Cutler, West Coast Classic Set for June 26

/ Posted 06.04.2010

We’re in the seventh inning stretch for the first NPC AmiLean West Coast Classic; yup, June 26 is right around the corner, and the entries are starting to roll in at a much faster pace. Deadline for entries is June 19, before the late fee kicks in. So, do us both a favor and get it done now!

This will be an interesting year: new national qualifier, new name (formerly Junior Cal) and new venue (El Monte High School Auditorium). But, don’t be scared off–go to the contest website ( and all your queries will be answered. I hope.

Of course, the star attraction for the evening will be three-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, who last season became the first-ever person to lose, then regain the Sandow trophy. Talked to Jay a while back, and he said he’s feeling great, and looking forward to meeting all his fans at the event. Said he’d probably be carrying about 285 pounds on his 5’9″ frame on the 26th.

Top USA contender PD Devers not only has one of the best physiques in the game, but ranks right at the top when it comes to ranking electrifying performers. You tell me if he belongs in the “elite” class after Devers displays his talents at the show. What I really can’t wait for, though, is the debut of Asia Monet Ray, the 4-year-old fitness phenom who says Sugar Shawn Ray is her pop. So, Shawn will be at the contest, natch–as well as many other icons of the industry.

Okay, ’nuff for now. Keep checking back for updates.

Over, under, and out.

Filed Under: Contests, Jr Cal, News

Mean Teen Muscle Machine

/ Posted 02.08.2010

Filed Under: Jr Cal, People, Video

Welcome, West Coast Classic

/ Posted 10.14.2009

New National qualifier. New venue. New date. Good-bye Junior Cal, hello West Coast Classic. Made another trip to El Monte High School on Monday, and shook on an agreement with the staff; the date of June 26 is reserved for my event in 2010. With the okay from Los Angeles District Chairman Jaguar Jon Lindsay, I sent in my sanction fee and paper work to the NPC office Tuesday.

Why the move from Rosemead High School, which everyone enjoyed so much last year? A two-year renovation project is prohibiting the school from renting out the auditorium until the end of 2011 but, as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. Literally, in this case.

El Monte High is only three miles east of Rosemead High, is in the same school district, and recently completed a multi-million dollar face-lift. Art deco style, a la Venice High School. The auditorium is very nice and cozy, seats 1,000 and is easy to get to, with plenty of free, up close parking. Although I’ll know more after the event takes place, I’d say it will be every bit as pleasing as Rosemead was. Will keep the same host hotel, actually—the Rosemead Comfort Suites.

So, let’s get to the summary. The NPC West Coast Classic’s inaugural Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini shebang, June 26, 2010, El Monte High School. My first National qualifier. And, if you noticed that the event will be a week later than usual, congrats for having a keen eye. Moves it away from high school graduation week, Father’s Day weekend, and the start of summer vacation. And, the show won’t take place the same day as the Junior Nationals, so some of the media members—and contestants–who normally trek to Chicago, will be able to be a part of the event.

Oh, by the way, on the subject of “new.” Our “new” Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler, has already agreed to return as my featured guest poser. Talk about icing on the cake, eh?

For updates on the exciting news, go to my new contest site at

Filed Under: Jr Cal, News

The Swami says, “over, under and out!”

/ Posted 06.29.2009

Click here for complete results, scorecards and photos, or go to Over, under and out.

