Over the last couple years, I've been fortunate enough to help organize and run powerlifting, strongman, and bodybuilding contests. In helping with these different events, I've been able to meet so many incredible people and learn many valuable lessons. It keeps me motivated with my training goals to see the competitors succeed with theirs.

When I first took over the Ohio Natural Bodybuilding Federation, I had very little idea how to make the event successful. It can be stressful at times, but it is also rewarding to watch the events grow and hear the competitors talk about how they enjoyed the show. Since I've started to set goals for my events, they have become more successful. In training, we always want to be better than we were before. Applying this training philosophy to my organization has helped immensely. My goal is to show people how to run a kick ass event, whether it's powerlifting, Strongman, or bodybuilding. It actually might be easier than you think!

1. Get sponsors: Sponsors are critical for a couple of different reasons. The first is that it costs money to run an event. Getting sponsors will help pay for some of your costs. Don’t be afraid of being told no by potential sponsors. When you ask for sponsorship, only one of two things can happen. They can say yes and you get money to help run your show. Or they can say no and the only thing you are out is a phone call or an email. The other way sponsors help is by donating product to give out to your competitors. Competitors love goody bags filled with supplements, T-shirts, and whatever else you can fit in the bag. At my last bodybuilding show, I filled drawstring bags and every competitor was excited about the bags and all the supplements that were inside. Competitors feel appreciated when the promoter takes the time to put together these goody bags.

2. Have a team: As a meet director, you can’t do everything yourself. I'm very fortunate to have an awesome team helping the day of the competition. Having people set up, tear down, register competitors, judge, collect money, or anything else that might come up is a must. Always have as many people helping as possible.

3. Be on time: This is very important. If your event starts late, you’re in trouble. If your competition is supposed to start at 9:00 a.m., make sure it starts promptly at 9:00 a.m. I recently competed in a bodybuilding show that started 45 minutes late. That pretty much put a damper on my entire day. If you start late, it shows people that you aren’t very organized and don’t care that much about something that they have been getting ready for day and night for the past several months.

4. Give an experience: Don’t be the person who runs a boring meet and has rude helpers. If someone is getting ready for a 1000-lb squat, have the announcer get the crowd excited. Strength sports aren’t a golf outing. Turn the music up and let people enjoy the show. Inform your help of how things need to be done. Every competitor and person in attendance will judge your show by every part of the day. If someone gets there to register and the person in charge doesn’t know what they’re doing, competitors will get aggravated.

5. Give prizes: Don’t be afraid to try something different. I've given away Samurai swords, battle axes, bikes, tanning packages, supplements, and plenty of other things. I was even at a powerlifting meet where they gave away a bench shirt and a squat suit. If you think your competitors would rather have a medal than a bike, you're wrong. Give them something they can use or something that could make for a dinner conversation when their friends come over. This is also where the sponsors come into play. Supplement companies can donate full products for class winners or get an equipment company to donate a bench shirt for the lifter of the day. I get several emails after every show I put on about how much the competitors enjoyed the swords. Everyone has trophies of a muscular guy flexing or lifting a barbell, so be creative and people will remember your event.

6. Do a survey: Most businesses do this, but it is rarely done for competitions. You’re putting the event on for your competitors, so figure out what they liked. This gives them an opportunity to feel involved in the organization and lets you know where you need to improve. A survey only takes about ten minutes to create, so take the time and get some feedback from the people who really matter. No bodybuilding, powerlifting, or Strongman event is ever perfect, but that doesn’t mean there isn't room for improvement.

These are just a few ways you can improve your competition. Just remember that your competitors pay good money to be there, so take care of them. If you want to organize a meet, talk to people who have done it. Get as many ideas as you can from people. Get your team in order and go for it. Something will go wring on the day of the meet. It's inevitable. Just find a quick solution and move on. If you let one thing ruin your competition, people will notice and they won't come back. Listen to your competitors and work on making the event better each time.