Birthday wishes go out to my boss at IRON MAN, John Balik, who turns 67 today-although, as Isaac Hinds says, “you must mean 57!”. Yes, Balik does look terrific, despite the stresses of steering the ship at IM each month, and dealing with the never-ending pressures of promoting a pro bodybuilding contest. If you’ve forgotten, we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the IM PRO. So, John, how can you still have that full head of hair? Look at what covering the industry, and putting on my Junior Cal each year, has done to me.
JB and I go back 23 years, when I first met him personally at Joe Gold’s World Gym in Santa Monica. He and Michael Neveux just purchased IRON MAN from Perry and Mabel Rader, and I approached John, at Joe’s urging, to write for the mag. Told him I’d love to produce the news/gossip column, cover contests and in-depth, up close and personal interviews.
Three days later I was on the plane with JB en route to Miami, the site of the 1986 Women’s Nationals. My first News and Views appeared in the January 1987 issue of the “new” IRON MAN (with Lee Haney on the cover). I wrote my first cover story interview, with Gary Strydom, who won the Men’s Nationals a month later in Atlanta. Soon on the way was one of the classic Mighty Mike Quinn pieces. With several Shawn Ray cover stories in the making. And, haven’t missed a column since. The rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking of Ray and Hinds, check out Isaac’s www.hardbody.com site, which is the best location going for up to date coverage of the women’s side of the industry. Lifter, one of the Terrific Trio on “The Experts” (me and Yogi are the other two, in case you haven’t noticed yet), has some funny lines after viewing a clip from Shawn Ray’s very first video, “Lifestyle of the Fit and Famous”, shot in 1990. Especially about my hair. Where is the comment about Sugar Shawn’s falling follicles, Hinds? A portion of the video was filmed at the old Brignole’s Fitness in Old Town Pasadena, to this day my favorite gym of all-time.
Ah, those were the days, my friend.