This space was supposed to tell you about all the terrific competitors, and how much fun I had, at the 2008 North Carolina State Championships. Because of my carelessness, as in losing my wallet a few days before I was set to take off, and not having proper ID to get past security at LAX, I had to call promoter Mike Valentino and give him the bad news. Good-guy Mike said he understood, that he would get a "stand in," and that we'll do this again next year. My apologies to Mike, brother Pat and everyone at the Greensboro event for the blunder.
So, instead I trekked over to the Orange County Classic, held at Anaheim High School. Ran into several big names in the industry, per usual, but was really happy to see one guy I haven't talked to in years. Rory Leidelmeyer. Yeah, the dude some people say is the greatest bodybuilder never to earn pro status.
Rory, who was never quite the same on stage after losing the 1983 Nationals to Bob Paris, has had some tough times of late, but looked good and seemed in good spirits. A car accident, which resulted in a broken neck, and bone cancer (he says it's in remission) are two of the tough times I write about. He's now 53 (and looks 10 years younger) and still has that marvelous crop of hair I idolized when we both worked out at Astro Gym in San Gabriel (now the San Gabriel Health Club) some 25 years ago. Look for a more in-depth update on Leidelmeyer in the August News and Views.
Shawn Ray swore he was going to take me to lunch (yes, again!) after the prejudging, this time at the Cheesecake Factory near Disneyland. I should have known I'd be goofy to believe that. We run into Silvio Samuel at the contest, Shawn invites him along (as well as Stan McQuay and his girl, Yogi Avidan and other Ray friends), then tells Samuel that he should pick up the tab because he's been making so much money of late.
To my shock (and dismay), I found out as we left the place that Silvio actually did pay for all 10 of us! Shawn Ray, aka Jack Benny, strikes again.
Ray was in great spirits for two reasons: he got to keep his credit card in his pocket, and was looking ahead to the end of the month, when wife Kristie is due to deliver the duo's second child, Bella Blu Ray. Bella will be kid sister to Asia Monet, Silveo's biggest fan, according to Shawn.
Samuel told me he's looking to buy a huge home in the Hesperia area (near Apple Valley) but if he keeps running into Ray at shows, and listens to Shawn's directions to pay for everybody's lunch, Silveo may be looking at www.roommates.com.