Athletes have called for an explanation from organizers after podium finishers at the Southwest Championship were promised “cash prizes” and “sponsorship” but left empty-handed.
Dubbed as the “Regional of the Southwest,” the Southwest Championship was a competition run by Chaco Comrie from August 30-31 at Utah Valley University.
Former Regionals athlete Tyler Eggimann won the men’s elite division and told the Morning Chalk Up, “A lot of swag was promised for all the athletes and originally $50,000 of prizes.”
“The athletes didn’t get anything but a couple shirts and a nameplate. It’s been almost a month and I haven’t gotten any of my prizes including $700 cash, a barbell and a few other things,” he said.
It’s a similar story for Nyko Flores who won the men’s RX division: “He promised us money for all divisions and gear and no one received anything,” he said.
The Morning Chalk Up spoke to five podium athletes in both the RX and elite divisions and not one received a single prize at the event.
According to the Southwest Championship’s Competition Corner event page, the prize pool included:
- One year sponsorship for professional representation (for RX and elite, entry for Wodapalooza (WZA) or West Coast Classic 2020) or free entry into your next big comp.
- Cash Prizes (No specifics on how much for each division)
- Sponsor donations
The partnership with Loud and Live, who run WZA and West Coast Classic, wasn’t anything official and Loud and Live has made it clear they have no connections with the Southwest Championship.
Loud and Live’s Dylan Malitsky confirmed there was no official communication, that’s not to say the company wouldn’t have been open to discussing a partnership.
“They just never reached out or approached us,” Malitsky explained.
WOD Nation was also listed as one of the sponsors of the Southwest Championship and the brand’s Mark Brenwall told the Morning Chalk Up, the event was sent 100 weight belts to give away as prizes.
“I would have assumed the podium athletes would have gotten these on game day,” he said.
Nataya Fullmer finished third in the Women’s RX division: “We didn’t get anything and it was awkward,” she said.
Michelle Palmer was in the same boat after taking out the women’s Elite Division: “No prizes were given to anyone at the event … People, including myself traveled from out of the area to come,” she said.
“They had promoted it like crazy and I’m not really certain why no prizes could have been given at the event.”
Michelle also won the online qualifier, to which she did receive a small cash prize. “I’ve tried to be patient with it. There is however lots of room for growth,” she said.
The Southwest Championship – originally called the Rockwell Championship – was to be held in May however amid concerns of mismanagement sponsors began pulling out and the event was rescheduled and renamed.
A source has confirmed to the Morning Chalk Up, organizer Chaco Comrie used four separate emails with Competition Corner, in addition to changing the dates and venue.
Comrie’s apparent mismanagement has now resulted in being banned from using Competition Corner. His 2020 venture is advertising using Sweatworks.
No compensation for volunteers.
Another competitor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Morning Chalk Up volunteers at the Southwest Championship were offered perks that still haven’t been provided.
“VOLUNTEERS AT THE SOUTHWEST CHAMPIONSHIPS. Will be hooked up with unbelievable swag, due to your importance!” according to the event’s Instagram page.
“The major promises was new Nanos for all, however only about a quarter of the volunteers received their shoes,” the athlete said.
“There were a couple of paid volunteer leaders, which have not been paid and have not received any indication of when or if they will be paid for their time.”
Chaco Comrie, the event organizer, was shocked and “disappointed” by the complaints when the Morning Chalk Up took the allegations to him.
“Stuff like these shoes and prizes have been moving chess pieces but they aren’t fictitious,” he said.
“I can assure you that every competition has its flaws and the scale we had, doesn’t have a book written.”
Comri told the Morning Chalk Up every competitor has received a personal email from himself and “… upon response we would mass order the products and send them to them.”
Since the Morning Chalk Up began looking into this, competitors received a follow-up email from Mr. Comri offering a “personal update on prizes.”
“Your patience and feedback if nothing else, has inspired me and has caused me obsession for improvement,” he wrote. He assured athletes they should receive their prizes by October.
Out of respect to Mr. Comrie, we held off on publishing until his self imposed deadline. As at October 1, athletes are yet to receive their prizes or any follow-up communication.
Mr. Comri also admitted not all volunteers received the shoes as promised, blaming incorrect shipments and issues with sizing.
“This has been communicated to athletes and volunteers. But I guess a few don’t believe that it’s real,” he said.
“Not a good experience.”
That’s the overwhelming consensus of the top finishers at the Southwest Championship 2019.
“The scoring was very strange,” Nataya Fullmer said.
“People in the RX division who couldn’t do all the movements, such as ring muscle-ups, were allowed to do chest to bar and it didn’t penalize them at all.”
Athletes said workouts also changed in the lead-up and during the event.
Criticisms have also been made about the schedule, which was said to be “almost two and a half hours off” throughout the weekend.
“None of us knew when to warm up and the warm up area didn’t even have the right equipment,” Nyko Flores said.
Each athlete paid $190 to take part in the live competition. Promotion has already begun for the SouthWest Championship, next year.
The Morning Chalk Up understands the organizers are also applying to host events for USA Functional Fitness.
Tyler Eggimann said: “He (the organizer) seriously under-delivered on his last event and now he is promoting and pushing way bigger more complicated events, two events, for next year.”
“We will see what happens,” competitor Nyko Flores added.
“It would be nice if he (the organizer) finished the 2019 Southwest Championship before starting the 2020 one.”
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