Two Spangdahlem airmen among contenders for bodybuilding title
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A pair of bodybuilding airmen from Spangdahlem Air Base will be among the handful of Americans competing this Saturday for the title Mr. Universe in Germany.
Air Force Master Sgt. Troy Saunders and Senior Airman Justin Usery will flex their muscles in hopes of placing in the National Athletic Committee bodybuilding competition in Cruxhaven, Germany.
They believe they are the only American military servicemembers stationed in Europe competing in the tournament.
“This show is the biggest I’ve competed in,” said Usery by telephone as he and Saunders traveled to northern Germany. “It’s going to be very tough.”
Both airmen don’t give themselves much of a chance to take the title because of the caliber of competition. But they’re hoping they can creep into the top 10 or even the top five.
Roughly 100 bodybuilders from around the world will compete in the competition and many of the top performers turn professional.
Saunders, 38, has been in seven bodybuilding championships this past year. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound former Mr. Montana won his class and the overall title in the 2005 German bodybuilding championships.
“It’s extremely tough,” Saunders said of Mr. Universe. “But I like the competition and it also gives me an opportunity to meet a lot of people.”
Saunders is the superintendent of the Transportation Training Center at Spangdahlem.
Usery said he might be at a slight disadvantage considering he is coming off a recent deployment to Qatar. The 5-foot-6 airman weighs 162 pounds and has 18-inch biceps. The 29-year-old has been bodybuilding since he was 17.
He is assigned to the 52nd Security Forces Squadron.
“I’m praying for a top 10 (finish),” Usery said.