The NPC Emerald Cup is back! One of the first major competitions of the year, held every April for nearly 40 years, marks the unofficial kickoff to the Pacific Northwest bodybuilding contest season.
Every year, hundreds of competitors and coaches flock to Bellevue, Washington, to step on that iconic Emerald stage and compete for a variety of titles while spectators take in the awesome fitness spectacle that first put this show on the map.
What to Expect
In addition to being the nation's largest NPC National Qualifier, this weekend also represents a return to the stage for competitors who were sidelined by last year's lockdowns or who were preparing for their first show.
For others, the 2021 Emerald Cup represents a different type of new opportunity—specifically, the new Wellness division. Wellness is designed to hit a "sweet spot" between the other current categories: a little more muscle (particularly in the glutes and lower body) than Bikini, a little less lean and defined than Women's Figure or Physique.
Make no mistake, though: The established competitive categories will also be well represented, with everything from classic physique and women's bodybuilding to bikini and men's bodybuilding. With over 600 competitors all competing for gold, this promises to be an action-packed weekend.
A Return to Form
No matter the results, this weekend will be a triumph for all who saw their dreams cut short last year.
"Emerald Cup 2020 was going to be my first show," explains Jake Levin, a men's Classic Physique competitor from Washington. "I was disappointed when it was canceled, but it was also an opportunity to take another year to grow and get ready for the stage."
All competitors know just how mentally and physically exhausting a first contest prep can be. When you have to delay your competition date for an entire year, staying focused and on-track is even harder. But, as Levin remarked, "the greater the test, the greater the reward."
How to Watch the Event
As with any big production, you can livestream the event to stay on top of the action as the competitors battle it out for the gold.
For a full a breakdown of the scheduled events for this weekend's competition, check out the Emerald Cup's website. Looking for someone in particular? You can view the complete list of competitors on their website, too.