“When I walk down the street,” says Lori Bowen-Rice, 27, “people wonder what kind of athlete I am, but they don’t wonder if I’m a woman.” Thanks to a Miller Lite commercial in which she “picks up” Rodney Dangerfield—bar stool and all—Lori joins a list of celebrity athletes better known for their faces than for their names. The ad (for which she was paid $25,000) was actually shot with the aid of a mechanical lift, not that Lori is lacking in credentials. The 5’4″, 130-pound brunette is the current women’s world professional bodybuilding champion and will get additional exposure when she makes her movie debut next month in Pumping Iron II—The Women.
Raised in a Dallas suburb, Lori started bodybuilding four years ago at the suggestion of then boyfriend Randy Rice (now her husband). After devising her own shape-up course Bowen-Rice entered 10 local contests in 1981—and won them all. Two years later she took two national amateur titles. She dislikes the way she looks during competition. “It’s an extreme, hard look,” she says. “I’m not comfortable with it.” Yet Lori hopes to enter the 1985 Miss Olympia contest, the Super Bowl of women’s bodybuilding, to be held in New York City next November. There’s just one little problem: Bowen-Rice is expecting a baby in July and she will have only a few months to get back in shape.
When Matthew Otero, then 18, was elected probate judge of Belen, N. Mex. last November, he became perhaps the youngest elected official in the country. The recent high school graduate beat four opponents in the June primary and slipped by his 75-year-old Republican opponent in the general election 6,943 to 6,271.
Though there were inevitable questions about his age and lack of experience, Otero—who fulfilled basic requirements of minimum voting age and residency—won over skeptics with an earnest door-to-door campaign. He had worked for his father’s plumbing-and-heating company since he was eight and pumped $2,000 of his own savings into his campaign fund. The candidate convinced voters he’d deliver on his promise to make the part-time judgeship (which pays $5,000 a year) more efficient. The previous judge’s caseload had been only nine wills in each of the last two years. “If the caseload fails to increase considerably,” said Otero, “I’ll do my darndest to eliminate the position.” Since taking office three months ago, the young judge has processed five cases. His job includes executing wills and performing marriage ceremonies and requires no legal training.
Otero, who will enter the University of New Mexico as a freshman in June, hasn’t lost his taste for politics. “How old,” he asks, “was the state’s youngest governor?”