A year ago, Melissa Boxer watched her father, Ned Boxer, compete in the OCB Pine Tree State Bodybuilding championship and set a goal to join him and become the only father-daughter tandem in the competition, and the first in Maine in 30 years.

“Seeing my dad on stage last year, all I thought is that I wanted to be up there with him next year,” said Melissa, who has lost 52 pounds since last year in preparation. Displaying her hard-earned shape on stage with other well-toned women will be, she said: “nerve-racking,” but she plans to attain her goal.

Former bodybuilding champion Skip Robinson, the master of ceremonies, said his father John and sister Penny once competed in the same contest. The Boxers will be the first father-daughter pair since then on Saturday at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center at Westbrook Middle School.

Ned, 56, is a longtime bodybuilder who will be in his 22nd contest. Melissa, 34, is a first-time competitor in the bikini championship.

Melissa Harris-Rioux, who is competing in the figure championship, explained the differences between the three women’s competitions – bodybuilding, figure and bikini.

“The figure competitors have more muscle than bikini. Bodybuilding has the most,” she said. “Bikini is more shaped and toned. The figure contestants wear heels like the bikini contestants. I did bodybuilding before I had my daughter.”

The OCB Pine Tree State Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships has more than tripled in contestants since its inception two years ago. OCB stands for Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders. It’s a natural bodybuilding organization and drug-free championship. Contestants must take a polygraph test.

“We will have 105 contestants,” said Steve Fleurant, the promoter. “We had 30 the first year and 55 last year.”

Prejudging is at 12:30 p.m. with the finals at 5:30. Women’s bodybuilding will start, then men’s bodybuilding, women’s figure and the bikini championship.

FOLLOWING HER FATHER

The Boxers train together after work. Ned is a mechanic at Texas Instruments in South Portland. Melissa works for Gorham Savings Bank in the mortgage department. They have family obligations: Ned has six children, Melissa is single with a 13-year-old daughter.

Melissa started dieting to lose weight and got serious about competing at the start of the year. They both said Saturday will be an emotional day.

“I’m super proud of this one,” said Ned as he looked at his daughter. “I’m proud of all my children. Last year she was helping me get ready for my show. She was telling me what poses looked good and what lighting looked good.

“She asked me what I thought of her competing next year and I told her she knew what she had to do. You just have to make up your mind and she did. I get choked up just talking about it.”

His daughter said it will be an amazing experience competing on the same stage and in the same show.

“I can’t wait. I can’t even think about it without getting teary- eyed,” she said.

A skinny kid in high school, Ned started lifting weights when he was 15. After high school he got more serious about it.

“I was working out here when it used to be called Lifestyle Fitness, and a guy said I had some size and that I should try bodybuilding contests,” he said. “My first thought was that I couldn’t do that, get up on stage wearing a Speedo. No way. But they talked me into it. I did well in my first show and got psyched. That was in the early 1990s and I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve always been a natural bodybuilder. I want to live to a ripe old age.”

He will compete in the over-50 masters division.

“I would like to win but there’s going to be a lot of good competition,” said Ned. “The championship was so good last year. It’s an amazing venue and the promoter runs a class act. The audience is engaged the whole time and the show really flies by. If I don’t win, that’s fine because I have the privilege of sharing the stage with my daughter.”

Though she’s in the bikini event, Melissa said she trains like a bodybuilder.

“I follow my dad’s exact routine. When I started this I was just trying to lose weight and get thin,” she said. “The first six months were the hardest because you don’t see the results immediately. Once I started seeing the results, I wasn’t turning back. I just kept going and Dad convinced me to push it to the next level. After this contest I’m going to train over the summer to do figure in the fall.”

TRAINING TO A TEE

Along with her dad, Melissa credits Robinson and his wife, Delores, who own Smart Body Fitness Consultants LLC, based at the Fitness Factory. The Robinsons are personal trainers and nutritional consultants.

“They’ve played a huge role in my diet and workouts,” said Melissa. “Skip’s daughter, Amanda, has helped me with my posing.”

“She’s been amazing,” said Delores Robinson. “Melissa has followed the program to the letter and really transformed her body for competition. The combination of diet and exercise has changed her body composition.”

In the bikini competition, Boxer said judges “aren’t looking for a lot of muscularity. They want a little bit of muscle tone. I call them hard curves.”

The Boxers will be cheered by a large family delegation. Ned’s son, Ned Jr., who is 26, has been with his father in all his competitions, helping him backstage and offering encouragement.

“I think he started when he was 6,” said his father.

Ned is glad the bikini championship is last on the schedule.

“I’ll be able to yell at the top of my lungs for my daughter,” he said.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH