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A Generous Priest; the ‘Cal Swells up

img_0491Listen real close, Shawn Ray. Lee Priest returned to one of his favorite restaurants, Twohey’s, in Alhambra, California today, for the first time in about five years. We met for breakfast-and Lee INSISTED on picking up the tab! Just under 40 bucks, at that. I did leave the tip, which is something Sugar Shawn always seems to pass on as well. And you wonder why I call him the Jack Benny of bodybuilding.

Lee used to visit regularly when he lived in Venice, but has since moved in and out of the country-and is currently based back home in Melbourne, Australia. He was in town for a visit, and stopped by for a reunion meal (I seem to be having lots of those lately, but at least this one wasn’t at the Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena) before resuming his ride to Scottsdale, Arizona, to visit friends.

Hard to believe the kid I introduced at the IRON MAN when he was but 21, turns 37 in July. Priest showed me the results of the surgery on his right biceps, torn when he was moving his big screen television and repaired three months ago. He started hitting the gym three weeks ago, and says he hopes to finally make his return to an IFBB stage next year after taking off for the ill-fated Pro Division, Inc in 2006.

australian_pro_2009_331Says he’ll be back next year-perhaps at the IRON MAN, or the Arnold. Listed his weight at “around 235”. Looked about right.  Priest, formerly married to Cathy LeFrancois (say, congrats on another win in New York, Cathy) he tied the knot again last year with a young lady named Raine, who hails originally from South Africa, and is very happy.

When I told Lee the ‘Cal was taking place this weekend, he thought about it for a few seconds, then said he’d be back in town with a buddy to attend the event held at Veterans Auditorium.

img_0487On the subject of the ‘Cal, looks like another gem for promoter’s Jon Lindsay and Steve O’Brien. Jaguar had a record 165 entries in hand as of Tuesday night, including one from Ronald Sargeant, the guy I’m going with to follow his Overall victory at the Orange County with another Overall crown.

Yogi Avidan and I actually agree on this one; Isaac Hinds gives Sargeant his greatest hope by predicting the 6’2″, 245-pounder will not repeat. And, Ronald, if you saw Hinds’ selections for the New York Pro, that would make you real happy.

Texas-based Jeff Dwelle, last year’s Heavyweight champ, agrees with Isaac; Dwelle was dwelling on the supreme physique of Max Fairchild, who I announced as the winner of the Lone Star in Plano, Texas in 2007. Yes, the kid is really good, and Sargeant will have to be 15% sharper than he was at the OC to fight off Fairchild’s challenge.

Jeff also sang the praises of Jenn Celeste, who won the 2007 BSN Hot Model Search at the Europa and who finished only behind Brandy Lever at the 2007 Weider Model Search at the Olympia. Celeste will be making her debut in Bikini, and Jeff says she’s the “next best Bikini competitor in the country…after the ‘Cal she’s going to the USA.”

On the subject of hot babes, the Pro Figure line-up is an outstanding one, with the likes of Sonia Gonzales, Heather Mae French, Sherlyn Roy, Amy Lee Martin, Kristen Nunn, Amy O’Neill, Alicia Harris and other sublime bods.

Yogi tried to be slick, going with both Gonzales and French; Hinds, the best of “The Experts” on the women’s predictions, says French will in it, with Gonzales second. I am going with Roy. Why? It’s simple-she won my Junior Cal in 2006, and  Sherlyn is a special guest (along with Michael O’Hearn) at my show on June 20, so gotta stick with the home girl.

In any case, it should be a great event. For all information on the weekend, go to And, be sure to come up and say hello…as long as I’m not in the middle of announcing somebody’s name!

This is the one for Lonnie Teper!

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