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NPC Texas chairman Mike Johnston was grinning like a proud pappa as he watched the annual NPC Nationals dominate the attention of serious bodybuilding fans in his home state on November 19 – 20 at the Dallas Convention Center.
Texans did make a fine showing for the hometown crowd, and Dallas, a city that has hosted this event on three previous occasions since 1996, again played the perfect host.
The 2004 NPC Nationals welcomed a bodybuilding field of 56 contestants in what has now grown to a four-weight class event that enables one extra competitor the opportunity to advance to the IFBB pro ranks.
Johnston had every right to feel proud of his charges at this event as Texas athletes accounted for ten entries (nearly one-fifth of the total entries) in the four bodybuilding divisions. More impressive was the fact that three of those contestants placed in the top five of their respective weight classes with heavyweight winner Gina Davis taking home the biggest prize of all – the overall NPC National crown.


Pam Kusar has been thorough in her amateur competitive career. This 5′ 1″, 114-pound retired special education teacher has now won about every title available. For starters, Kusar is a five-time lightweight winner at the NPC Team Universe. She was also the lightweight winner at the 1996 IFBB North American, and at the 2001 NPC USA. In addition, Kusar has been an international success winning the gold medal at the 2001 World Games in Japan, and she was a bronze medallist at the 1998 IFBB World Amateur Championships. But on this weekend, the Akron, Ohio native put forth her best-ever physical condition, and it was good enough to top a field of nine additional challengers.
Among those she out-pointed was Florida’s Tera Guzman, the recent lightweight winner at the 2004 NPC USA in Las Vegas, and runner-up placer here. Guzman’s finish was her best ever at the NPC Nationals considering she had entered every lightweight National tilt since 1999. A real battle ensued between Guzman and eventual third-placer Jamie Troxel from Virginia. The two were separated by just one point in the final tallies.
The fourth and fifth place finishers also nearly deadlocked in the final scoring with Virginia’s Donna Karr finishing fourth with 22 points, followed by Texan Lori George in fifth with 23.

The Results – Numbers in parenthesis are final judging scores

1-Pam Kusar, Ohio (5)
2-Tera Guzman, Florida (11)
3-Jamie Troxell, Virginia (12)
4-Donna Karr, Virginia (22)
5-Lori George, Texas (23)
6-Ellen Woodley, Florida (30)
7-Terilyn Watts, Texas (35)
8-Dawn Hickman, Minnesota (41)
9-Melinda Williamson, Texas (44)
10-Carol Cabaldon, Hawaii (50)


Less than a dozen women in the 25-year history of this National Championships event have won multiple class titles at either the NPC USA, NPC Nationals, or both. But that is what Californian Emery Miller accomplished by winning this year’s National middleweight crown. The road to her second national title was something of a roller coaster ride, but to hear the 5′ 3″, 120-pound personal trainer and on-call firefighter from Crestline tell it, she wouldn’t have had it any other way. In 2003, Miller won the NPC USA lightweight title in convincing fashion after also winning the NPC California middleweight crown. Then in an effort to capture the National title in the same year, the dieting walls came crashing down and she plummeted to a 12th-place finish in Miami. Undaunted, Miller took the entire year to prepare for this year’s National event and it worked like a charm. So much so she was selected winner by a unanimous decision of all 11 judges. Miller was the only member of the four National weight class winners to achieve that level of complete and total unanimity.
Following Miller was another mega-improver – Michelle Morrison. A winner at the 2001 NPC New England, Morrison was mired in 11th place at the 2002 NPC Nationals and 10th at the 2002 NPC USA. But the year-and-a-half break did wonders for the 5-3, 125-pound fitness trainer from Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Perhaps the most startled finisher at this National contest was third placer Alissa Jones of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. An NPC Tennessee overall winner in 2003, 5′ 2″, 124 -pound Jones was a seventh-place finisher as a light-heavyweight at the 2004 NPC Junior Nationals earlier in the year.
Kansas City’s Keri Yates claimed the fourth-place spot, followed by North Carolinan Christine Brandon in fifth.

The Results – Numbers in parenthesis are final judging scores

1-Emery Miller, California (5)
2-Michelle Morrison, Massachusetts (10)
3-Alissa Jones, Tennessee (15)
4-Keri Yates, Missouri (19)
5-Christine Brandon, North Carolina (28)
6-Brenda Smith, California (29)
7-Yvette Bova, Florida (34)
8-Karen Atkins, North Carolina (40)
9-Debra Brockway, Texas (45)
10-Somayra Hernandez, Puerto Rico (50)


