September 23, 2020

BY MARK LORENTZ

Mix a little bit of beer with some mixed martial arts and add a lot of testosterone and you’ll create the basic formula for the first-ever Total Man Show.

Held at Max’s Golf Centre in Waterloo on April 5 and 6, the Total Man Show is a spinoff of the Total Woman Show held annually at Bingeman’s Conference Centre. Dana Demers, marketing and show co-ordinator for Grand River Shows, noticed how year after year, boyfriends and husbands would approach their team asking for a similar event for men.

“Last February we had a little section off to the side for the men (at the Total Woman Show.) It was a little experiment to see how well it was received and we just needed to expand the idea from there,” Demer said.
“This is a perfect location, the batting cages, the driving range; it’s already set up to be a man cave.”

Over 50 exhibitors were on hand, displaying everything a man would want on a day-to-day basis. Craft beers, lingerie models and video games are all fairly popular draws on their own, yet here they were all together in one place for an $8 admission fee.

Those attending could purchase 10 beer and food tokens for $10; the tokens could be used to try the various samples breweries and restaurants were serving. Stonehammer Brewery, the craft beer Conestoga’s own Bloom has on tap, seemed to be the favourite amongst the four microbreweries at the show.

“We just keep circling around, by the time we reach their booth again it’s time for another round,” said Stacy Purdy, who was attending the event with his brother.

The newest brewery to Waterloo Region was also in attendance, a mere eight months since opening. Block Three Brewing Co. saw this event as an opportunity to show what they have to offer the community.

“It’s great exposure for us. We take pride in finding local ingredients and utilizing what St. Jacobs has to offer,” said Graham Spence, one of the owners of Block Three Brewing Co.

What is a collection of men without pure testosterone and adrenaline flowing freely?

Testosterone was required for one individual in particular.

Craig Bongelli, 24, was representing Right to Play, a charity that utilizes sports and health education to help children in underdeveloped countries learn valuable life skills. Bongelli, along with his fiancé Alyssa Coppolino, was raising money for the charity. For every dollar milestone reached, Bongelli would attempt to deadlift a 2014 Q50 Infiniti, estimated to weigh 700 pounds.

“Aside from a few tweaks, I’m pretty fortunate I haven’t had any major injury,” Bongelli said.

The main draw for the Total Man Show was the “Fight Night” featuring both boxing and Muay Thai. This event required a separate admission fee of $30. Five hundred spectators watched 25 fights, spanning more than six hours.

“It’s kind of cool fighting in a dome, I mean it’s no SkyDome but it’s a start I guess,” said Cody Kelly, a featherweight boxer fighting out of Wasaga, Ont.

Demer estimated that over 1,500 people attended the two-day event. With St. Jacobs Farmers Market being across the street, Grand River Shows benefited from the popular tourist destination.

“We had an idea that this location would be perfect, using the market to benefit us is an added bonus,” Demer said.

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