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The week before the 1995 NPC Nationals, Ivory "Papoose" Turner III became a daddy for the second time as his wife, Monica, delivered a baby brother for ten year-old Ivory Turner IV by the anme of Ramone Daniel. Just a week later, in the high pressure heat generated on the New Orleans stage, Turner coolly claimed the lightweight title at the biggest amateur contest this country has to offer.

"I still look back at that week as if it were a dream," Turner Admits. "It was such a great week, having my baby boy and them being able to put everything together for the nationals. I felt really good about my condition before I got to the weigh in, and even better when I saw the others," he says. "That's when I thought I could win and I based that on the shocked reaction I got from the other competitors. Plus, I had guys from the other weight classes coming up and telling me how great I looked, an that they'd never seen a lightweight look as good as I did. And that made my confidence grow even more."

Turner's only real competition that weekend would be the scale on Thursday night, and early on it looked like the scale might win. "Then I stepped on the scale and I was overweight. I weighed 155 and you should have seen all the happy faces. Everybody in my class was walking around with big smiles. So I had to lose almost a pound by ten o'clock that night. "For the next two hours I was doing all the things you have to do to try and lose a pound of weight. I went back at nine o'clock and hit 154 ¼ right on the nose."

Of course, by the time he weighed in again, the other lightweights were gone, back to their hotel rooms with those visions of winning still alive. They would be allowed one more night of dreaming before reality would tap them on the shoulder and relegate them to no better than second.

"When I showed up the next day, the other lightweights saw me, their jaws dropped and the smiles once again turned to frowns. You can't understand how good those reactions made me feel. I couldn't help but gain more and more confidence. This is the contest where I would go from being a brave to a chief. I would earn my feathers at the nationals."

With all this talk of braves and chiefs and feathers, you'd think Ivory Turner III has some kind of interest in Indians, and you'd be right on the mark. Turner is also known as Papoose, a nickname, but much more than that. It's actually the name given to him by his paternal grandmother when he was born. You see, Turner is half Cherokee Indian and damn proud of it, even though you'd never be tempted to confuse him with the stereotypical wild west Indian portrayed in the movies.

Born and raised in Washington D.C., Turner admits that he doesn't think he'd fit in real well on an Indian reservation. "I don't know if I'd like the have to deal with the outdoors and nature too much," he admits. "The rest of my family likes to do a lot of things outside, but I'm too domesticated. I need the lights and the city."

Continued