Athlete

Valerie Thompson – Worlds Fastest Female Motorcycle Rider

Valerie Thompson

My podcast guest today is Valerie Thompson, America’s Queen of Speed. Valerie is the first female rider over 300 mph, earning the title of “World’s Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer.” She posted a new top speed record of 328 mph in 2018 at the DLRA Speed Week competition in Southern Australia. Valerie talks about the difference between traveling in the States versus internationally with a team, trailers, equipment and dogs all while trying to stay focused on riding a motorcycle 300+MPH, hopefully 400+MPH next time.

“We take our Bonneville very serious…..for us it takes a whole year for all of the preparation, our team is working on the motorcycle two times a week. We’ve got a team of 18 people but not all 18 are working on the bike because everybody has a certain project that they do on the bike.”

A Quick Bio

She posted a new top speed record of 328 mph in 2018 at the DLRA Speed Week competition in Southern Australia piloting Denis Manning’s and John Jans Team “7” Racing streamliner.

Valerie is an 8-time land speed record holder with membership in seven different 200 MPH Clubs, one 300 MPH Club and lifetime membership in the famed Bonneville 200 MPH Club. Thompson was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2018. Valerie’s quest to become the world’s fastest motorcycle racer is the subject of P-51 Pictures’ and MN8 Films’ upcoming feature documentary, Rockets and Titans. Her many racing accomplishments have earned Valerie the moniker of “America’s Queen of Speed.”

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to ride a motorcycle 300+mph or want to hear about the aftermath of crashing at 300+mph you need to give this episode a listen. Valerie shares some great insights on what it takes to prepare for a long term goal that takes years to prepare for and only last minutes.

Valerie Thompson, Queen of Speed, on social media:

Valerie Thompson Rockets and Titans
Valerie Thompson starring in Rockets and Titans 2019

Pete Koch – Fitness, Acting and Football

Pete Koch oakland los angeles raiders nfl actor heartbreak fitness workout

Pete Koch is my guest on today’s podcast.

Pete was a defensive end who played five seasons in the National Football League, for the Cincinnati Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Los Angeles Raiders. After his football career ended he decided to stay in Los Angeles and started his acting and modeling career.

Always staying in shape Pete added personal trainer to his resume helping people get and stay into shape, including some celebrities. You can follow Pete on his website at www.petekoch.com.

It was great listening to Pete share some stories and he provided some key tips for us business travelers to stay in shape while we travel the roads and skies.

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“Make sure you get moving, at the very least you have accomplished something”

Pete’s BIO

YouTube interview show host, actor, fitness expert and retired NFL defensive end. Creator and Host of ‘Breakin’ It Down With Pete Koch’ a YouTube based talk show designed to inform and entertain audiences by interviewing thought leaders and leading experts in sports, entertainment, fitness and popular culture.

Born on Long Island, NY Pete began playing contact football at the age of seven and didn’t stop for twenty years.

Along the way he captained his winning New Hyde Park High School team, then his University of Maryland team to the ACC Championship and appearance in the prestigious Citrus Bowl. Pete received All ACC and All-American Honorable Mention honors. Pete was a First Round selection (sixteenth overall) in the 1984 NFL Draft; selected by the Cincinnati Bengals.  Pete spent four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, notably starting at right defensive end in their playoff run of 1986.  Pete wrapped up his six-year NFL run with the Los Angeles Raiders teaming with future Hall of Famers Howie Long, Marcus Allen and Mike Haines.

Upon retirement from the NFL, Pete transitioned into a successful fitness modeling and acting career starring alongside Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge, Burt Reynolds in Heat and Evening Shade, Patrick Dempsey in Loverboy and others totaling more than 120 Hollywood productions.

Throughout the years, Pete has remained deeply committed to maintaining his strength, flexibility, conditioning and overall health through regular workouts. A natural curiosity and commitment to ongoing education, drives Pete’s continuous research in the field of Athlete Performance. Self preservation factors into the zeal Pete brings to his studies and training, initiated by five orthopedic surgeries (due to 20 years of contact football). Pete’s early exposure and relationships with internationally renowned strength and conditioning experts Dr. Fred Hatfield and Frank Costello motivated him to continue his exploration of cutting edge training methods and techniques. He successfully rehabilitated from two spine surgeries, which helped him to solidify his ideas on the importance of spinal stability/core conditioning.

