Hany Rambod and Farinaz Tavakoli
I figured it would be a blast, and wasn’t dissapointed. The wedding pairing of Hany Rambod and Farinaz Tavakoli as one took place on Saturday, July 7, in Pleasanton, CA, and a great time was had by all.
I flew into Oakland from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Saturday morning, where I met up with promoter Jon Lindsay, coming in about an half an hour later, from LAX. Allan Donnelly, the former Editor-in-Chief at Flex Magazine who is now running the NPC News online site, arrived shortly after, and the three of us took the road in Jag’s rental for our hotel in Livermore, about a 45-minute trek.
Arde, LT and Allen
We had lunch at a local sports bar, right dab in the middle of a golf course, then cleaned up and headed towards the Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery, where the wedding and reception would take place. And, who are the first two people I run in to? “Sting” Ray Arde and Matt Allen, that’s who. Doesn’t ring a bell? Let me share some history. Arde won the overall the open category, Allen did likewise in the novice, at the very first NPC contest I ever promoted. That was back in 1999, when the event was held at Pasadena City College. And Hany Rambod was the guy who trained, and put, both cats into the show, giving this brand new venture instant credibility. I only had 27 competitors in that show, which only had bodybuilding divisions and was limited to those currently enrolled in a California college. As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way, baby.
For those hiding under a rock the past few years, Arde eventually went on to earn his pro card, while Allen became a standout NPC competitor who may not have earned a trip into the IFBB, but married somebody who did, former USA overall figure winner and current competitor Wendy Fortino. Oh, and Rambod has gone on to become one of the most recognized “gurus” in the sport.
As expected, it was a Who’s Who in the industry, starting off with the best built wedding party member in the country in Mr. Olympia Phil Heath (a Rambod disciple). Along with, of course, Lindsay and Donnelly, Pistol Pete Ciccone and Meritza DeGuzman-Ciccone were in the house; so were Ted and Sandy Williamson, IFBB stars Steve Kucko and Allison Frahn, Kim Oddo and wife Tracy. Muscular Developement owner Steve Blechman and wife Elyse flew in from their “vacation” home in Aspen, CO to share in the couple’s joy, and shake a leg on the dance floor. I was impressed with Blechman’s slick moves–especially since many of them mirrored mine :). Pro figure standout (and soon to be a mommy) Krissy Chin and husband Troy Johnson were there to honor Hany and Farinaz, so were Brian Kahn of Bodybuilding.com and pro bikini competitor Anca Marcus. Too many more to name, but you get my drift. .
What a night…thanks for the invite!