Page 7 - MidWeek Kauai - Sep 21, 2022
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 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.
espite his background as a high school athlete who was particularly
SEPTEMBER 21, 2022
   The Man Behind The Stingrey Classic, Aloha Muscle Shows
    resulting from heavy lifting and a lack of proper stretching pre- maturely brought the curtains down on his career as a compet- 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.”
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 hand- ed out to the crowd to preserve her memory among local body- building fans.
I became nationally certified as a trainer, I was like, ‘What am I supposed to do now?’
ne of those to help Ron- quilio with the inaugu- ral Stingrey Classic and
“We’ll have a picture of her Dthat will be sitting in the front row just so she can watch every show, every year.”
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.
And maybe most importantly, she’ ll continue to have a pres- ence at the annual show.
“Bodybuilding was a way for 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.”
 In recalling how their paths first crossed, Ronquilio notes, “She had called me out of the blue one day wanting me to train her to get ready for my Stingrey Classic. We ended up going out to lunch, then to dinner, and ever since then, we were together.”
fond of wrestling and jiu-jitsu, Ronquilio didn’t set out to be- come a professional bodybuilder. Sure, he admits to reading Muscle & Fitness magazine as a teenag- er and wanting to be ripped like three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane (“He had nice symmetry, and he’s the one who brought conditioning to the sport”) and fellow local bodybuilder Alan Ichinose (“He was
“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.”
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.
This month’s competition will also mark the first time it’s being held since the death of event co- founder Pebblz Ronquilio, who battled ALS for over a year before succumbing to the disease in early 2021. Fittingly, the event is being dedicated to her memory.
Hosted by master of ceremonies and local comedian Champ Kaneshiro, 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
  Thus began a beautiful, rock-solid relationship born out of a common devotion to pump- ing iron. But despite the couple’s work together in promoting the sport of bodybuilding, Ronquilio says it was important for his wife to eventually have a competition she could call her own.
my idol. My think- ing was, ‘If he can do that, I want to do that!”).
As busy as he is, Ronquilio admits that life is much easi- er for him now. In fact, when asked if he misses those days
  “The reason I put on Aloha Muscle in 2016 was because of Pebblz,” he explains. “She was so passionate about the sport and thecompetitors,andIwantedto give her her own contest where she could do her own thing, where I would be helping her instead of running things.”
But the truth is, Ronquilio was simply look-
ing for a way
as a competitive body- builder, he didn’t hesitate one bit
 Sadly, before Ronquilio could completely hand the show over to his wife, she was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s dis- ease. On Jan. 2, 2021, she died following a nearly 16-month battle with the debilitating neu- rological illness.
to drum up business
as a new personal
when he
into the sport in the mid-’90s.
with his reply. “No,” he says with a laugh. “I loved it back in the day because I was young at the time and hungry (to win). But at my age now, I just want to
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ ve ever dealt with ... watching my wife slowly dete- riorate,” admits Ronquilio.
“Back then, there weren’t many trainers around and nobody knew how to get clients,” remem- bers the Radford High School graduate who grew up in nearby Salt Lake. “So after
A ripped Ronquilio poses during his heyday as a bodybuilder. CLAUDE AYAKAWA PHOTO

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