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.
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
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."