Columbus, Ohio hosted the 5th annual PCS Pole Championship and the 4th annual PCS Pole Open at the Arnold Sports and Fitness Festival March 2-4th, 2018. This weekend has been an annual highlight for me since 2015, but 2018 marked my first year as a competitor and my first year taking photographs on behalf of Bad Kitty.
Friday kicked off with the PCS Pole Open Women’s Advanced Finals. Women from around the world competed for the title and for the opportunity to compete again later the same day in the PCS Pole Championship. The competitors were even treated to a visit from Arnold himself when he stopped in during run-throughs to take a few selfies. At the end of the competition, Eunji Jeong took first place, Ann Jennings took second, and Sabrina Madsen rounded out the top three.
Immediately following the Women’s Advanced Finals were the Women’s Intermediate Finals. This was a new category for the Open this year, and a hugely successful one at that. Courtney Keller, who had won in the novice category the previous year, took first place, followed by Elixia and Kayla Ryan.
On Friday the competition closed with the PCS Pole Championship, which featured athletes from Korea, Africa, the UK, Australia, and from across the U.S. The quality of tricks and artistry in this competition rises every year. I can’t even begin to imagine what the competitors will be doing in years to come. Eunji Jeong took home her second win of the day, followed by Anna Von Hoyningen Huene, and Wren Amelia.
After a jam-packed Friday, we returned on Saturday for the Women’s Novice Finals. As a first time competitor with notoriously sweaty hands, I was extra grateful for the pole cleaners, who looked amazing decked out in their Bad Kitty PoleFit®. The outfits even appeared to glow under the blue lights of the stage. Andria Ashley took first place, Gigi Marie came in second, and Amanda Okolo came in third.
Although I was super busy with competing on Friday, I did have the opportunity to walk down to the concourse stage and watch some of the pole fitness demonstrations, including a performance by PCS Championship athlete Svetlana Semenishcheva. The concourse stage was in the middle of all of the action at the Arnold Sports Festival, and it was a great way for people to discover the sport of pole fitness and see Bad Kitty clothing in action.
After volunteering Friday and competing Saturday, I was able to enjoy Sunday as a spectator. I kicked off the day watching some concourse performances by PCS Championship athletes Wren Amelia, Libby Ives, and Hannah Rose and PCS Open Intermediate winner Courtney Keller. I love sitting in the crowd during these performances and watching pole newbies realize that pole fitness is a real sport.
The final two categories of the PCS Pole Open were also decided on Sunday. First up were the men. This category has seen a lot of growth since the initial Pole Open, and the four men who competed this year wowed the crowd with their raw strength and expressiveness. Kyle Halischuck won the event, followed by Acro Brandon, and Chris Arcand.
Closing the Open were the Masters Ladies. Every year I see more and more ladies entering this division of the Open. When it comes to this competition, take what you think you know about women over 40 and throw it out the window. These women were fierce. Adrienne Holtzlander won the event with a Lady Gaga inspired routine. Kristen Benney and Devon Crumay came in second and third.
I closed the weekend by posing in my Bad Kitty PoleFit®outfit with one my pole cleaner friends by the famous Arnold statue. Needless to say, 2018 will be a tough year to top but I’m excited to see what 2019 brings for the PCS Open and PCS Pole Championship.
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