With this year’s inaugural light-heavyweight class being the contest’s largest class (20 competitors), and with at least a dozen women deserving of what observers always describe as ‘higher placings,’ eventual winner Cindy Gonzales managed to draw the closest attention of the judging panel.
A virtual unknown, Gonzales won the middleweight class at the IFBB North American Championships in 2001, then a year later in 2002 she showed up at the NPC Nationals and finished second in a very competitive middleweight division. Surrounded by competitors who were more muscular, more defined, heavier and/or better known in the bodybuilding community, the 5′ 3″, 135-pound personal trainer from Jackson, Michigan simply offered up what the judges felt was the best overall package.
Runner-up Elena Seiple, one of two other competitors besides the winner to receive a first-place vote, has been close to the top on several occasions.
Third place finisher Kim Perez, 5′ 5″ and 137 pounds with a remarkable v-taper from enormous delts and shoulder width and tiny waistline looked to be competitive for the top spot throughout the prejudging rounds.
Also pressing hard on the top placers was fourth-place Dena Westerfield from Missouri who had made notable improvements from her 2003 overall victory at the NPC Junior Nationals. Finishing fifth was Louisiana’s Robin Parker. A veteran of many years on the competitive stage (she began in 1984), this former New Yorker has an impressive contest resume.

The Results – Numbers in parenthesis are final judging scores

1-Cindy Gonzales, Michigan (5)
2-Elena Seiple, New Jersey (11)
3-Kim Perez, Oklahoma (17)
4-Dena Westerfield, Missouri (18)
5-Robin Parker, Louisiana (25)
6-Debbie Bramwell, California (30)
7-Heather Lee, New Jersey (36)
8-Sondra Faas, New York (41)
9-Angie Salvagno, California (42)
10-Star Blaylock, Texas (49)
11-Norma Nieves, Puerto Rico (55)
12-Terri Harris, Texas (60)
13-Stephanie Kessler, Florida (65)
14-Gale Hamlet-Frankie, Georgia (70)
15-Alicia St. Germaine, Michigan (77)
16-Alanna Crespo, Florida (78)
16-Dawn Muth, Virginia (80)
16-Julie Peavey, Illinois (80)
16-Anita Nikolich, Illinois (80)
16-Marie Tullos, Arkansas (80)


Gina Davis began her competitive efforts in 1999 winning the overall at a local event in San Antonio, Texas. But when she took her first steps on the NPC National stage in 2002, she finished a distant 13th. A year later she returned and bumped herself up to seventh. Now, in 2004, and distributing an impressively developed 156 pounds on her 5′ 5″ frame, the same Gina Davis, from tiny Alvin, Texas, looked like a world beater as she made her way on the prejudging stage in a 16-woman heavyweight field. Showing excellent muscle volume throughout her physique, Davis made every effort to present what could only be considered a professional level package in her muscular display and general appearance. The judges seemed to agree, as ten or the eleven on the panel placed her first. Davis’ victory was the first time a Texan had won the heavyweight class since Betty Pariso topped this group in 1996. But to dispel any myths that Davis’ overall victory might be a ‘hometown decision’, consider the fact that she is the first Texan to win the overall NPC Nationals since Lori Bowen in 1983.
Competing since 1991, second-place Lora Ottenad took her first trips to the national level in 1996 with forgettable results. But from the overall standpoint of muscular condition, the 2004 NPC Nationals edition of Lora Ottenad was her best effort to date. From Seattle, Washington, Ottenad weighed in this year at a beautifully conditioned 172 pounds, and had many wondering if this might be Ottenad’s year.
Texan Leighsa Bailey left virtually everyone wondering where she came from. Entering her first NPC Nationals, this 5′ 4″, 148-pounder from San Antonio left little in the way of doubt that she can be a major force at this level as early as next year. Chicago’s Audry Peden once again proved she is worthy of notice at the national level after placing second at the 2003 NPC Junior Nationals, followed by her strong fourth-place finish at this event.
Fifth went to Georgia’s Mimi Jabalee. The heavyweight runner-up in 2003, Jabalee, who weighed in at 162, lost much of the overall sharpness she displayed a year earlier when she competed at a considerably tighter 156. Along with the increased quality level of this class, the added poundage she carried cost her three positions.

The Results – Numbers in parenthesis are final judging scores

1-Gina Davis, Texas (5)
2-Lora Ottenad, Washington (10)
3-Leighsa Bailey, Texas (15)
4-Audry Peden, Illinois (20)
5-Mimi Jabalee, Georgia (23)
6-Nekole Hamrick, Florida (30)
7-Giana Holder, Texas (37)
8-Valerie Peart, New York (39)
9-Isabelle Turell, Florida (46)
10-Michelle Baker, Missouri (47)
11-Jody May, Texas (59)
12-Yamile Marrero, Florida (59)
13-Deniz Odar, Maryland (67)
14-Shonia Lee, Noth Carolina (68)
15-Heather Darling, New Jersey (75)
16-Ella Williams, Virginia (80)

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