Everyone told them it couldn’t be done, but the promoters of the Tahoe Show didn’t let that stop them. Chris Minnes of Los Angeles and Sacramento’s Bill Cambra and Greg Atoyan dreamed of putting on a bodybuilding show in Tahoe. Regardless of what people said, they never stopped believing.
“There were a lot of people who were promoting shows and judging in the industry who told us it wasn’t going to happen in Tahoe. There wouldn’t be interest. People wouldn’t travel. They wouldn’t drive this distance. It just wouldn’t be possible — and in a casino especially, well, it was unheard of,” said Heather Cambra, Bill’s wife.
It turned out the industry was wrong in their assumption. With approximately 100 people signed up to participate and over 80 people competing, the turnout for the team’s NPC show went beyond their expectations.
“The norm for a show is 75 competitors. For a show in its infancy, getting as many as we did was amazing,” Heather said.
The concept to put on a bodybuilding show in Tahoe began about a year ago. Bill and Greg were working with Chris at a Reno show. Chris, who used to manage hotels in the Tahoe area, pitched the idea to do a show there and Bill loved it.
Bill has been competing and promoting shows for over 30 years, but he had never done one in Tahoe. The thought of it was exciting. His goal was to bring back the way bodybuilding shows were done in the past and make it about the bodybuilder rather than the promoter.
“Everyone told us nobody would go to Tahoe, but Tahoe is my family. Montbleu gave us the room. They saw the potential in it. Saw the future in it. Who doesn’t want to go a bodybuilding show, be able to go to a beach, hangout in a nightclub – and have it all in the same venue? We were willing to risk it,” said Chris Minnes.
Getting the word out about the show was the hard part. They needed to reach bodybuilders across the country and let them know the show existed. To do this, they did most of their promotion through social media. Chris developed a website for the Tahoe Show and Bill set up a Facebook and Twitter account. From there the word spread.
According to Heather, promoters usually don’t get online and promote this way, so using social media was a new concept–and it worked.
The group kept track of their web hits and watched them grow every day. By show date, hundreds of thousands of people had visited the site, plus the promoters received a lot of positive response from bodybuilders. They liked the concept and they liked that the show was going to be in the Tahoe area.
“The big thing here is that Tahoe Show is a bodybuilding show for bodybuilders by bodybuilders. That’s their biggest motto. They catered to the competitor with gifts, the after-party at Montbleu’s Opal Nightclub and the breakfast banquet the next morning. Tahoe show is all about the competitor,” Heather said.
Competitors came from across the country and ranged from first time bikini competitors like Whitney Reagan to those who had been competing for years. It also brought out many local figure competitors such as Cassandra Chandler and Cynthia Johnson who hadn’t been on stage for a number of years.
“The boys wanted to make sure everybody had a good time and you got something to take home that was yours. Even if it wasn’t a trophy, you got a t-shirt, a bag and other gifts,” Heather said.
The group already is working on making the Tahoe Show bigger and better for 2012. Chris says they are currently working on firming a date with Montbleu and will let the industry know within the next few months.