GALLERY: Contestants ‘killing it’ at fitness event on the Natchez Bluff

Published 2:13 pm Saturday, April 6, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Contestants of MDP Fitness’s inaugural Open Fitness Competition on Saturday were showing off muscles as they carried heavy weights across the grass in the Natchez Bluff Park.

Events included thrusters with Olympic barbells; 160-meter sprints; devil presses with dumbbells; burpees, and the Farmer’s Carry using dumbbells or kettlebells with varying categories scaled to the age and fitness level of participants.

“She’s killing it,” organizer Fred Marsalis Jr. said, referring to Ally Grace McGehee, a cross-country athlete at Cathedral who also participated in Saturday’s activities.

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The competition raises funds for the MDP Reach initiative, which aims to “educate people from all walks of life on the importance of overall health and wellness through fitness and nutritional guidance while advocating for the importance of prioritizing mental health,” Marsalis said.

The proceeds will help provide transportation to special needs adolescents to free fitness programs at the MDP Fitness gym on 204 D’evereux Drive. A gala starting at 8 p.m. at the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel Ballroom supports scholarships to a senior at each of 9 area high schools including Cathedral, Natchez High School, Vidalia High School, Monterey High School, Ferriday High School, Concordia Parish Academy, Delta Charter School, Adams County Christian School and Jefferson County High School.

When asked if she did indeed “kill it,” McGehee said, “I guess I did.” She drained a bottle of water to soothe a burning throat she had after both sprinting and carrying weights across the bluff.

“I did 12 thrusters, ran over there and back, 10 devil’s presses, ran there and back, and then 10 burpees, ran there and back and did the farmer’s carry with 40 pounds.”

This Sunday, the event continues with the Sunday Funday Food and Cigar Festival on the Natchez Bluff, in which vendors, free events and activities for all age groups support overall health, mental health, education and fun.

Learn more about the weekend at