In 2004 Pete Developed a system of training that he calls Functional Advanced Sports Training or FAST, a melding of numerous scientifically proven training methodologies to optimize neuromuscular control and maximize athletic performance.  Pete was then called on to direct the training of a number of Hollywood luminaries including Tobey Maguire, Joseph Fiennes and Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro.  Pete is currently certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Sports Fitness Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

His FAST Company trains people of all ages and levels of physical condition to help them achieve their fitness and conditioning goals. A University of Maryland graduate, Pete remains committed to ongoing education and research in a lifelong commitment to maximizing human performance and health in people of all ages.

Landon Turner – NCAA, NFL and After

Landon Turner NFL Saints Panthers Seahwaks lineman carolina

My guest on today’s show is Landon Turner. Landon played for the New Orleans Saints the past two seasons and is now on the Carolina Panthers roster for 2019. He played college football at University of North Carolina where he played all 4 years. Landon’s senior year ended as the team captain, 1st Team All-American and he won the Jim Parker Trophy as the best offensive lineman in the country. After two years in the NFL and starting his third year for the Panthers we discussed the differences between traveling as a college player and the NFL.

“The hard part of being a college athlete is not having the opportunity to take advantage of internships and getting to know people”

We also discussed the role being a full time college athlete being a hindrance against getting job or intern experiences while in college putting the players behind their classmates that don’t have to spend so much time as an athlete.

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College Career

After redshirting his first year at North Carolina, Turner saw action in twelve games in 2012. He served as a backup his first eight games, before replacing an injured Brennan Williams at right guard for the final four games of the season. He would remain a starter throughout his four years. In his junior year, he was named 3rd team All-ACC by the media. As a senior, he was named consensus 1st-Team All-ACC and 1st Team All-American by the Associated Press (AP) and won the Jim Parker Trophy

Professional career

New Orleans Saints

Turner was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 NFL Draft.

On September 2, 2017, Turner was waived by the Saints and was signed to the practice squad the next day. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Saints on January 16, 2018.

On September 1, 2018, Turner was waived by the Saints.[9] He was re-signed to the practice squad on October 24, 2018, but was released three days later.[10]

Minnesota Vikings

On October 30, 2018, Turner was signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. He was released on November 8, 2018.

Carolina Panthers

On December 19, 2018, Turner was signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Panthers on December 31, 2018

Jake Zweig – Navy SEAL and Football

Jake Zweig Navy SEAL and Football

Jake Zweig is my guest on today’s podcast. Jake is an ex-Navy SEAL and D1 Football Coach. This episode is a two part episode. Part 1 gives us background of Jake and his mindset. Part 2 we talk about his time traveling internationally while he was a Navy SEAL. He speaks about his time working on the television shows and I also ask Jake how he prepares his student/athletes to schedule their time while playing football at the University of Illinois. His response is one for every coach on most levels.

Jake is man who has accomplished a tremendous amount in a short time and is just now hitting his prime. Jake attended the U.S. Naval Academy where he played football and wrestled. He graduated as a commissioned officer receiving his degree in computer science.

“My smart phone probably makes me 40% more efficient”

He served for two years before reporting for Navy SEAL training where he was named the SEAL class leader. Following his SEAL training, Jake reported to SEAL Team 8 in Little Creek, VA and attained the rank of Lieutenant.

He then went on to earn his MBA from the University of Michigan.

Jake began his coaching career in 2005 when he joined the University of Maryland staff as a graduate assistant working with the Terrapin wide receivers. He has since worked as an assistant coach at several colleges and is now working at the University of Illinois as their Special Teams Analyst.

His off the clock activities keep him equally busy. He co-hosted the Discovery Channel series called “Dude You’re Screwed” and competed on History Channels show “Top Shot” against law enforcement officers, military snipers and professional shooters. He still goes scuba diving and parachutes to raise awareness for veteran’s charities and just for fun.

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John Bonaventura – CFL scout and Dad

This podcast is with western regional scout for the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team, John Bonaventura. John has worked in the football industry for over 30 years as a player, coach, scout and administrator. He has worked at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. In addition to coaching, John has 9 years of professional football as an NFL college Area Scout, CFL pro scout and consultant, NFL combine director and XFL football administrator.

