Ron Walters bodybuilder
ready to defend masters division title
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"Iím by the pool right now," said Indio resident Ron Walters when he answered his phone, "working on my sun tan in my bun-hugger briefs. You donít want to look washed out on stage."
Walters, 63, is getting ready for the California State bodybuilding championship, where he will defend his title as Mr. California in the Ultra Grand Masters division for men 60 years of age and older. The event will be held in Culver City on Friday.
"I think heíll win, unless thereís some surprise guy he doesnít know about," said his wife and training partner, Harolene Walters. "Ron is always a step ahead, and heís more prepared than ever."
The two-time Mr. California winner plans to wear his lucky briefs at the competition -- black for the preliminary round and purple or red for the evening show -- and lip-sync to the "Popeye the Sailor Man" theme while flexing his muscles.
"The crowd just loves it," Walters said. "Itís a lot of fun."
The only time Walters has lost a bodybuilding contest was at the 2002 National Championships in Pittsburgh. He finished third.
"Iíve been up against some really good competitors," Walters said. "Lifetime bodybuilders, people bigger than me. But my definition is good, so I win."
Walters began bodybuilding at 58. He was working out to regain strength after a compound fracture in his left wrist.
"People at the gym started noticing my progress and told me I should compete," Walters said. "But it was my wife who finally convinced me."
His wife, 60, is a professional water skier, downhill racer and the oldest female to qualify for the Olympic marathon.
"For a long time, people knew me as ĎHaroleneís husband,í " Walters said.
"Now the roles are reversed, and Iím ĎRonís wife,í " said Harolene Walters, laughing.
She coaches her husband by critiquing his muscle poses and helping him stick to his six-meal-a-day, low-carb, high-protein diet.
The couple also exercises five days a week at World Gym in La Quinta.
Training is easier since the couple retired last year, explained Harolene Walters. "We used to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to go running, but now we can sleep in until 6 a.m."
The two have always had an athletic lifestyle, said Walters. They met at a race in Yorba Linda about 15 years ago, began training together and were married in 1984.
"On our first date we went running in the mountains," said Walters. "She wore me out. I was gasping so hard that a bee flew into my mouth and stung my lip. It was embarrassing."
The couple moved to Indio from Mission Viejo at the end of November.
Before retiring, Walters had been the director of program management at Boeing in Huntington Beach, and Harolene had worked as a special education teacher in Southgate for 32 years.
"When young men ask me how I look so good, I tell them itís easy," said Walters. "All you gotta do is get old."