Muscle beach

LIHUE — A sculpted staple in the bodybuilding world is returning after a couple years off.

And when the Bill Pearl Classic — a Oregon based competition before it stopped in 2012 — flexes again on Oct. 29, 2016, it’ll be on Kauai.

“I feel great,” said Jimmy Kim, owner of Kauai Muscle and Fitness in Kapaa and Lihue, who is investing to bring the competition here. “I got good sponsoring coming in. It’s good stress to have.”

There was a little added incentive to bring it here. Pearl, a former bodybuilder during the 1950s and ’60s and Mr. Universe winner, is Kim’s uncle — literally.

“He’s my uncle Bill,” Kim said. “I don’t even know what else to say.”

Pearl mentored Kim when he was “nothing, homeless, broke and starving” in Oregon. And Kim married into the family when he wed Pearl’s niece, Alison.

Later, the Kapaa High School graduate followed his heart and opened up the Kapaa gym location in 2009. After that got off the ground, a second location followed suit in Lihue in 2013.

But in 2012, the Bill Pearl Classic stopped for financial reasons, and Kim seized the opportunity to bring the show to Kauai.

The bodybuilding event will have a range in weight classes, plus a bikini-physique-figure event for a males and females.

Prices to enter the NPC contest haven’t been determined. The Classic will be a one day at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall and will act as a qualifier for USA and Junior Nationals competitions that can launch a professional career.

During the day of the event, there will be an expo where various sponsors and businesses set up booths to showcase their products or services, from supplements to clothes, for example.

Kim, a former competitor who used to squat more than 600 pounds, won’t take part in the show himself. Those days — “I won some, placed some and lost a lot.” — are done.

“Trying to run two gyms, a production company, raise a family, there’s no way I could prepare for a good show myself,” he said.

But he is incorporating a valuable lesson into what he learned from his competitive days.

He said he plans to greet and be involved with all the judges and hundreds of competitors expected from Hawaii and the Mainland — an influx he wants to become an annual affair that will benefit businesses across the island.

But he wants to make the event more personal, with more aloha, than a lot of the ones he remembers.

“I don’t want them to feel like they’re just another number on stage,” Kim said. “That’s the one thing I hated about competing — you were just another number.”

Info: kimo7020@gmail.com

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