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Jag Keeps Speeding in Passing Gear

img_8116Jaguar Jon Lindsay is on a roll; for the second straight week the ace NPC promoter saw a record number of contestants hit the stage. Last week it was the San Diego Championships; on Saturday it was the Max Muscle Naturals in Culver City, as 105 bodybuilders, figure competitors and bikini entrants (not including crossovers) did their thing in front of a large crowd at Vets Memorial Auditorium.

Derek Edmonds, who won this contest in 2006, repeated the feat three seasons later with a victory in the Light-Heavyweight class and the Overall, toppling Ryan Allen (Heavyweight), Anthony Pomponio (Middleweight) and Norman Reyes (Lightweight) in the process.

In Women’s bodybuilding Ligia Orantes took the crown, while Elena Renteria left the building with two titles: Open Figure Overall champion and Masters (35 +) winner. Julie Kaesberg captured the Overall in the Bikini division after winning the Tall class and finishing ahead of Stacy Cooper in the battle for the Overall. Renteria, the class “B” winner, bested Patricia Wood (A). Jamie DeBernard (C) and  Maria Pernia-Cruz (D) in the Open battle.
I always have fun hosting this show; last year the contest was held at Anaheim High School, so the drive was a bit less for those of us not residing in Orange County. And, as always, several interesting stories evolved from the event.
One of them was LaGanian Smith, the Novice Lightweight champion. LaGanian, a member of the Marine Corps, has already done three tours in Irag, and let the crowd know when I interviewed him on stage that he’s heading for Afghanistan in January. Smith also made sure to introduce his pregnant wife in the audience.

Another was Pomponio, a 21-year-old from Palm Desert who will be picking up his undergraduate degree from Whittier College in June. I met Maria Pernia-Cruz years ago at LA Fitness in Alhambra, and begged her to enter my Junior Cal in the Collegiate Division, since she was a student at Cal State Los Angeles. “Too shy,”  “not ready,” “maybe someday” were the consistent responses. Maria finally began competing last year, and showed Saturday why I was so persistent-she won an extremely deep class “D” before battling Renteria for the Overall.

img_8948On the down side of things, I had to pop for dinner as the “penalty” for accusing photog Ron (Yogi) Avidan of giving me the wrong age about one of the senior competitors. While I was on stage, no less. After the show was concluded, we ventured out in West Los Angeles in separate cars before I ran into the world’s smallest IHOP in Culver City.

At that point, a taco wagon would have sufficed. And, even though the restaurant’s menu didn’t include Yogi’s fave, orange chicken, it did produce a glazed chicken dinner, which was close enough. Tasted really good-especially since we both washed it down with a chocolate milk shake.

Yogi ended the evening with the funniest line of the day: “I can’t believe I actually ate clean!” Didn’t want to spoil his evening by explaining what the ingredients made up our choice of drink.

Later, gator.

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