Center Grove bodybuilder Dave Bowers promotes two of Indiana’s nine NPC competitions.
When you make short-term goals in the fitness realm, they just keep growing. For Center Grove resident Dave Bowers, it started with a goal to win a city bodybuilding show.
Then he figured he was good enough for a state show, then regional, then national. He has gotten to the top five at the NPC Junior USA national competition. He started judging these shows professionally, still competes, and now he’s hosting and promoting his own shows, too.
“I feel like I owe this sport everything,” he said. “The discipline the sport gives you, you pull that into other realms of your life: family and business. I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today if it wasn’t for bodybuilding.”
Dave grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, entering into the Marine Corps at 17 years old. There, he had a commanding officer who was a bodybuilder.
“I picked up lifting, wanting to emulate him, with zero thought of being a bodybuilder,” Dave said.
Once he was out of the Marines, returning home to Cincinnati, he met some bodybuilders at the gym. One of the men invited him to a bodybuilding show. Dave at first said no, but eventually went to watch the show. He watched the Mr. Ohio show, and left thinking he would give it a try. He prepped for a year before competing in Mr. Cincinnati.
“I won every class I was in: novice, overall junior and overall competitor,” he said. “A week later, I did a regional show and got whooped. The Cincinnati show was a high school show with small, tiny feel. The Beverly International show was big-time feel, big stage, big lights. There were 37 guys in my class. I got 12th. From there, it dug into me, passion wise.”
His goal was to return to that regional show, Beverly International in Kentucky, and win. He did just that in 2011. Since he started his competitive bodybuilding journey in 2005, he has won 13 class and overall titles, including being named Mr. Indiana in 2016.
Working full-time as a sales manager R/VP for Road Runner Freight, serving the company’s eastern sales U.S. territory, Dave spends much of his time traveling.
Dave competes every other year. He’s in an off season currently, still training five days a week. He trains six to seven days a week during competition season. With his busy schedule, it’s not the physical training that’s tough for him. It’s dietary. He preps all of his food. While traveling for work, the hotels need to have a kitchen so he can cook his own food. He says his family is supportive and helps him with the meal prep, packing and more. He and his wife of 15 years, Bethany, have four children.
Dave has served as a judge for the National Physique Committee (NPC) in Indiana for nearly five years now. Last year, he decided to become a promoter, hosting two of NPC’s nine shows in Indiana: Midwest Battle of the Champions and the Indiana State Championships. These shows are national qualifiers. The first show he promoted was in April of 2016.
As a promoter, Dave said he likes to use his own history and experiences and incorporate the best parts into the shows.
“I’m building the show I’ve always dreamed of being involved in, taking segments of my previous bodybuilding competitions to make it special for the athletes,” he said. “I have specialty awards: best poser, best conditioning, most muscular and best new competitor award. I’ll get personalized tank tops, to help amp you up for the show. We offer free posing clinics. I call every athlete, to make it personal, to make sure they don’t have any questions and to make sure their anxiety is down. My job as a promoter is to make sure their expectations are met.”
The first Midwest Battle of the Champions that Dave hosted had 112 athletes participate. This April, the show had 153 athletes.
“The talent was insane,” Dave said.
The show is structured into three parts: judging in the morning, an evening show and then finals, where the participants show off for the audience and the awards are presented. Dave said his family comes from Cincinnati to help with the event, supporting his efforts by wearing ‘Team Bowers’ shirts.
The next show, the 2017 NPC Indiana State Championships, will take place Aug. 12 at the Egyptian Room in the Murat Theater. There will be a free posing clinic for competitors on Aug. 5. Those interested can find the registration form at davebowersproductions.com.
Recently, Dave announced that Indiana will have its own International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Indy Pro show next year, March 31, 2018. The show, a worldwide qualifier, will have Men’s Open Bodybuilding class, 212 Bodybuilding and Bikini class and will continue to add other divisions as the show grows. This makes Dave the seventh North American promoter for open body building and 212 body building.
As for his own competitive side, Dave will compete again in 2018. He intends to go to the 2018 AAU North American competition. At his own fall show, he plans to guest pose.
“I’m looking to amp it up next year,” he said, later continuing: “But at the end of the day, if I was to quit this sport of bodybuilding which will never happen, I’m happy.”