Page 5 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - Sep 21, 2022
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 The Man Behind The Stingrey Classic, Aloha Muscle Shows
SEPTEMBER 21, 2022
        itive bodybuilder. “Since there weren’t many pros coming out of Hawai‘i at the time, I thought I could put on some quality Oshows and become the liaison in growing the bodybuilding market in Hawai‘i.”
ease. On Jan. 2, 2021, she died following a nearly 16-month battle with the debilitating neu- rological illness.
metodothat—tousemybody as a tool and get clients. Once my body started changing and I started looking good, that’s when more people began asking to train with me.”
ne of those to help Ron- quilio with the inaugu- ral Stingrey Classic and
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ ve ever dealt with ... watching my wife slowly dete- riorate,” admits Ronquilio.
Today, Ronquilio still works as a personal trainer and runs his sessions out of The Jungle Gym on Ward Avenue. Most of his clients are what he calls “the everyday professional such as lawyers and doctors,” but he maintains that he isn’t averse to training athletes.
 who later became the inspiration for his second bodybuilding con- test, Aloha Muscle, was Pebblz Lee, a female competitor and his soon-to-be wife.
To honor her life and her con- tributions to the sport, he plans on holding a tribute immediate- ly after intermission at Aloha Muscle. Additionally, shirts that Pebblz had made will be handed out to the crowd to preserve her memory among local bodybuild- ing fans.
This year’s Aloha Muscle contest will be dedicated to Pebblz Ronquilio (left), who helped establish the annual competition with husband Rey (right). Pebblz passed away in 2021 following a battle with ALS. PHOTO COURTESY REY RONQUILIO
A year after being canceled due to statewide social- distancing restrictions, Aloha Muscle returns to its familiar indoor setting in Waikīkī later this month, ready to flex its muscle again as one of the state’s premier bodybuilding contests.
According to owner and co-founder Rey Ronquilio, the national qualifying event is expected to draw “between 200 and 300” fitness buffs who will compete in several divisions, including men’s physique, men’s classic physique, women’s physique, women’s figure and women’s bikini. There also will be divisions for teenage boys and girls.
Aloha Muscle 2022 is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at Sheraton Waikīkī Hawai‘i Ballroom. Prejudging will be held earlier that day at 8 a.m.
Tickets are $46.50 for the show, $31.50 for prejudging. For more information, visit
 Their beautiful, rock-solid relationship was born out of a common devotion to pumping iron. Yet despite the couple’s work in promoting the sport of bodybuilding, Ronquilio says it was important for his wife to eventually have a competition she could call her own.
And maybe most importantly, she’ ll continue to have a pres- ence at the annual show.
“I still train others for about 50 to 60 hours a week, and my preference is to work with the everyday professional because with bodybuilders, I only have them for three months and then I have to go and look for another client,” he explains. “But also, with the everyday professional, I can train them year-round and I don’t really have to do things like manipulate their diets.”
 “The reason I put on Aloha Muscle in 2016 was because of Pebblz,” he explains. “She was so passionate about the sport and the competitors, and I wanted to give her her own contest where she could do her own thing, where I would be helping her instead of running things.”
espite his background as a high school ath- lete who was partic-
As busy as he is, Ronquilio admits that life is much easier for him now. In fact, when asked if he misses those days as a com- petitive bodybuilder, he didn’t hesitate one bit with his reply.
“We’ll have a picture of her that will be sitting in the front row just so she can watch every show, every year.”
ularly fond of wrestling and jiu-jitsu, Ronquilio didn’t set out to become a professional bodybuilder.
 Sadly, before Ronquilio could completely hand the show over to his wife, she was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s dis-
Truth is, Ronquilio was sim- ply looking for a way to drum up business as a new personal trainer when he jumped into the sport in the mid-’90s.
“No,” he says with a laugh. “I loved it back in the day because I was young at the time and hun- gry (to win). But at my age now,
   “Bodybuilding was a way for
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