To see all videos from the 2009 Junior Cal, click HERE

Filed Under: Contests, Jr Cal, NPC, Video

Tad’s (and Team’s) Terrific Weekend

/ Posted 06.24.2009

img_5258As Tad Inoue puts it, “It was the greatest weekend of my life.” And, I was glad to be a part of it. Tad, AKA “The Diet Coach”, and 11 of his clients, were at my final Junior Cal Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships last weekend at the Rosemead High School Auditorium.  My District Chairman, Jaguar Jon Lindsay, has granted me a National Qualifier, starting next season. Am working on the new name right now-“West Coast Classic” is my first choice. Stay tuned for updates on the show, and its title.
Obviously, “Team Tad” played a major role in the recording of my second highest number of competitors ever-in total, 80 signed up, 77 ended up on stage, with 44 more crossovers.
In addition to four first place finishes, all 11 landed in the top five. Danny Siebert, in rock hard condition, cruised to the Light Heavyweight, and Overall crowns in the Unlimited Men’s category; Jenna Boyer won Figure B, with Jami DeBernard taking both the Figure C and Masters 35+ Tall class categories. And, Boyer and DeBernard finished second and third, respectively, behind Sunny Daye in the hotly contested Figure Overall battle.
But, Inoue’s biggest moment was yet to come. As Tad was scrambling around at the end of the show, handing out his well wishes, brother Asao (they are of Japanese/Hawaiian decent) ran up to him and said “Bro, your wife is going into labor-we have to run.” Since Tad’s wife, Bern,  wasn’t due for about two weeks-July 3 was the target date-this was quite startling news.
“Asao has gotten a call from his wife, who was with my wife  and they were heading for the hospital at that moment,” Tad says. “So I ran on stage and yelled to my competitor Danny (Siebert) that we had to run because I was going to have a baby!
“My brother and I booked on down the freeway and made it Temecula in about 45 minutes. I got to the hospital, only to have to wait until the next morning-Father’s Day, no less!-to received my beautiful baby girl. Her name is Kiana Bernadette Inoue, and she weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. What a wonderful Father’s Day blessing!”
Since this was my first year at Rosemead High (the first 10 events were held at Pasadena City College), I entered the weekend with some anxiety, but the show went extremely well.
And, “Team John Balik” was represented very well too-by yours truly, JB himself, Roland Balik, who came all the way in from Delaware just to see the show (okay, he was out here for Father’s Day, a video production seminar and a car show, but he was still at the contest!), Ruthless Ruth Silverman and, of course, ace photog Merv. In addition, IM correspondent Dave Liberman, and girlfriend Linda Reho, a top NPC Figure competitor in her own right, came all the way from Cleveland, Ohio, to support the contest.
Event ID 848During the prejudging, Roland shot video, while Ruthless and I conducted about 10 interviews. The most entertaining was my dialogue with Katie the Dog, the 14-year-old, foot-long Toy Pincher who made the trip from Dallas, Texas, with mother June, to help out with the event. Katie was sharp as a whip with her responses, too-check out this classic video, as well as all the others, at the site soon.
Over, under, and out!


It’s a Dandy, er, Danny and Sunny Daye at 2009 Jr Cal Championships

/ Posted 06.22.2009

pictured, left to right: Dan Kammer, Sunny Daye, promoter Lonnie Teper, Danny Siebert, Elena Andrade, Anthony Pomponio


Overall Winner
1. Danny Seibert
1. Devon Schwan
2. Andrew Fernandez
3. Ricky Wilson
4. Brandon Miller
Light Heavyweight
1. Danny Seibert
2. Daniel Kammer
3. John King
4. Drae Moon
5. Joseph Finamore
1. Anthony Pomponio
2. Michael Bautista
3. Norman Reyes
4. Lorenzo Reynaga
5. Jason Golumbeskie
1. Carmelo Lopez
2. Billy Vickery
3. Art Shahnazarian
4. James Anderson
5. Robert Chan
Paul Howe
Christian Herrera
Novice Overall
Novice Heavyweight
1. Daniel Kammer
2. Devon Schwan
3. Paul Estrada
4. John King
5. Ricky Wilson
David Martin
Joseph Finamore
David Buhre
Brandon Miller
Richard Butch
Drae Moon
Novice Middleweight
1. Anthony Pomponio
2. Michael Bautista
3. Lorenzo Reynaga
4. Jason Golumbeskie
5. Marlon Ingram
Reginald Johnson
Nick Herring
George Baca
Novice Lightweight
1. Bob Yamasaki
2. Robert Chan
3. JC Anguiano
4. Brandon Gill
5. Paul Howe
Collegiate Overall
1. Anthony Pomponio
Collegiate Heavyweight
1. Andrew Fernandez
2. Drae Moon
3. David Buhre
Collegiate Lightweight
1. Anthony Pomponio
2. Lorenzo Reynaga
1. Andrew Fernandez
2. Alan Manning
3. Daniel Arias
1. Daniel Kammer
2. Daryl Lawler
3. John King
4. Brandon Miller
5. Richard Butch
6. Ruben Lopez
7. Paul Howe
1. Bob Yamasaki
2. Loel Tubbs
3. Mitch Lewall
4. Paul Howe
1. Jim Arrington
Guest Poser
1. Jay Cutler


