and more. Minnes, the owner of Center Podium, considers the Tahoe Show his baby – this was the one that started it all for the promotion – who now lead the bodybuilding entertainment space with their content-loaded platform, Center Podium TV.
11 years after he pioneered the Tahoe Show, Minnes’ passion for the event has only grown larger. “It’s like a big-giant bodybuilding sleepover with a nightclub,” he jokes. “Everybody just has a freaking blast.”
The recipe for a good time is certainly there. A world-wonder of a setting, a top-class casino, and a gathering of kindred spirits united in a drive to push limits. But before we touch on the party, let’s have a look at the stakes – this is a competition after all.
For those going through the NPC amature circuit – the path to going pro starts in Lake Tahoe. This event is a national qualifier, those who land at the top of their class punch a ticket to nationals: a chance to ring the doorbell of the IFBB pro league. Make it through, and we start talking about bodybuilding’s greatest ritual. “This is the first step of your journey towards that Olymipa stage,” Minnes says. “That means making a career as an athlete in our sport.”
If that’s not enough juice – wait till you see the trophies. The Tahoe Show’s now famous “muscle deers” are relics that once you see, you won’t want to live without.
The Tahoe Show is also a great destination for beginners and novices just looking to take the next step in their fitness journey. “At this event,” Minnes says, “you’re surrounded by the most knowledgeable athletes and coaches in the world. It’s one place to get tons of information that would take weeks of digging through the internet to try and find. You’ll be talking firsthand with some of the most knowledgeable people in the world.”
Speaking of the best people in the world – Lake Tahoe is known to host some of the biggest names in the sport. Past guests have included the legendary Dexter “The Blade” Jackson, three time Ms. Olympia Ashley Kaltwasser, two time Olympian Erin Stern, and the IFBB Pro star Tonio Burton. All are likely to return, along with others from the bodybuilding pantheon. “You just never know who’s gonna show up,” Minnes says. “Every year, countless superstars within the top rows of the world are showing up to attend, coach, sponsor, or compete.”
The beauty of this show in Tahoe is that it’s been built for the community. “Back in 2011,” Minnes recalls, “I was probably the only bodybuilder in the Tahoe Basin. Everyone was sure this was going to fail.” But like a muscle-bound Kevin Costner, Minnes listened when a voice from the lake said ‘build it and they will come.’
Stories of the ensuing ten shows will remain in the mythos forever – the eleventh chapter of this epic will be written from August 13th to 14th. Central to this legend are the strong communal elements of the weekend. We’ve all gotten into the sport for different reasons – whether it be a desire to push ourselves, a deep longing to turn trauma into triumph, or a need for a tribe that wants to see us grow.
“We all have our challenges,” Minnes says. “We’ve all struggled. That’s where we play an important role, we have to be there for our community.”
We’ve all found purpose in this way of life – and there is no better celebration of this than the one at Lake Tahoe. “You haven’t drank a beer or eaten a donut in twelve weeks,” Minnes jokes. “Your girlfriend is pissed at you. If we can offer an experience that was worth all that – mission accomplished.”
This is certainly an event worth suffering for. Photoshoots, lake excursions, competition, the community all in one place – there’s too much to note here (and the afterparty will be a tad too hot for press).
If somehow the Tahoe Show is not on your bucket list, add it now so you can cross it off come August 13th.
Tickets go fast – get yours here. For the full first-class experience, rooms at the Bally’s Lake Tahoe casino and resort start at $79.99 a night. Those who cannot make it can follow along on Center Podium TV, while vowing to get out to Tahoe next year.