“What they don’t understand is the travel, the ins and outs of hotels, rental cars and the numerous hours spent away from your family”

A husband and father of two boys makes juggling life on the road a struggle at times and he has found ways to incorporate his family life with his professional life, a struggle most of us business travelers have experienced. Let me know what you think of this episode.

Dennis Franks – Getting The Last Laugh

Dennis Franks

On today’s The Travel Wins podcast is Dennis Franks. Dennis is retired NFL player, playing with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, and now an author, business owner and motivational speaker.

He recently co-authored his first book “The Last Laugh: Vision to Victory” with his friend and teammate Vince Papale. In addition to traveling for the release of the book, Dennis has over 2 million miles in the air while traveling thru out the US and several countries for his business and speaking engagements. He talks about the importance of fitness and good eating habits being essential for all travelers.

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Dennis played professional football as a center and on special teams for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978 and for the Detroit Lions in 1979. He also played college football at the University of Michigan from 1972 to 1974. He was the starting center in all 11 games for the 1974 Michigan Wolverines football team that began its season with ten consecutive wins before losing to Ohio State by a 12-10 score in the final game of the season. Franks was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference center in 1974.

Franks attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship. As a freshman in 1971, he played on the all-freshman team. As a sophomore, he was the backup for starting center Bill Hart. As a junior, Franks started 5 of 11 games at center for the undefeated 1973 Michigan Wolverines football team.

As a senior, Franks started all 11 games at center for the 1974 Michigan team that began its season with ten consecutive wins before losing to Ohio State by a 12-10 score in the final game of the season. Franks was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player 1974. Head coach Bo Schembechler said of Franks: “He’s the best center I’ve seen around so far. He may be a little better than Guy Murdock — a little better and a little quicker. He’s consistent”

While playing football at Michigan, Franks drew press attention for his hobby of figure skating. His mother had been a figure skating champion in Germany, and he noted: “The figure skating is a great help for me in developing agility, versatility, quickness, and strength in my legs.”

Franks was not selected in the 1975 NFL Draft. Franks later recalled, “The computers said I was too small. I just didn’t believe the computers.” He tried out with the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders in 1975, but both teams cut him during training camp. He tried out with the Eagles again in 1976 and made the team. As a rookie, he appeared in 14 games for the Eagles as a special teams player. During the 1977 season, Franks was given the opportunity to play at the center position. Following an injury to the team’s starting center Guy Morriss, Franks played one game as the Eagles’ starting center.

Franks was waived by the Eagles in August 1979. He had played for the Eagles for three years from 1976 to 1978, appearing in a total of 44 games. The Philadelphia Inquirer later summarized Franks’ career as follows: “For the Eagles, Dennis Franks was a bit player who made himself important to the team by sheer force of personality. He was gung-ho, articulate and hard-working. Whatever coach Dick Vermeil wanted him to do, whether it was to fill in at an unusual position or work out year after year just to sit on the bench, Franks never lost his enthusiasm for the game or the team. His attitude may have been his most important team contribution.

In September 1979, Franks signed to play for the Detroit Lions. The Lions announced that they would use him as the center on punts and on special teams. Franks appeared in 13 games for the Lions during the 1979 NFL season.

The Last Laugh - Dennis Franks and Vince Papale

Smush Parker – NBA and The World

Smush Parker NBA and the World

Smush Parker is my guest on today’s podcast. Smush talks about his time in the NBA as well as playing basketball in multiple countries. He shared his favorite place to live and work and some travel tips while playing overseas.

“Basketball has opened the door for me to travel the world and I’m taking full advantage of it now

Smush played for the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and played professionally in Greece, Russia, Morocco, China, Venezuela, and Mongolia. He is currently playing for Byron Scott’s Primetime Basketball League’s Los Angeles Superstars.

Smush holds FREE clinics for children interested in basketball while still pursuing playing in the professional ranks.

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BIO

William Henry “Smush” Parker is an American professional basketball player for Byron Scott’s Primetime Basketball League’s Los Angeles Superstars. Parker previously played for the Albany Patroons of the North American Premier Basketball. He played in the NBA, the NBA D-League, and several leagues overseas. Parker played shooting guard in college but moved to point guard in the NBA.

