It is, of course, not always the case but often I find that some of the best-loved FBBs are the ones who were around for a few years then "retired" for whatever reason while they were approaching or at their peak. It's not a theory I imagine would stand up to too much examination, but when I think of some of my "all-time favourites", there's Gina Davis, Denise Hoshor, Michelle Neil... All women who left us (or at least me) feeling there were bigger and better things to come from them.
Shannon Rabon certainly seems to belong to that "gone-too-soon" group. When you type her name into the search field you get her old profile pages - on AMG Lite, HerBiceps and so on - but you also find forum threads with titles like The Ten Sexiest Bodybuilders Ever or All-Time Classic Physiques of Femuscle.
Shannon was only around for few years, a state champion and lightweight national level bodybuilder. These were the days when there were fifteen other women in your class at national level, so to finish runner-up (as she did at the NPC USAs in 2001 and 2002) was perhaps just a little harder than it is now.
Shannon was only about 27 or 28 when she stopped competing by my reckoning, but her popularity among fans barely waned. On those old news groups, and then on the forums, female muscle heads remembered her. She was "one of my all-time favourites", she was "SO sexy", she had "the best ass in the world", she was "the Shannon Courtney of her day". Her reputation was built on those national shows from the turn of the millennium and the photos and videos shot by WPW (and Ray Martin) and the aforementioned HerBiceps. Sets that were shared over and over again.
And then, in February this year, new news!
Looks like one of my all-time favorites from the past has been back in the gym...
And only a few days' later, a link to Shannon's gofundme page was posted.
Shannon Rabon was indeed making a comeback!
That comeback took place at the NPC Jr USAs at the beginning of May.
So, has Shannon still got "it"? Is the Pope...? Do bears...? F**k me YES she's still got it!
Good God! exclaimed one forum poster, summing up the general reaction to Gene X. Hwang's photos of Shannon in full flow from the FTVideo site. Or as another fan (who was clearly typing with just the one hand at the time) put it, Holly SHIT!
Shannon was obviously the class of the field, such "a beautiful, young, vital woman with a thickly muscled yet still feminine physique" as one of our excited forum posters put it. But... well, maybe it was the close-fisted bicep flex above what did it. She came 9th. This is, after all, the NPC. You should see who beat her. Or maybe you shouldn't.
Instead, let's just keep feasting our eyes on Shannon, for Gene X. Hwang wasn't the only FTV photographer to point his camera at our comeback queen. Mr Annie Rivieccio also had a session - sorry, a shoot. And once again, the only conclusion one can possibly reach is that yes, f**k me YES! Shannon Rabon has still got it.
Guess who FTV have on the homepage banner right now!
Enjoy! (he typed, one-handed)