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[whitespace] Bodybuilder Peace of the Action

Put a bunch of cops and firefighters together and what do you get? Competition. Really competitive competition.

By Kelly Luker

This week and next may be a poor time to schedule in that bank robbery or arson one has been planning for somewhere in the Silicon Valley region. An influx of about 5,000 public safety officers (cops, FBI, CIA, etc.) and firefighters from throughout the state are expected here for the 35th Annual California Police and Fire Games, the badge-wielding version of the Summer Olympics.

The best and brightest of the men and women sworn to protect and serve us and our flammables will be running, throwing, bicycling, flexing and otherwise strutting their skills in venues from San Jose to Hollister to Santa Cruz, all to prove, says the Games' executive director Andy Trevino, "We're just as human as the guy on the street."

Or more so, probably.

According to Trevino, the Summer Games, as the weeklong shindig is more familiarly known, is the third largest athletic event in the world. Powder puffs need not apply; many of the events are nationally sanctioned, opening the door to more prestigious, high-visibility contests nationwide.

Expect the biggest crowds--both on the stage and in the audience--at the bodybuilding competition Sunday night over at Spartan Stadium.

"There'll be hundreds of competitors in bodybuilding," explains Kim Allyn. The buffed and chiseled information deputy for the Santa Cruz sheriff's office says he's won the bodybuilding contest every year that he's competed.

"We compete with every type of cop there is," says Allyn of his peers onstage and throughout the rest of the events. "The FBI, CIA, campus cops and firefighters, too."

Allyn admits he loves kicking butt on the SoCal contingent.

"The mecca of bodybuilding is Southern California," Allyn says. "The LAPD and LASO [Los Angeles sheriff's office] show up with a huge contingent of supporters and then I come from the second smallest county in the state and [win]."

Boxing rates right up there in popularity, as do wrist wrestling and baseball, according to Trevino.

But are all events created equal when it comes to being cop-groupie magnets?

"[The] horseshoes [event] is often overlooked," Trevino replies tactfully, "as well as police K-9."

While the fast and furious pace of horseshoes might compete with paint drying on the wall for sheer excitement, Trevino must surely be wrong--dead wrong--about police dogs.

Sgt. Reese Gwillim of the San Jose Police Department couldn't agree more.

As coordinator of the K-9 event this year and a past competitor with his dogs for several years, Gwillim knows what's expected of his furry athletes, and it's not a walk in the doggy park.

"The second day is search day, where they have to find hidden people," he explains. "Then there's the protection event and another event where the dog has to differentiate between hostage and suspect."

That's merely the service dog division. While that, like every other event, is open to all, the "narco dog" event is closed to the public and held at an undisclosed location. Gwillim admits it might have something to do with the particularly juicy treats these K-9s are trying to sniff out. Sometimes it's an ounce and sometimes it's a kilo, depending on the event.

Due to San Jose's proximity to the beach, the summer games surfing contest will be held in Northern California for the first time in 17 years. Surfing event coordinator Don Kinnamon expects between 100 and 130 entrants for the heats out at Santa Cruz' Pleasure Point.

But it wouldn't be the Olympics without an all-around excellence event. For the cops and firefighters next week, that event is called the "Toughest Competitor Alive."

"They do eight events in one day," explains Trevino. "A 5-K run, shot put, 100-meter dash, 100-yard swim, 20-foot rope climb, bench press, pull-ups and an obstacle course."

There may be a good reason why similar Olympics get-togethers are not held by accountants, librarians or needlepoint aficionados, explains bodybuilder Allyn.

"What's interesting about this is cops are Type-A personalities to begin with," he says. "You put us all together in the same venue and you can imagine."

Both Trevino and Allyn point out that all the events are not only open to the public, but free of charge.

"Most [bodybuilding] shows would cost between $15 and $50, but these events?" points out Allyn. "You can walk right in."

For more information on events, dates and locations, call 408.272.9751 or log on to www.2001summergames.org.

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From the August 9-15, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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