1. LeeAnn Edwards
2. Janette Leo
3. Allegra Kholey


Overall Winner
1. Sunny Daye
Class A
1. Sunny Daye
2. Lorna Cavin
3. Nicole Jimenez
4. Monica Paredes
5. Shelly Campbell
Class B
1. Jenna Boyer
2. Tracey Gaither
3. Gloria Lifsshutz
4. Crystal West
5. Taylor Hansen
6. Kerryne Brown
Kimberly Zengerle
Janielle Leslie
Eve Overland
Class C
1. Jami DeBernard
2. Anna Cervantes
3. Kristen Genzano
4. Cori Whiting
5. Kristie Tatum
Lucy Cuellar
Allison Evans
Joy Blitz
Class D
1. Michelle Bazen
2. Maria Pernia
3. Kristy Stabler
4. Cris Wilkes
Collegiate Figure
Teen Figure
1. Taylor Hansen
35+ Overall
1. Sunny Daye
35+ Short
1. Sunny Daye
2. Nicole Jimenez
3. Crystal West
4. Donna Sweat
5. Shelly Campbell
35+ Tall
1. Jami DeBernard
2. Anna Cervantes
3. Kristen Genzano
4. Kristie Tatum
5. Cris Wilkes
6. Lucy Cuellar
1. Tracey Gaither
2. Lorna Cavin
3. Gloria Lifsshutz
4. Jackie Ambrose
5. Cris Wilkes
6. Lucy Cuellar


Overall Winner
1. Elena Andrade
Class A
1. Elena Andrade
2. Amy Roberts
3. Kelly Vaupel
4. Michelle Sanchez
Class B
1. Jennifer Culver
2. Veronica Gorud
3. Suzanne Choplin

Filed Under: Contests, Jr Cal

Stars to Shine Bright at Junior Cal

/ Posted 06.07.2009

804mp18411Former champions Leo Delaine, Brianne Shaw, Alex Azarian and Andre Bueno (and, who knows, probably others) will be back on stage at the latest version of my annual NPC Junior California Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships less than two weeks away.

If you are reading this blog, you don’t have to ask me the date or site of the contest-hell, there are banners all over the site, not to mention the event poster! Okay, for those of you majoring in Braille, the show is being held at a brand new location, the sublime Rosemead High School Auditorium (had to move it from Pasadena City College), and takes place Saturday, June 20.

No, Delaine, Shawn and Bueno, last year’s winners in the Men’s Unlimited, Figure and Collegiate and Teen categories, respectively, aren’t putting on the competition suits again. Either is Azarian-at least at this competition, but all will be there supporting the event, and will be a part of the awards ceremony in the second half of the contest.

As my website ( clearly points out, prejudging starts at 11 am, finals at 6 pm sharp. All information regarding entry forms, ticket prices, directions, host hotel data and more can be obtained from the site, so do it right.

Oh yea, some guy named Cutler will be the featured guest poser. Jay’s goin’ about 290 these days, and is in pretty darn good condition to boot three months out from his attempt to regain the Mr. O crown.

And, former Junior Cal Figure champ Sherlyn Roy, who moved into the pro ranks this season, and Michael O’Hearn, AKA “Titan” of “American Gladiator Fame”, will be in the lobby joining Cutler and others greeting their legions of fans.

As always, of course, there will be plenty of surprises at the event, which is always filled with many of the industry’s biggest names; last year 20 pros were in attendance.

Even famed IRON MAN photographers/videographers Roland Balik and Merv will be in the house-Roland is coming all the way out from his Deleware digs to check out the action for the first time. Hopefully, he is bringing his Pop, IM Publisher John Balik, with him. Another ace on the IM staff, Ruthless Ruth Silverman, will be in her usual seat in the audience.

