Pumping iron and getting gains: OCB Colonial Open returns to Williamsburg

Staff writer

For some, working out in the gym is a chore, but for others, it’s a way of life. For those who live for gains, thrill from seeing the weight amounts increase, or just want a chance to show off their hard-earned muscles, there are bodybuilding events like the OCB Colonial Open.

Hosted in Williamsburg each June since 2016, the Organization of Competition Bodies’ Colonial Open will draw fitness buffs from across the state June 29. A natural bodybuilding contest, meaning all contestants are drug tested, the OCB Colonial Open has categories including figure, physique, bodybuilding, classic physique and bikini, and is open to men and women of all ages.

For Clark Serfass, a personal trainer who has competed in events like the OCB Colonial Open, this is when all the hard work and long hours in the gym pay off.

“Bodybuilding events are a testament to one’s willpower, you have an opportunity to see men and women who have dedicated themselves to disciplined lifestyles in the pursuit of physical perfection,” said Serfass. “To see people on that stage, or to be on that stage, you get one of those moments where people get to see the hard work pay off and dreams come true.”

For him, that dream began when he looked up to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a boy and has taken him from being a nationally ranked wrestler in high school to serving in the Marine Corps. What began as hero worship became a lifestyle.

“There things in life you can’t change, but things you can change. Your body — from the food you eat to the work you do — it will reflect what you do,” said Serfass. “You only get one body, why not work to make it your very best?”

For powerlifter Khourey Royal, a gold medalist in last year’s Virginia Commonwealth Games who holds the national deadlift record at 601 lbs., the draw is community. Currently training for the U.S. Powerlifting Association’s mid-Atlantic regionals and nationals, he says it helps with competing and connecting.

“You want to see how you stack up against your peers, but also want to network, see what they are doing that you aren't, as well as follow one another to keep up with training,” said Royal. “It's easier to train when someone is peeking in on you.”

It not only lets athletes strut their stuff but lets others see the sport and if it’s something that interests them or even just learn a few workout tips.

“I think people who come watch are interested in either rolling into that avenue and just need a push, or they're looking for more knowledge or support,” said Royal. “It’s like anything else in the gym, the hardest part is getting started, but it only gets easier.”

Want to attend?

The OCB Colonial Open is June 29 at Crosswalk Community Church, 7575 Richmond Road. The event starts at 10 a.m. with pre-judging for the men’s events and continues until 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the door, $40 for adults and $20 for kids.

Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email sean.korsgaard@vagazette.com, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.

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