That’s what the headline read in my cover piece on Danny Hester in the September issue. Those who know this amazing 41-year-old will tell ya the former RN, who once worked in a mental institution, beats to a different drummer much of the time himself. Probably the effects of the job, eh Danny?
He was eating the same breakfast I was at the Firehouse in Venice a week before the Nationals: chicken breast, egg white and PANCAKES! I didn’t know he was planning to compete. Actually, he didn’t either, not making up his mind until the night before his Wednesday flight out of LAX.
Now, about that flight. Had a bit of trouble getting on the plane. See, he left his ID at home. But, in a stroke of genius, pulls out the IRON MAN cover, and it gets him on the big bird to Georgia. You’re welcome, Mr. Hester!
Of course, he didn’t realize the late fee would cost him double the trouble, going from $175 to $350. And, to top off the zany week, Hester falls asleep waiting for his class to take the stage during the finals, and barely made it in time for his posing routine. As a matter of fact, expediter Tracy Greenwood told me that Hester was nowhere to be found, so we had to move everyone up a slot (except for winner Dr. Victor Prisk, natch).
Travis Rogers, who was listed in sixth place, was told to join the other four finalists. Then, at the last minute, I spot Hester backstage from the podium. His eyes were nearly shut; you know, the way your’s look when you first wake up in the ‘morn. I heard him say he overslept. Say what, Danny?
No oil. No posing music. He says, in my honor, he had the music man play Elvis’ “Burning Love”, which happened to be one of the disks lying on the table. I smiled as I told the crowd, “This is the best music of the night.”
So, I do his intro, once again. Hester and I, you see, share quite a long history together. I was the emcee of the USA for the first time in 1992 (in Santa Monica), the same season Hester made his initial appearance in that event. A year later I hosted the Nationals (in Ft. Lauderdale), which ended up being the first of 18 consecutive shows I’ve presided over; Hester made his Nationals debut in that one.
Hester finished third in the Middleweight class at the USA, and was second to Prisk in the Welterweight division in this one. So, despite all the wackiness of the previous seven days, the year ended up on a great note for Danny.
‘ On second thought, maybe “wacky” ain’t the proper description in this case. What was the name of that drummer, Danny?