Diamond Dave Liberman and his lady, top NPC Figure star Linda Reho, are flying in from Cleveland, Ohio to help with the contest, as is former pro figure competitor June Munroe, making the trek from Houston, Texas. And don’t forget Ron “Yogi” Avidan and Mark Mason, who will be displaying their photo and video talents once again.

Check back for updates…but, the entry forms, and the celebrity lists,  are rolling in, so be there or be square, dig it?


Flex Wheeler Classic

/ Posted 07.16.2008
Shawn, Flex, Kevin & LT

2008 Flex Wheeler Classic

Made my first trip to Minnesota since 2002 over the weekend, hosting the Flex Wheeler Classic, which moved from Fresno, California to Minneapolis-St. Paul this season, the hometown of Team Flex Wheeler member Jason Gilmore.
So, who do I run in to as I was getting ready to board my early morning Flight out of LAX? Silvio Samuel, coming off his July 5 victory at the Houston Pro. Silvio told me AMI’s Robin Chang phoned him a day earlier and asked him to fill in as the guest poser (Gustavo Badell was ill and, according to Wheeler, Victor Martinez had not contacted him since the Arnold Classic, so Flex needed somebody special, and in a hurry).

Since Samuel always stays within an earshot of contest condition most of the year, it was a superb move by Chang in helping out one of his closest friends (Robin was Flex’s Best Man at Wheeler’s wedding a decade back). And, darn if Samuel didn’t pick up the dinner tab on Friday night night for me and Shawn Ray to boot. You are a good man, Silvio. Like Shawn was going to pay the bill?

Kevin Levrone also flew in for the show, and it was a blast bringing Wheeler, Ray and Levrone on stage at the finals, three dudes who went at it, pose for pose, on the pro stage for years (also, a fairly uknown Kevin beat Wheeler at the 1991 NPC Nationals in one of the biggest upsets in the contest’s history.) And three guys who all deserved a Sandow before their careers ended.

After the prejuding, and right before the “Superstar Seminar” , which included the above three gents, Samuel and Jeff Golini (All-American EFX), I was forced the crash the party produced by the MDTV crew for it’s USA predictions.

I couldn’t take it hearing host Dave “Jumbo” Palumbo talking about Braden Ray as the favorite in the Light Heavyweight class; Ray has been telling me for months that he would be lucky to even make it into the Heavyweight division. Branden told Shawn on Friday night (via telephone) that he was 221 pounds; he told MD Publisher Steve Blechman 12 hours later he was 211. He told me 10 days earlier he was 230. Blechman told me it was the plan to go LHW all along. Say what, Branden? Say what, Kristy Hawkins (who also assured me her man was 230 two weeks ago, and definitely would be in the HW class in Vegas)? And people wonder why I say bodybuilders are disengenious about their true poundages?Chris Bongiavanni
Anyway, back to the contest. It was nice seeing former pro star Chris Bongiovanni, now the Minnesota State Chairperson, for the first time in a few years. Congrats to Men’s Overall champion Keith Williams, Women’s Bodybuilding winner Sara Matheson and Figure champ Laura Bailey. Yes, the same Laura Bailey who took third in the California State Championships, then came to WATCH my Junior Cal (Laura lives in Bakersfield, CA, about two hours from Pasadena) before trekking to the midwest to dominate Flex’s show. Sara Matheson abd Keith Williams

Laura Baliey

I was back home late Sunday afternoon, and had to prep for the first day of the second summer session at East Los Angeles College early the following morning. Ironically, I ran into Delane Woods, one of the college’s premier football players, and a Minneapolis resident, who also returned to Souther Cal a day earlier after spending a month back home.

On Saturday it’s off to Culver City to watch the judging of the Los Angeles Championships. This is always one of Jaguar Jon Linday’s premier shows, especially since it’s the final chance to qualify for the USA the following weekend. Jag told me tonight he’s just about at 100 competitors; I’m expecting at least 115-125 by game day.

‘Nuff for now. But I’ll be back soon. Over, under and out.


Heavy Medal Performance at Junior Cal

/ Posted 06.22.2008

2008 Jr Cal Winners


Well, a lot of folks are saying the latest version of my annual NPC Junior Cal Bodybuilding and Figure Championships was the best in the 10-year history of the event, if that opinion is at least partially based on the number of superstars who were inside Sexson Auditorium on the campus of Pasadena City College last Saturday, I have to agree with the assessment.

