Lee Haney, Vince Taylor, Kevin Levrone, Michael Francios, Jay Cutler, Victor Martinez. Those are just some of the names that have emerged as champions since the first edition of the NPC Nationals in 1982. On Friday and Saturday a host of newcomers will attempt to join that elite club and, in the process, earn their way into the professional ranks at the 25th Annual NPC Nationals in Dallas, Texas.

The contest begins with the prejudging for men’s bodybuilding and fitness at 5:30 p.m. at the Dallas Fairmont hotel. The action continues on Saturday at 9 a.m. with prejudging for women’s bodybuilding and the fitness routines before concluding on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. for the finals for all divisions. In all, XXX pro cards will be given out in the 15 divisions, one to each class winner.

In the light-heavyweight class, high-profile amateur Peter Putnam will look to ride the momentum of his win in the light-heavies at the NPC USA Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships in July, where Putnam narrowly missed out on earning one of the two pro cards given out that night. He will have to deal with a hungry Charles Dixon, who finished second in the light-heavies at the 2006 Nationals in a somewhat controversial decision.

In the heavyweights, Brandon Curry, Shawn Crump, Adorthus Cherry Curtis Bryant should all be in the mix in what could shape up to be the deepest and most competitive class in the contest. The supers could end up being a battle of former runner-ups, as both Evan Centopani (2nd, 2006 Nationals) and Charles Hatch (2nd, 2007 USAS) will be eying their pro cards.

Stay tuned to flexonline for continued coverage of the 2007 NPC Nationals.

VIDEO — Peter Putnam training with Bob Cicherilo at Gold’s Gym.