This weekend the Europa Expo came to the Dallas Convention Center, and we went in and weeded through all the whey isolates and CrossFit challenges to find the weirdest things to report back to you. Here are the top five things that made us go, "What?"
Megatron World Wrestling Championship One of the busiest sections in the martial arts territory was the Megatron World Wrestling Championship, an area marked off by a banner with the head Decepticon himself in profile. There's no rival Optimus League, or even an Autobots Events Expo. The event itself was pretty straightforward wrestling but Megatron is a perplexing choice. The robot isn't a villain that the whole world finds endearing, like Darth Vader. He's just an evil robot. But I guess there's something appealing about having him as a standard: If you can beat all of your opponents then you're human equivalent of a fighter jet with shoulder-mounted canons.
Bodybuilding Soundtrack The Europa Expo was also the site of the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness bodybuilding competition. For the female portion, women who looked like they could crack walnuts between their pecs wore sequined bikinis and strutted across an Egyptian-themed stage. Each contestant had her own dance number, which consisted of moving from one exaggerated flexing pose to another. Every contestant was equal parts impressive and fierce, but the intimidation factor really goes down when your soundtrack is Adele. The breakup queen makes tears fall, not sweat. Who listens to "Somebody Like You" and thinks, "Man, I really need to dead-lift right now"? Besides, if Adele was as ripped as these women, she probably would never have made 21. She just would have pounded her ex into the ground.
The Boldest Mascot Ever At the concession line near the martial arts events there was a tiny, saggy-costumed Po from Kung Fu Panda (Po, for those of you unfamiliar, is the kung fu panda referenced in the title). The kid inside this costume was bold, dashing up to people from behind and tapping them on the shoulder before yoking them in unsolicited hugs. Everyone was taller than this panda, and short of an NRA convention this might be the last place you'd want to surprise anyone with physical contact.
The Muscley Bazaar I was prepared for all manner of flimflam and gimmicks when I walked in. The product lines plainly titled "SHRED" and "RUSH" and "SURGE" didn't surprise, nor did all the stands that had names with "-FLEX" at the end or "BIO-" at the front. But the vendors slowly seduced me as their wares got more bizarre. Like frankincense supplements, which fight arthritis AND promote dental health, y'all, or the topical vasodilator, a cream that increases how much you sweat, completely contradicting every personal hygiene ad ever made. Even the hot pink Gym Bunny line started to look appealing after a while. In my weakened state I may even have picked up a shirt that says "I [Butt] Squats."
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The Black Ops Inflatable Kids Zone This is not a terrible place to be a kid. There's nonstop activity, a lot of it borderline violence to watch, plenty of smoothie samples in varying degrees of chalkiness everywhere and even a designated Kids' Zone. There's a (freaking awesome) rock-climbing wall, a giant inflatable shark slide and, head-tiltingly, an inflatable "Black Ops" play area. It's not much: You crawl through an inflatable brick wall into an inflatable building and then slide down through inflatable sandbags. It's not the presence of a black ops-themed fun-bounce that's weird. What's weird is how easy it is to get through. Where's the inflatable razor wire, inflatable landmines and real German shepherds? I wouldn't trust a mission to any kid who's made it through this thing alive.
And Finally ... A few animated GIFs to give you a better idea of what you missed.