Tony Duncan has been jumping through hoops for more than 20 years, but not quite like the rest of us.
The 27-year-old from Mesa won his first adult title at the 21st Annual Heard Museum Hoop Dance Championship Contest in Phoenix February 6. He previously won the teen title four times, but with the adult crown, he took home a grown-up prize of $3,500. “I’ve been dreaming of winning the hoop dance since I was about 5 years old,” Duncan says.
Phoenix Coyotes Puck-Stopper
Once upon a time, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was a Walmart-priced replacement for departed free agent Ilya Bryzgalov. The highlights of his five-year career were getting traded by Dallas, getting injured often and getting waived by Tampa Bay.
Mixology Mad Scientist
It’s not like mixology wunderkind Richie Moe just woke up one day and said to himself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat to mix up a batch of cocktails, pour them into tiny oak barrels, and let them bake in the Arizona sun for a month? And all the while, spritz the barrels with sea salt like they were seal pups?”
big cat handler
Jeff Harwell grew up with a pronounced cat fancy that eventually led to a full-time career – cavorting with African lions, Siberian tigers and other fearsome felines at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.
Desert-Dwelling Rap Pioneer
Rap music was supposed to be a fad. Even Young MC – the one-off hip-hop sensation best remembered for his 1989 hit “Bust A Move” – once fretted over the genre’s staying-power. “When I came out, the big thing was, how long will rap last?” says the rapper, whose real name is Marvin Young. “No one thought it’d go on like this.”
PAYTON CURRY - CHEF
Payton Curry has made a name for himself in the Valley food scene – at times as much for his brash and bratty personality as for his formidable talent in the kitchen. Valley foodies will remember Curry airing the messy details of his divorce from Caffe Boa a year ago. But the former bad boy chef, whose Valley resume includes notable restaurants like Caffe Boa, Digestif, and Downtown pop-up micro-eatery Welcome Diner, says he’s cleaned up his act both personally and professionally. Curry’s rebellious tendencies are now strictly kitchen-centered, with his biggest vice being a twice-a-week farmers’ market habit.
In eight short years, Matt and Erenia “Ernie” Pool have achieved total domination of the foodie circadian rhythm. First, they captivated early birds with the instantly iconic Matt’s Big Breakfast. Then they snared night owls with The Roosevelt. For the coup de grâce, they opened Giant Coffee: a gilded cage for cuckoo caffeine lovers. Along the way, the couple has been profiled on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and earned spots on countless Phoenix “Best Of” lists, from PHOENIX magazine to CNN. We caught up with the sweet, humble Pools over lattes and macchiatos at Giant Coffee, where they reflected on their burgeoning empire.
CEILING-SMASHING ROUNDBALL LEGEND Ann Meyers Drysdale moves a little slower nowadays, her knees stiffened by a lifetime of trips up and down the basketball court. But her steely blue eyes still reflect the intensity that made her the best women’s player on the planet in the late 1970s: a four-time All-American at UCLA, the first player drafted by the Women’s Professional Basketball League, and the only woman ever to sign an NBA contract (she got a tryout with the Indiana Pacers in 1980).
A year ago, Ian Kennedy was largely unknown to rank-and-file Arizona Diamondbacks fans. The D-backs were coming off two straight last-place finishes in the National League West, and few players were generating breakout buzz.
Things couldn’t be more different this year. As the team kicks off its 2012 season, Kennedy takes the hill as one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and expectations for both him and the Diamondbacks are the highest in years.
Auto Dealership Owner
Interviewing Tex Earnhardt feels a bit like stepping onto the set of one of his iconic TV commercials. Dressed in his trademark Western garb – boots, blue jeans, long-sleeved printed shirt and wide-brimmed hat, which he immediately removes to reveal an impressive silvery mane – Earnhardt looks and sounds like the same straight-shooting cowboy he plays on TV. Then there are Hal and Jim Babe, Tex’s sons and fellow TV pitchmen, who are roped in for a cameo appearance after Tex spots them walking down the hallway. The only thing missing is one of the massive longhorn steers that Tex sits on when he declares, “And that ain’t no bull.”
Sports show host
In a medium that typically features men yelling at other men about men, Karen Frye stands out. She’s the creator and host of Girlfriends Talk Sports with KFrye, an online sports-talk show in which she and two lady co-hosts dish about everything from college booster payola to players’ tattoos to UFC. Her qualifications? She’s spent 28 years raising Suns center and power forward Channing Frye.
When people think of today’s boxing elite, images of Floyd “Money” Mayweather burning $100 bills, or Manny Pacquiao and his bustling 200-person entourage, can’t help but come to mind.
Life is a little different for 19-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. The reigning prince of Arizona boxing is rousted from his modest west Phoenix apartment every day at 4 a.m. by his father-trainer, Jose Sr. They run up South Mountain, then head to the iconic Central Boxing Gym for a grueling workout.
WWE Diva Scottsdale native Brianna "Brie" Garcia-Colace has dropkicked, kneed and clotheslined her way into the upper echelon of World Wrestling Entertainment. ...
Broadcast journalist Brandon Lee has delivered the news in eight different cities over the past decade ...
99.9 KEZ-FM Host and Semi-Pro Wine Steward. The term “radio personality” is a bit of a misnomer with Beth McDonald. ...
Glad Hatter ...
Arizona Diamondbacks star “Goldie” was stellar in 2013, hitting .302, blasting 36 home runs and placing second in National League MVP voting ...