Promoter Lonnie Teper with Jay Cutler

Of the 15 or so IFBB card holders at the shindig, three of them have accounted for 12–count ‘em, 12–Olympia Gold medals. Featured guest poser Jay Cutler, natch, is the two-time defending Mr. Olympia. All-time record holder Lenda Murray, with eight Ms. Olympia titles on her resume, came to the show in support of client and Figure competitor Carlisa Semmons (third in Class A). Likewise, two-time Figure Olympia winner Jenny Lynn ventured all the way from Louisville, Kentucky to be there for her best friend, Amy Carr, who finished second in both the Class D and Masters 35 and up categories.

2008 Jr Cal Winners

Flex Wheeler was in the house as part of the EFX crew, Co-Title Sponsors of the contest along with The Swami’s Houston Pro pick (July 4), Silvio Samuel was there. So was Quincy Taylor, who did the contest prep for Greg McCoy, an Oklahoma State University student who made the trip to Pasadena from Arlington, Texas. Of course, I could not miss on the opportunity.

One of Samuel’s opponents at the Houston show, Armand Scholz, surprised the bazeebers out of me when I saw him standing behind the curtain backstage at the finals. Was happily surprised to see current Figure International champ Gina Allioti at the event (especially since she was not judging). IFBB Figure star Tanji Johnson, better known now, perhaps, as “Stealth” on the “American Gladiators, drove down from northern California, where she recently moved, to greet the fans and hand out awards, as Jenny did.

2008 Jr Cal Winners

Michael Ergas, Derik Farnsworth, Kristy Hawkins (who is just about finished with her Ph.D from neighboring Cal Tech), Amy Peters, June Munroe., Meritza DeGuzman. USA Lightweight champ Alex Azarian was there; so was Steve Kuclo who, like Peters and Munroe, flew in from Dallas to help me get through the day. And Marika (Da Freaka) Johansson was at PCC, too, helping hubby Kris Gethin, the Editor-in-Chief at, work their table in the lobby. To top things off, Kris actually competed in the contest (after two years of badgering by guess who), and not only finished fourth in an extremely tough Novice Middleweight division (15 competitors) but picked up the “Best Poser” award at the end of the night.

It was special that John Balik, my boss at IRON MAN, came to the finals–and stayed all the way to the end of the contest, despite having an hour drive back home. Ruthless Ruth Silverman, who has been there every year for me to support my cause, missed her first one in a decade due to car problems. But, she called and wished me the best. I do appreciate the well wishes, Ruthless.

2008 Jr Cal Winners

Merv Petralba, who hasn’t slept in two months since the birth of his daughter, was in the press area, shooting pics for this website, as he fought to stay awake. Guess my jokes didn’t do the trick. Other media members there: Allan Donnally of FLEX, Nga Azarian of MD, Hollywood Bert Perry of MuscleMag, and Mark Mason, who made the trek from Seattle, Washington to make his debut as contest videographer (check out my website at if interesed in ordering a copy of the show), were also in attendance.

2008 Jr Cal Winners

Now, back to the contest itself. Had the second highest numbers in the history of the show (next to the 100 from last year), and the crowd was as big, if not the largest, ever. And, talk about a supportive group–the fans at PCC are always among the most vocal and appreciative of any contest I host around the country, pro or amateur. Give youself a hand, gang. It was heartwarming to see the crowd at the finals give Cutler a standing ovation as he took the stage for his guest posing stint just prior to intermission.

It was also perhaps the most highly contested event ever as well, with several placings in almost every class the topic of debate after the prejudging and finals. When all said and done Leo Delaine, who I first met when I emceed the NPC San Francisco last October, took the Light Heavyweight class and the Overall. Martha Ibarra won the Women’s Bodybuilding, and was also the choice of the judging panel to win “Best Poser” and “Most Inspirational”. Brianne Shaw captured the highly contested Figure Overall crown, and was also honored as the winner of the “Most Promising Figure” competitor, the award coming courtesy of Tight Curves. Thanks, Jimmy Mentis. Okay, now that I have your attention, you need to check out the results on the site (or on my website) to find out where the rest of the competiors finished, if you haven’t do so already.