Early years

Parker was born in Brooklyn to parents William “Bill” Henry Parker II and Robin Royal Parker. He attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens, where he was a star guard on their varsity basketball team. He then enrolled in the College of Southern Idaho as a freshman in the 1999-2000 season and transferred to play college basketball at Fordham University. Following his sophomore season at Fordham University, he entered the NBA in 2002 but went undrafted. During his sophomore season, he was Second Team All A-10 and Second Team NABC All-Region.

Parker has one daughter and resides in New York City with his live-in long time girlfriend Naeemah Brown

Professional career

While he was not drafted out of college, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him for the 2002-03 season.

In 2003, he signed with Aris Thessaloniki of the Greek League (FIBA Europe), and helped them win the 2004 Greek Basketball Cup in the final against Olympiacos. He returned to the NBA in 2004, and played for the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns. He then signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer of 2005.

Little known entering the 2005 season, Parker gained recognition as the starting point guard for the Lakers under coach Phil Jackson. While many experts thought that either newly signed veteran Aaron McKie or Sasha Vujačić would start at point guard, Parker became the surprise starter in the Lakers’ season opener against the Denver Nuggets and went on to score at least 20 points in four of his first five Laker games. This impressed Jackson, and Parker found himself in the starting line-up for the Lakers. From 2005 until 2007, Parker started 162 straight games averaging 11.5 points. During the last two games of the regular season and the playoffs (2006–2007), Parker lost his starting spot to rookie Jordan Farmar. While with the Lakers, Parker clashed with coaches and players, and has even admitted to looking off Kobe Bryant and not passing him the ball nearing the end of his second season. Kobe Bryant singled out Parker as a bad teammate, saying in 2012 that Parker “shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard

On July 26, 2007, Parker signed with the Miami Heat. For the Heat, Parker wore jersey number 21. His production dropped off dramatically while with the Heat, with averages of 4.8 points, 1.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds, compared to his 11.1 in 164 games with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Due to a physical altercation that Parker had with a parking attendant in November 2007, the Miami Heat put him on paid leave to investigate the matter. On March 10, 2008, the Miami Heat officially waived Parker. The Los Angeles Clippers then signed him for the rest of the season on March 12, 2008.

On July 10, 2008, the Los Angeles Clippers officially renounced their rights to Parker.

In the 2008 offseason Parker was signed by the Denver Nuggets but was released on October 23, 2008, as the Nuggets trimmed their roster to the league-allowed 15. He then played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.

On January 9, 2009, Parker officially signed with Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, making him one of the better known foreign players employed in the CBA, which was due mainly to his exposure gained in the country playing alongside Kobe Bryant.

In September 2010 he signed a one-year contract with the Russian club Spartak Saint Petersburg.

In January 2011 he returned to Greece and signed a contract with Iraklis Thessaloniki.

In January 2012, Parker signed with Petrochimi Bandar Imam of the Iranian Basketball Super League. He later played in Venezuela, then signed with the Indios de San Francisco de Macorís of the Dominican Republic.

Karissa Cook – Beach and Volleyball

Karissa Cook Beach Volleyball AVP Manhattan Beach California Stanford

My guest today is beach volleyball professional, Karissa Cook. After watching Karissa and her playing partner play in the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach AVP beach volleyball tournaments I had a nice chat with her.

After a stellar college career at Stanford (graduate in engineering) and Hawaii (masters in engineering), she has made the successful leap into a professional beach volleyball career with opportunities to play around the States and internationally including Cuba and Russia. She shares some insights to what it takes to travel as a professional athlete.

“Just being on the road can be hard on relationships”

Karissa Cook on social media:

After three amazing years on The Farm, Karissa has decided to move to Manhattan Beach to continue playing on the AVP tour. She had her personal best year in 2018, tallying six top-ten finishes and one semifinal appearance.

Karissa’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Click here to see other guests choices for listening while traveling

College:  Cook played four years as a setter at Stanford, helping the team to the NCAA Regional finals twice. An engineering major, she left the school ranked seventh all-time in assists. She then transferred to Hawai’i where she played beach volleyball and received a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Competing with Brittany Tiegs she was the AVCA Pairs National Championship runner-up, and was an AVCA All-American. She ended the year with a 42-7 match record.

