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smoothballer
03-09-10, 11:00 am
Friday
Got up early and headed down from Cleveland to C-Bus with my bro and my buddy. As soon as we got to the Convention Center we made a bee-line to the Cage. It wasn't hard to miss. We picked up our Cage T-Shirts, snagged our VIP passes for the weekend, and headed into The Box. We walk in and I couldn't believe how much bigger the Cage was this year. The Open lifting was going on when we walked in...Vinny on the mic of course. As soon as we walked in we started talking to other Animals and putting faces to the screennames we see everyday. Vinny said it best that Animal is like a family and I truly felt that as I never felt like an outsider or spectator whether it be with Pros or Bros. The Seminars/Exhibitions were awesome. Watching Higa Monster carry that huge ass rock around the bench was amazing. And the Pro vs Bros competitions had the place all pumped up. Before I left, I picked up my Special Ops Animal T-Shirt and called it a day at the Expo.

I got the privilege of working out with Rage at Metro Fitness Friday Night with a few other Animals, GroundPounder88, ShortStack, Eric (forgot his screenname), and FatBackGoal. After sitting through the Hell Raiser Training Seminar in the Cage earlier that day I was pumped to experience the pain. And painful it was...awesomely painful. Learning firsthand from the man who invented the technique was amazing. It was great to pick his brain about the ins and outs of the system and different exercises that I can do with equipment my gym has. He made sure we all did spotting to make sure we know how to properly do it. HRT is definitely gonna be in my arsenal when I have a training partner there. I shall spread the pain...

Saturday
Woke up early on Saturday morning and headed right back to the Cage when we got to the Expo. The Expo was so packed on Saturday. It was crazy. VIP in The Box was so clutch. Anytime I happen to wander outside the Cage and felt stuck in wall to wall people I would just head back to the Cage. I got asked many times over the weekend how I got VIP and how they could get one. I told them to head on over to the FORVM and become part of the family. We even got offered money to buy our passes, but of course the answer was no. The cabinets of sups were nice. It was good to try some of the Amino Acid powders and new Torrent that I had been looking into. I think my favorite Seminar of the day was Steve Kuclo's. He is such a humble guy...for such a fucking huge beast. It was very informative and stressed the importance of the basic lifts. Which hit me hard because I have tendencies to stray from some of them when I am not progressing fast enough. The FORVM VIP Event was sweet. Congrats to BBWifey, LazieBone, and Ghost for winning the Iron Contest II. Awesome Transformations!!! Didn't snag any free cans of PM, but no biggie. Congrats to the 12 winners. I saw more weight thrown up at one time this weekend than I ever had and it was amazing watching Tiny Meeker put up 800 lbs on the bench. I missed Big Byrd squat and am glad someone threw it up on YouTube cause it was unbelievable. Although it wasn't in the Cage, I gotta mention that I shook the hand of the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger. I have to admit that I was shaking afterward. I never thought I would get that close to him let alone shake his hand. I also saw Sly Stallone walking through the crowd like a bad ass.

The National ABC at Metro was INSANE. 200+ Animals in one gym. The energy of the place was nothing like I had ever experienced before. All those people in one gym and it looked like everyone got one hell of a workout. I had some of my best lifts this weekend. I had some much painful enjoyment doing HRT on Friday that my bro and buddy there did some kick-ass Arm HRT on Saturday. My arms were so swole by the end of it I thought they were gonna pop. I will take that atmosphere mentally to the gym everyday from now on.

Sunday
Woke up early again and went to watch my wife run the 5K. She did awesome, finished in the top 75 women. Got in the Expo, walked around a little, and headed back to the Cage. The final Pros vs Bros competition was awesome. Saw DannyB, Renegadeur, TreeTrunkLegs, and HolaBola busting their asses to throw around some heavy weights. I didn't get to catch the "Train like an Animal" seminar G Diesel put on. I heard it was sweet and am hoping someone caught it on video. I did however make it back to the Cage for Hoss's Squat Exhibition. Watching that man squat 900 lbs 3 times was something I will never forget. I have never seen anyone in person throw up weight like that before. Just before we left my wife decided to enter the Open Lifting to bench 50% of her body weight. She originally was training for the Arnold Pump and Run event, but it sold out too fast. So she wanted to see what she could do. Just when she was about to sit down Steve Kuclo sat down in where Vinny told her to sit. Let's just say she was a little intimidated. She was looks at his arms and was like "I have to go after this guy?!?!" When it was her turn to go up, Vinny on the mic, "Laurens Wilson...Laurence...(looks up and saw it was girl)...Lauren...Larry" Fucking Priceless! She threw up 11 reps...awesome! Then I said my goodbyes to some of the other Animals I had met and said goodbye to the Cage for 2010.

I gotta say that I had a blast all weekend. I look forward to the Arnold all year, but this is the first year I really spent any real time inside the Cage. It was a completely different experience than any other year. Before I used just go to get free samples of sups, now I have a different purpose. I learned so much information in the 3 days I was down there than years of reading and training alone. I really felt like part of the Animal family being in the Cage, not just a screenname on a forum like so many other sites. I have memories that will last a lifetime and made a whole lot of new friends.

Thanks again Animal!
- Derek

deanna7272
03-09-10, 12:02 pm
Great write up and I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself, and in all honesty, I don't know who could have NOT enjoyed it. As a member of the Forvm, yes we have "special" rights that others do not, but that's why we are a tight knot group and take care of our own...

I feel positive in saying... "See ya next year!!!"

Phil800101
03-09-10, 3:26 pm
Great write-up bro! It was awesome meeting you.

smoothballer
03-14-10, 5:59 pm
Finally got my pics uploaded:
http://s930.photobucket.com/albums/ad146/wilsondj/Animal%20Cage%202010/