The First Time I Met a Pro Bodybuilder…

By Dan “The Mayor” Dillon

Back in 1995 I attended the Night Of Champions, one of New York City’s legendary bodybuilding events of that era.  I had never met a pro bodybuilder before.  I was excited to see what these guys were like in person. Me and my boy Rob went up to Shawn Ray’s table to take a picture and buy a DVD.  Back in those days Shawn was one of the best in the world, a serious contender for the Mr. Olympia title.  It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Shawn had a lot to say.  He actually seemed to be a bodybuilding fan himself!!

Next up we went in to see the judging rounds and then we headed to the lobby where none other than Shawn Ray asked us what we thought of the judging? We went on and on (blah,blah,blah bodybuilding) and then we engaged in a serious conversation about who looked good. The late Nasser El Sonbaty won the show.  He was huge and ripped.

After our chat with Shawn we headed to lunch.  I remember elbowing Rob, “How cool was that, talking bodybuilding with a legend like Shawn Ray??”  The encounter only grew my love for bodybuilding after being treated with such respect…..from a legend!!

Fast forward to me becoming one of the sport’s biggest fans – “The Mayor Of Bodybuilding!   Shawn actually invited me to be a featured guest on his MD radio show!  Before the first show I took a shower and made sure I looked good. My wife laughed at me and said, “What are you doing? It’s a radio show.”  I replied “No, it’s the Shawn Ray radio show!!”

Yes I was out of my mind.  I went on the show and it was surreal to be asked my opinion about the top stars in bodybuilding.  I listened to the replay afterwards and it sounded ok, despite my heart racing like mad.

To this day, Shawn always treats me well at the shows and I never take it for granted.  The interaction with these great athletes is a big part of what makes this community special.   As bodybuilding fans we get to meet and talk to our idols. They motivate us, they teach us, and every so often REAL friendships are born.

Until next time.  Live with passion!

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