Personal: Born in Salt Lake City, Cook went to high school in Santa Cruz, Calif.  She was a member of Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 and competed with the USA Junior National Team in the 2009 World Championships in Mexico. Her father, David, played basketball at the University of San Diego as well as professionally in Australia while her mother, Suzy, played volleyball at United States International University. One of four kids, her younger brother Brian played volleyball at Stanford. In 2015 she was named as assistant coach for Stanford beach volleyball team.

Hunter Cure – Cowboy and Family Man

Hunter Cure

Hunter Cure is my guest on today’s podcast. Hunter is a two-time world champion steer wrestler and competes on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) level. Hunter shares the good and bad of traveling 6+ months a year with no guarantee of income while being a devoted husband and father at home in Texas.

“The humbling nature of moving up a level”

Hunter married his wife, Bristi in 2006 and they have 2 children. Both Hunter and Bristi attended Texas Tech and were members of the rodeo team. Bristi competed in the barrel racing, and she earned bachelors and master’s degrees in communications. Hunter’s uncle, Joe Howard Williamson, has won several world championships in cutting. Hunter runs cattle on his Holliday, Texas, ranch and provides stock for the steer wrestling competitions in San Antonio, Fort Worth, San Angelo, Houston and the Timed Event Championships in Guthrie, Okla.. He also likes hunting deer and wild hogs. His favorite restaurant is Outback Steakhouse, and his favorite food is steak.

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BIOGRAPHY

Growing up in North Texas, being a cowboy has always been second nature to Hunter Cure. He was surrounded with large cattle operations and multiple family interests which included a breeding operation, halter, performance and cutting horses. Hunter found his niche in the rodeo arena by first competing in calf roping and bull riding. At age 14, Hunter began steer wrestling and as they say the rest is history. Hunter was successful in the high school ranks and this lead to a rodeo scholarship in college. He went on to win the college national steer wrestling title in 2004 and then started his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rookie year in 2006.

In May of 2006 Hunter graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelors of science degree in Agricultural Economics and spent his rookie season on the road. In October he married Bristi and they moved back to the Wichita Falls, Texas area. In his spare time Hunter has been known to work on horse trailer interiors, while running wheat pasture cattle and helping with the families’ cow calf operation. In 2011 Hunter entered into the stock contracting business by providing steer wrestling cattle for Rodeo Austin, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

Throughout the year Hunter can be found traveling the United States and Canada competing. He competes at over 80 sanctioned rodeos a year and drives countless miles in pursuit of another National Finals Rodeo (NFR) appearance.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In 2009, Hunter qualified for his first NFR. That same year he won four out of the six rounds at his first Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR). He also won the Texas Circuit in 2009 which qualified him for a spot at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, where he finished second. Cure would go on to qualify for the CFR again in 2010. 2013 proved to be an outstanding season for Cure, he qualified for his second NFR, made another trip to the CFR, and won prestigious rodeos like Reno and Sheridan. Cure finished the CFR finals as reserve CFR champion. Cure’s NFR performance included two go round wins, placing in seven of the ten rounds, and finishing third in the average. Cure ended the 2013 season winning the PRCA World Championship title.

HISTORY

While Hunter’s rodeo career began roping calves and riding bulls, he’s been moving cattle and riding horses since a very young age. He even spent a summer riding cutting horses. At age 14 he tried his hand at steer wrestling. While the first few years took a lot of hard work and practice, Hunter continued to improve and get stronger. He made the best of his high school years by being successful at Texas high school rodeos in Region I & III. His successful high school career led to a rodeo scholarship to Howard Junior College where he stayed for one year before transferring to Texas Tech University in 2004. In 2004, Hunter qualified for his first College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming and won the National Inter-collegiate Rodeo National (NIRA) Championship title in the steer wrestling.  He later went on to qualify for the CNFR two more times, winning the Southwest Region twice and helped lead Texas Tech University’s Men’s team to a regional championship, as well as a NIRA runner-up title in 2006.

Team members included other NFR qualifiers Adam Gray (calf roping), Ryan Gray (bare back riding) and CFR qualifier Luke Butterfield.