owner and competitive body builder Brian Whelan said the school district has rejected a proposal to bring a body building competition to because the superintendent didn't want "scantily clad women" associated with the school.
A promoter wanted to stage the West Coast Classic Bodybuilding and Figure contest at MHS during next year's summer break but was rebuffed by Monrovia Unified School District Superintendent Linda Wagner, Whelan said. Whelan said Wagner called the contest promoter and told his assistant that he would not be allowed to rent the school for the event.
"She just said, 'We do not want our school associated with scantily clad women,'" Whelan said. "Her view on it was very, very clear."
Whelan took exception to that characterization of female body building and defended it as a sport. Whelan's wife Jennifer is also a competitive body builder--she's won the West Coast Classic twice--and he said that only professional body builders would be taking part in the competition, which the promoter wanted to hold over the 2012 summer break.
Wagner did not return an email or a phone message left her assistant requesting comment on this story.
The contest, which would have required a paid ticket for entry, could have brought in thousands of dollars for MHS boosters, Whelan said. Last year's event drew about 1,200 spectators, and Whelan said $5 of each ticket sold would have gone to the boosters.
In the past, the competition has been held at other nearby high schools like El Monte High and Rosemead High, Whelan said.
Lonnie Teper, the contest's promoter, said he visited MHS over the summer and wanted to move the competition to Monrovia High from El Monte High because the city offers better amenities. His assistant submitted the paperwork when the school year started, and that's when she got the call from Wagner, Teper said.
Teper said the description of female body builders as scantily clad women was "demeaning" to people like Jennifer Whelan, who he said trains intensely for the competitions.
"I think that's pretty demeaning to Jennfier Whelan who along with Brian is a pillar in that community," Teper said. "These people are training really hard and watching what they eat and they're an inspiration to people."
Teper compared the bikinis worn by body builders to the outfits worn by many high school athletes like swimmers and track runners.
"When you're judging somebody's physique, yes, they have to be in bikinis," he said. "But you see bikinis everywhere you go."
Whelan said the contest would have been a boon to the city's businesses as well. The last event promoted by Teper, a writer for Iron Man Magazine and an instructor at Pasadena City College, filled up an entire hotel, Whelan said.
Teper said he was put off by the superintendent's reaction and plans to host the event elsewhere.
"They want me to have the show at El Monte. They're welcoming me with open arms," he said. "I don't want the facility if they don't want me there."