Man, I’m exhausted. Been one of the longest weeks of my life, as it always is this time of the year. Remember, I also teach at both PCC and East Los Angeles College and–stupid me– don’t take any time off before the show to work on the final touches–or just plain rest a bit to gear up for the weekend.
But, can’t close down shop without listing the sponsors who make this whole thing a reality:
Title Sponsors: and EFX.

Presenting Sponsors: JS Nitro and 619 Muscle. Co-sponsors: Labrada, Gaspari Nutrition, IRON MAN, Met-Rx, Vyotech, Max Muscle, Getbig, ABB, Cytosport, Met-Rx, MHP, Champion, Dream Tan, Flexstar, Gold’s Gym, Pasadena, ZsuZsi, Bazi, Musclelwerks, Pro Bodybuilding Weekly, ALR, Tight Curves, Dumbbellmania, BSN, Pro Fight Supplements and Hollywood Tans


Countdown to the 08 Junior Cal

/ Posted 06.16.2008

You’re probably in front of the boob tube as I write this, watching the Lakers and Celtics go at it in game five of the NBA Finals. I’ve got too much on my mind to sit and enjoy the battle. First off, summer session at Pasadena City College starts tomorrow (Monday), less than a week since I finished the Spring semesters at both PCC and East Los Angeles College. And, of course, we’re only five days away from my annual Junior Cal. In other words, no rest for the weary. No complaints, though–way, way nicer problem than not having an empty plate, literally and figureatively.

On Saturday, I made the 35 mile trek to Yogi Avidan’s to shoot a final reminder video about the event. Of course, if you went to this site at all in the past three months, or directly to my website (or my myspace page), you would already know the details. So click on it as soon as you finish reading this, and view the tape shot yesterday. As the film shows, I really like toys. What am I saying? Like I said, check it out and enjoy the ride.

Prejudging starts at 11 am, finals at 6 pm. Too late to write me for tickets and no, you can’t order them on line. But, the good news is that Sexson Auditorium at PCC holds 2,000, and there won’t be any problem at all buying tickets at the show, and settling into a great seat. It’s general seating, so the earlier you get there, the better.

Of course, two-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler is the highlight of the show as he returns as the featured guest poser. Cathy LeFrancois is also scheduled to guest pose, but has a foot injury and is “iffy” at the moment. But, Cathy will be at her familiar post at the Gaspari Nutrition booth. And, IFBB Figure star, and current American Gladiator Tanji Johnson (aka “Stealth”) is coming to greet the fans and sign autographs.
Figure pro Amy Peters and top NPC star Steve Kuclo are going to open the show with a special guest posing skit, so don’t be late! And, knows who else just might end up on stage, sans shirt, pants, before the evening is over?
Sugar Ray & Jay Shawn Ray is coming to the prejudging (repping Vyo Tech), Flex Wheeler will be with the EFX gang, Kris and Marika Gethin are flying in from Idaho to man the booth, to name a few. Will Chris Cormier show up, a la last year, or will he be in Chicago, like Isaac (Lifter) Hinds, at the Junior Nationals?

Although I was concerned two weeks ago about the number of entries, they’ve been flying in since then; at this point I have the second most in hand in the 10 year history of the show going into the contest….and I’m sure there will be more in my mailbox on Monday and Tuesday (last year was the most, when I ended up with 100 competitors).

Last year’s winners Kiyoshi Moody, Dallas Malloy and Jeane Sunseri have told me they will be coming back to help hand out awards in the divisions they toppled last season. Kiyoshi Moody Dallas Malloy Jeane Sunseri

One of my entries in Figure has told me that Lenda Murray–yes, THAT Lenda Murray–trained her, and suggested she make her contest debut on the PCC stage. So, I’m guessing that the Ms. O record holder will be inside Sexson the venue as well. Okay, I’ve pushed the show enough. At least I think six months is enough. Hope to see ya all in Pasadena on Saturday. Over, under and out–but not for the Lakers, just yet, I see. We’re going back to Boston.

Over, under and out–but not for the Lakers, just yet, I see. We’re going back to Boston.