THE EXTROADINARY INTERVIEW THAT SHAWN RAY DID WITH CHRISS DUFFY
Q) You were training in Santa Monica back in the late 80’s and even won the Mr. Los Angeles Contest. What was it like for as a Bodybuilder back then?
A) I moved to L.A. to be a bodybuilder. It was almost like being awake in a Dream. I had been reading the muscle magazines for over a decade, then to be around the guys and the sport, it was a great way to spend my Twenties.
Q) You used to train at Gold’s Venice and were a regular fixture there with guys like Rick Valente, Mike Christian, Robbie Robinson, Berry De Mey, how did that compare to where you came from?
A) I had trained some with Rick in Ft. Lauderdale in my late teens and early twenties, he is a great guy and he was a huge help to me when I first got to L.A. I had also known Gary Strydom from Florida and we later trained for a few years together at Gold’s. Being able to be around the best in the sport shaped my perspective permanently. Comparing it to where I came from, it was the placed that we dreamed of.
Q: If I’m not mistaken you married one of the girls from the gym named Joni? Whatever became of that?
A) It has been 22 years since we’ve gotten together this time. We are like the Neutron and the Electron of an Atom, the Yin and the Yang of The Tao. We have been together since way before these lives began and will be together till the end of this epoch’s time.
Q) You would later go on to win your Class at the NPC Nationals in the Heavy Weight division tell us about it?
A) October 3rd, 1992 The Greatest Day of my life, the day that my dreams came true. I have never been the same since. It may be what I will be thinking about it as my last breath leaves my body. There is a part of me that is happy forever for winning that day, that I am always aware of. As speculated, it was a great tool for expanding my quest for truth and the understanding of how the world works.
Q) At some point it seemed after you turned Pro you became a bit disenchanted, for lack of a better word, with bodybuilding and made a couple Films, explain…?
A) I was ridiculous, I just wanted be able to train and live life. I was mad that I was not earning enough money to support myself through bodybuilding; I was arrogant and stupid by not applying my self as a business man to be able to earn a living at it. I just wanted to eat, breath and sleep bodybuilding. I ran a Personal Training Ad and got offered other ways to make money that seemed to make more sense to me at the time. It never occurred to me that it would be such a big deal? I really did not know that Bodybuilding and the Adult world were so aware of each other. Nor did I think that it would ruffle so many feathers. Attitudes seem to have lightened up a bit more about those things now.
Q) Not that it’s any of my business but have you defined your Sexuality or is it still a work in progress? I ask because you never shied away from the tough questions and your Fans are curious where you are having made some controversial films regarding your Sexuality.
A) The only thing that I have ever defined about myself is that I was a Bodybuilder. Self definitions objectify the self, engage the ego and separation and cause suffering. I am seeking the truth. I no longer define myself at all. I just do my Karmuppins and seek.
Q) Eventually, like many before you, you packed your bags and left LA for good. How did that come to pass?
A) The first time I left to train for the contests in 1992, I had learned enough to be on my own and it was financially better for me to prepare in Florida so I moved there a year before. Joni was wonderful enough to make it possible for me not to work so that I could train like a Pro for the show. I was pretty slim when I started, I had just been training people at the Venice Gold’s Gym out California and was about 230lbs. In the year that I was away, I got up to a bit over 300 and then competed at the USA at 263, that was the show that Flex became a Hall of Fame bodybuilder. I feel privilaged to have competed with him. He was the greastest bodybuilder that I have ever seen! Anyway, I’d been back and forth after then. And I’ll be back again!
Q) When was the last time you stepped on a bodybuilding stage and why was that the last time for you?
A) The 2002 Masters Olympia, I came in Fifth! I was very happy, competition was deep that year. I started training 8 weeks before the show at a shredded 225, had a huge knee injury just prior, I did a very “Health Conscious” preparation and looked OK when all things were considered. I ended up at 250 lbs on stage. I would love to be able to compete again sometime. Just to go through it all again. Maybe when I’m about 55, that sounds right.
Q) Where are you living and how are things for you now?
A) I’m living in Tampa, Fla with Joni and am in my 3rd year of college. I’m as happy as a Clam. I had a huge amount of surgeries a few years ago and am getting my body back together. I think it will get to be pretty much the way it always was, except for the sun damaged skin and the hair. Working in College towards a new career, very engaged in it all, very happy.
Q) What do yo miss about the sport of Bodybuilding since you stepped aside?
A) I miss the feeling of “Community” that was around Gold’s in the 80’s. There was a large group of people all living their Dream and it was a privilage to have been part of it. I am very excited that there is a similar feeling growing here at the Downtown Powerhouse Gym that I am training at in Tampa. The Midyett Family owns it and they operate it as an act of Love. It is the first time that I have had those feelings from the old days at Gold’s back again. A growing, great bunch of guys.
Q: What’s your take on Drugs in this business, have we made progress since you have left or did they ruin a good thing?
A) Nature seems to conserve complexity and people do what can be done. It is how bodybuilders interface with technology. I’m very interested in the health benefits that may be gained from the upcoming Myo Statin Inhibitors. Good things can never be ruined, they are forever. The new versions of them may just be different. Embrace diversity.
Q: If you could change 3 things in the sport today what would they be?
A) 1-That I was there as a completive competitor.
2- That a bodybuilder, even an average competitor, would be able to earn a good living by doing nothing but training and competing.
3- That’s it.
Q: Who inspired you when you came up in the game?
A: First time around: Arnold. Second time around circa 1991: Lee Haney. After that and since then: Flex Wheeler.
Q: At your best how big were you standing what 6’1- 6’2?
A: My brother measured me the other day while he was measuring his children. I am now exactly 6’1”. I know that I look taller, I have very long arms. I thought I was shorter, maybe all the muscle was compressing me. At the USA with Flex I weighed in at 263lbs. I was 256lbs at the National’s, real dry. My heaviest was way way over 300lbs! 260 – 280lbs is my happiest place.
Q: Finish this line for me:
“I would love to have one more crack at the stage if only to…….?
A: To present my best. Since the L.A. I never prepared for as long as I would have wanted to. I would love to have the fullness that I had at the USA with the condition of the Nationals and to present myself for appropriately.
If I could do that it would mean what to me….?”
A) Before it would have meant that I had fulfilled myself as a bodybuilder. Now it would just be because it is there.
Q: I leave you with the final word. What do you want people to know about you “The Man vs The Athlete?”
A: That I have always done my best. I have always tried as hard as I could. I treat people as I would have them treat me. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively.
1984 Southern States – National Physique Committee (NPC) – Overall Winner
1985 Nationals – NPC, HeavyWeight, 10th
1987 Junior USA – NPC, HeavyWeight, 6th
1987 Los Angeles Championships – NPC, Overall Winner and HeavyWeight, 1st
1992 Nationals – NPC, HeavyWeight, 1st and earned heavyweight professional card.
1992 USA Championships – NPC, HeavyWeight, 2nd
1993 Chicago Pro Invitational – International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB), 8th
1993 Night of Champions – IFBB, 15th
2002 Mr. Olympia – Masters – IFBB, 5th
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