SZoner, Randy Rousseau, checked in with his EXCLUSIVE StalloneZone report of Sly at this year’s Arnold Classic! Here’s Randy…
I have been a friend of Tony Nowak since 1991. I tracked him down after seeing Stallone on a talk show wearing his orange and tan leather Planet Hollywood jacket. I just had to have one, and found out after flying to the first Planet Hollywood in New York that Tony was in LA, near me. Tony and I got together and have been friends for years now.
Tony has gone to the Arnold Classic every year for the last sixteen years and has a booth selling the Arnold Classic jacket. Tony has been friends with Arnold for over thirty years. Tony makes all of Arnold‘s outfits for his films and that’s how he got involved with Planet Hollywood and became friends with Sylvester Stallone and the other owners. (By the way Tony has said that Sly was the best always to work with on his different coats for Planet, he always wanted fun colors and to have fun with them some times paying over three thousand a piece.)
For the past five years my father and I have helped Tony sell the Arnold Classic jackets at the show in Columbus, Ohio. I have met Arnold many times there, but this year had a special guest that I or Tony had no idea was coming.
The show started on Friday and before the doors opened I went around looking at all the other booths that were out there at the expo and picked up a print of the show and flipped threw the pages and could not believe my eyes. There was a story in there about Sylvester Stallone coming to the show this year! I took this over to Tony, and he said he had no idea Sly coming. What a surprise!
So to my disbelief not only was Sly going to stop by, but he had his own booth. You could feel the excitement in the air. There were about six men and women working his booth. They told me that Sly would be by on Saturday for about an hour. I went back to our booth and told Tony what was going on. I than called my wife back in California and told her the great news. She asked me, “Do you want me to send the picture of Sly that my cousin drew for you of Sly to sign”? and I said, “Please overnight it and I’ll see if I can get close to Sly to sign it.”
Over the years I have become good buddies with the security guys who guard Arnold. They told us this year they were left out because now that Arnold was the governor he would be bringing his own security. They also told us that Sly would be in about 10:30 am and he would NOT making any stops as he would be here for only thirty minutes.
On stage they were having the arm wrestling, and in walks the team of security. They come over to our booth and tell us the will bring Stallone by after he goes on stage. I go to the dock to check for my picture that my wife had overnighted and there it was, great timing. I took it back to the booth and showed it to the guys. Tony loved it and said, “put it here for me to get Sly to sign.” Tony asked, “what jacket do you think I should give him?” I said, “the Joe Weider one.” Tony picked the all-leather $1700.00 ONE AND THREE OTHER JACKETS TO GIVE TO HIS FRIEND.
I asked Tony, “when was the last time you talked to Sly” and he said when Sly was filming “Get Carter.” A few years had passed and I was thinking to myself how good does Sly know Tony? I was about to find out.
Then from the back door in comes the security and Stallone in the middle. They go to the back of the stage, and the MC talks about a special guest movie star that is into arm wrestling and made a movie about the sport. And very loudly said Sylvester Stallone. Sly thanked every one for the great welcome. Sly talked about making the film and then shook hands going of the stage, and back down to the crowd.
Sly came by our booth and noticed Tony. Sly turned and yelled, “Big Tony” and gave Tony a huge bear hug. I was standing right next to Sly. He looked fantastic. Tony said, “I have some jackets for you.” Sly said, “no you don’t have to do that, but thank you very much!!”
Than Tony said, “This is my very good friend Randy Rousseau and he is the biggest admirer you have!” Sly said, “Thank you. HOW YOU DOING?” and shook my hand. Then Tony said, “would you do us a favor and sign this?” and turned the Rocky portrait over. Sly said, “Wow! This is beautiful. Can I have it?” Tony said, “We will send you a copy.” Sly signed it and then I asked him to sign the yellow leather jacket for my company Sly asked, “are you sure?” and then signed it!
Then he took some pictures with all of us at the booth and spent a good amount of time with us. Sly then went on looking and greeting fans all over the expo. He finally went over to his booth spent around one there signing autographs and taking pictures with hundreds of fans! Sly was in the expo for over THREE HOURS AND FIFTY minutes. They were blasting Gonna Fly Now, and Eye of the Tiger. Sly spent more time at the Arnold expo in side the building with fans than Arnold has in the last sixteen years if you were to combine all the years together in just one day.