Ask Benny: Where’s the bodybuilding contest?

Dear Benny,
In previous years I attended a Bodybuilding 101 contest here at Penn. Is there one scheduled for this year? If so, where & when? If not, what happened to it?

—Pumped Up

Dear Muscle Maven,
The contest you’re referring to is the Mr. and Ms. Penn bodybuilding competition, a popular campus tradition since 1994.

Organized by Assistant Women’s Track and Field Coach Tony Tenisci, the contest is used as a fundraiser for the women’s track team, and typically sells out before the doors open.

As well as raising money for the women’s track team, the contest, which is open only to Penn students, also serves an educational purpose, according to Coach Tenisci.

In the two months running up to the show, he runs clinics to help prepare participants, many of whom are novices, in the basics of diet, workouts and posing.

Though the bodybuilding extravaganza is usually held in late October or early November, Tenisci reports this year time conflicts have forced him to postpone the contest until the spring.

If last year’s contest is any indication, you can expect to see some impressive pecs on display. Ben Studebaker, a graduate student in the Dental School, won the title of Mr. Penn, while Erin Rhoades, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, took the title of Mrs. Penn. Photos of Studebaker and Rhoades, as well as other information about the 2003 event,can be seen at

Tenisci, by the way, is also known for creating and developing the sport of women’s hammer throwing in America.

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Originally published on December 9, 2004