A week after the ‘Cal, I flew into Texas to emcee Prince Harrison’s annual Lone Star Classic. I hosted the show from 2003-2005, but had to pass on it last year when the Junior Cal, normally held the third or fourth weekend of June, was moved to June 3 because of scheduling conflicts at Pasadena City College.
With my bash back to its normal time slot (June 23), I was able to get back to Plano and have some fun on stage, as well as witness another packed house at the Plano Convention Center, complete with 140 contestants.
Rookie Mad Max Fairchild took the Heavyweight and Overall; I think this 26-year-old, born and raised in Dallas, could have a bright future. At six-foot and 225 pounds, Fairchild has plenty of room to grow. Keep an eye out for him…I say do next year’s Junior USA, Max. Tiny steps is the best way to proceed, trust me.
Maria Davis, a neat lady with some sexy Salsa moves whom I met when I hosted the Ronnie Coleman Classic in April in Grapevine, won the Women’s bodybuilding, with another first time competitor, Stephanie Irick, doing likewise in Fitness.
Stephanie, a cute as a bug blonde from Pilot Point, also placed third in a really tough Figure A division. The amazing Beni Lopez (a 40-year-old mother of three) edged out Brandi Akers (better known prior to the show as Quincy Taylor’s girlfriend), with Irick right behind, before going on to take the whole ball of wax. Lopez has been married for 25 years (yeah, gang, that means she got hitched at 15!) and told me she hopes the hubby won’t turn her in for a newer model. Are you kidding me, Beni? No worries there!
Mark Dugdale and Chad Ray Martin guest posed–Chad was in much better shape, since he is on his way to the Junior Nationals this coming weekend in Chicago; Mark told the crowd he’s about to begin his Mr. Olympia prep shortly.
The agitator that I am, I got the fully clothed Lopez to go out to her car and put back on the bikini for a shot with Dudgale inside an eatery after the contest. Mark’s oldest daughter, Mattie (one of the three that Mark and Christina produced), made this trip and wondered what the heck I was doing snapping pics of her Dad and the Figure babe, right there in front of the entire restaurant crowd.
Mattie, you know me by now; I like to liven things up from time to time, and what better way than to get Mrs. Lopez to pose for a shot with Pop? Especially in a bikini. Christina didn’t mind. (Did you, Christina?)
By the way, for those of you wondering if those are my abs on the cover of the August issue of IRON MAN, it’s a legit guess–but a wrong one. Those ripped chords belong to the Texas Shredder, Dave Goodin, who took two classes at the show (check out results and pics on our contest results section) before falling to Max in the Overall. This is one truly amazing 48-year-old drug free wonder.
I really enjoy going into Texas, where I get to see a lot of friends. June Munroe (with the nattily attired Katie Poo in her purse, as usual), and Amy Peters were there, excited about coming out again and helping with my contest. These two work their fanny’s off, too!
It was great seeing Debi Lee, who lost husband Ray three months earlier. Debi was looking lean and mean, and said she’s been doing a lot of cycling as of late. She told me in detail about what really happened to Ray, and the agonzing final moments of his life. In summary, Ray went in for a heart bypass, and suffered an infection, which eventually shut down his entire body. Check out Gene Mozee’s piece on Ray’s passing in the August issue of IRON MAN.
Quincy Taylor was packing 345 pounds–and I made sure to get him to pose so I could take a few snapshots. Quincy looked good at that weight; if he can duplicate his condition from last year’s Europa (where he got second to Toney Freeman) and fill out a bit, he’s my pick to win the Ed and Betty Pariso produced event on August 11 in Dallas.
Hey, since Q.T. is a former student of mine (years back at Cal State L.A.), and I got him to quit track (he threw the shot and discus) and go into bodybuilding, I may be a bit biased. But, this pick is based on what I really think what could happen more than sentiment.
As always, I got stuck in the Dallas Airport on the way home on Sunday. Bad weather delayed my flight two hours; I arrived at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank at 4:30 pm, got home and collasped an hour later. Had to rest up for school–was about to hand out my last final exam at East Los Angeles College for the Spring semester at 9 the following morning. And, I had to conserve energy for three more classes at PCC later in the day.
Another fun, but tiring trip. I’ll be back for the Europa in August. ‘Til then, go San Antonio Spurs.