Local bodybuilder heads to Mr. Universe in England

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FORT ST. JOHN, BC — Todd Payette, a local bodybuilder, will be heading to Mr. Universe in England this weekend, his third time competing in the exclusive competition.

“[It is] one of the most prestigious titles anyone in bodybuilding can earn or compete in,” Payette said.

“And in that 70+ year history, there has only been one Canadian to walk away with a Mr. Universe title from then on.”

Payette qualified by winning the Canadian Championship in 2021. This will be his third Mr. Universe competition.

“I’ve actually done the Mr. Universe two other times, placing fourth on one occasion and seventh on one occasion,” he said.

Payette became the third Canadian in history to place in the top five at Mr. Universe when he placed fourth.

To qualify for the competition, one must be at least a national level champion or have already participated.

“I would love to win it. It would make me only the second in Canada to do so,” Payette said.

“I’m doing my best to try to bring home a Mr. Universe title to Canada and Fort St. John.”

Last year, Payette published a book called Shoulder down. It details Payette’s tragic and troubled past after the death of her father and how bodybuilding saved her life.

A documentary based on the book was filmed and released under the same name this year.

“Very young, unfortunately, I lost my father. He had committed suicide, and I was not quite six years old, and unfortunately, I found his body,” he explained.

“Afterwards things got a bit out of hand for me as you can imagine. When I was 16 I was homeless and bodybuilding came into my life and really helped me find direction. .

The documentary follows his journey to the Canadian Championships, with filming done in Fort St. John, Winnipeg, where he is from, and Toronto, where the Canadian Championships were held.

He says he grew up in a tough neighborhood and was looking for heroes and found it in the comics and, later, in Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“And I thought, that’s what I want to do. I want to be like that Arnold guy,” Payette said.

He was drawn to the weight room and fell in love with it, eventually leading him to Mr. Universe in England.

Payette’s journey to her third Mr. Universe wouldn’t be possible without the support of Jenni Briscoe, the owner of The Gym in Fort St. John.

“She’s been such a great support, and she’s done so much for the community to encourage health and fitness and to help me prepare for Mr. Universe,” he said.

“This woman busts her ass all the time for everyone, and she should be mentioned because she’s absolutely awesome.”

Mr. Universe will take place on November 5 in Bradford, England.

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