The Item: Contest Results, New IFBB Pro League Cards, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: Panexce Pierre won the Light-Heavyweight Class and Overall title at the 2011 NPC Team Universe Bodybuilding, Figure, Fitness, Bikini & Physique Championships in Teaneck, New Jersey. For his win, Pierre was awarded an IFBB Pro card and entry into professional bodybuilding's competitive ranks. Durlan Castro earned his pro card by winning the Masters 35+ Heavyweight Class and Masters 35+ Overall titles. The dream of turning pro struck Castro when he started training in 1984 at the age of 18. "I said maybe one day I could be a professional bodybuilder," recalls Castro. "That's all I wanted -- to see at the bottom of my list of initials IFBB Pro."

The "So What?": To take the Overall title, new IFBB Pro Panexce Pierre defeated the other Open-Division weight-class winners, continuing the recent trend reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report" of Light-Heavies winning the entire show -- including 2010 winner IFBB Pro Vaughan Ettienne (Light-Heavyweight) and 2009 winner IFBB Pro Wendell Floyd (Light-Heavyweight) -- which started after 2008 winner IFBB Pro Tim Martin (Heavyweight) claimed the Team Universe Overall crown.

Because qualifying for professional status in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness was a "bucket list" item for new IFBB Pro Durlan Castro, he celebrated an accomplishment and made a retirement announcement in the same breath. "Now I'm happy. I can move on and close that chapter of my life. I got my pro card and now I'm going to ride off into the sunset." Castro had been preparing for the 2011 NPC Masters National Bodybuilding Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (July 23) but then dropped out of contention two months prior. Castro found out the Team Universe event would be issuing pro cards only two weeks before the contest and jumped at the opportunity, because he lives in the New York area. He suddenly got in peak contest shape in just 11 days.



Andrew Oye's Verdict: Reportedly, a whopping 44 IFBB Pro cards were up for grabs in the various male and female categories. The growing competitor count and newly added divisions means the Team Universe contest will continue to churn out a "universe" of new pros who aspire to compete at Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend and the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships against top-level athletes like IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, IFBB Pro Phil Heath, IFBB Pro Branch Warren, IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf and IFBB Pro Ronny Rockel.

Dr. Durlan Castro looked sharp with good muscle fullness, sporting impressive legs with flaring quad sweeps. Unfortunately, after 15 years of competing, he may not get to test his pro card on a pro stage. "Anyone who knows bodybuilding knows it's a selfish sport," he admits. "To be at a certain level, you gotta be selfish. It's a bad thing, but it's a good thing. The families take the burden of it. I promised [my wife] this was it, no more after this. I just wanted my pro card. This was meant to be because this opportunity came about." A father of two sets of twins, Castro carries a full load as a chiropractor and part-time instructor of Active Release Technique at various medical centers and facilities like the WWE Performance Center, treating athletes, pro wrestlers, and former patients like IFBB Pro Ernie Taylor and 6-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Dorian Yates. 

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