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Annual Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach contest kicks off at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Venice Beach, CA: July 4, 2012 - Contestants on stage with members of the U.S. Airforce Honor Guard to sing the National Anthem during the Venice Beach body building pageant on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.  (Julie Platner/KPCC)
Venice Beach, CA: July 4, 2012 - Contestants on stage with members of the U.S. Airforce Honor Guard to sing the National Anthem during the Venice Beach body building pageant on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. (Julie Platner/KPCC)
Julie Platner / KPCC

Muscle Beach, on the Venice Boardwalk, hosted more than the usual beef Wednesday. July 4 brings in the annual Independence Day Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach contest, and amateurs and pros alike were out in force.

The contest itself, offering bragging rights to the Mr and Mrs. titles, was free and open to amateur athletes only. Contestants began lining up at 7:30 a.m. to sign up for a slot.

For CJ Hersch, who opted for a shiny blue bikini, this was her first contest. Shannon Wallace, in shiny purple, has only been bodybuilding four months.

The two were competing against longtime musclemen and women like Jutta Vosgerau and Thorsten Vosgerau, who've come from Germany for the contest for the past eight years.

Also amongst those getting lubed up for competition was Lauren Davies, whose daughter Lisa came out to support her mom. Lisa said she was proud of her mom for, at 50 years old, being in the best shape of her life.

As of press time, no winners had been announced.