‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Bobby Bowden, Gloria Estefan, Roy Jones Jr – December 7, 2010
Tuesday, December 7
Bobby Bowden at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
I arrived at 5:30, with former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden 10 minutes behind me. Nothing like being efficient. He was with what looked to be an entourage of men, but these weren’t handlers or security guards. They were simply Bowden’s Christian friends. I can’t recall ever graphing such a strong Christian, but this guy was the perfect gentleman. They don’t get any classier than Bowden. And I am a Gators’ fan. I’m so used to graphing celebs who try to enter through back doors or kitchens. Bowden walked right through the front door. Only one other grapher was there, and he was a good friend I had brought with me. Bowden signed the first mini helmet in black Sharpie and then switched pens to do the second mini in silver paint pen, which turned out beautifully. Before he walked away, he did a picture with me, and this time my grapher friend didn’t mess up the shot. In hindsight, I could’ve racked him harder, but I love the guy so much that I didn’t really feel like pissing him off. Every time I meet him, he reminds me of my grandpa. Just a great, great dude. If someone ever asked me to choose 10 people I’d like to dine with, I really think Bowden might be one of them.
Opening of Bongos Cuban Cafe
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Battled rush-hour traffic on the way to Hollywood to graph the opening of a restaurant owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, among others. I got a little excited when I saw that Sammy Sosa was scheduled to attend. I was hoping to get him on a few Sports Illustrateds and maybe a ball. I finally concluded that Sosa was a no-show when I saw them pull away the red carpet. Gloria Estefan was the consolation prize. As she was signing she replied, “You do realize that I don’t play baseball?” Jon Secada also attended but I didn’t need him.
Gloria Estefan: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB) in blue ink with a “Luck Love” inscription even though I asked for “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”
Hard Rock Live
From there I walked about 50 feet to Backyard Brawl hoping to see former champ Roy Jones Jr., whose company Square Ring Promotions was putting on the main event. I had the event on my calendar a few weeks ago but wasn’t quite sure Jones was going to attend. Last night I did a quick google search and learned that he would be there. I checked his twitter page to see if he might be doing any area events prior to the fight. Roy tweeted something to a friend last night, asking this person to email his personal manager. He mentioned the woman’s name and her email address on the tweet. So before going to bed last night I shot her an email using my teacher address, telling her that I was a big boxing fan and that I collect signed gloves. “Would there be any way Roy could sign two gloves for me?” I asked in the email. This morning I received a reply. His manager said that Roy would be glad to sign the gloves, “just walk to where he is sitting tomorrow night and tell him that Shontay said he would sign the gloves,” the email read. Easier said than done. I snagged a $55 ticket for $20 a few minutes before the first match began, then graphed the other event. Finally walked into the boxing venue at a little after 9 p.m. and realized that although my ticket was very good, it wouldn’t give me access to the area near Jones. I explained my situation to a woman from London (I think her name was Victoria), showing her the note with Shontay’s name and my teacher ID. “Victoria, just take my teacher ID and this note to Roy and he’ll call me over.” She walked over to the area where I told her Roy was sitting. She was a little too shy, though, and told me that she couldn’t find him.
Here’s where the story gets good. Last Super Bowl I got kicked out of a Jerry Rice event even though I had a ticket (long story). The security guard that day who kicked me out was named Greg, and he was working the fight. I got his attention and he walked over to me. The two of us chatted for a few minutes and I said something that made him laugh. He told Victoria that he didn’t have a problem if she walked me over to where Roy was supposed to be sitting. I finally found Roy sitting ringside, talking on his phone. She tapped him on the shoulder as I handed him the two gloves. He quickly signed them and shook my hand and I was on my way. I asked him to inscribe “8-time World Champ.” Instead he wrote “God Bless” on one with no inscription on the other. He was not able to take a picture with me.