We received a very nice email from David Winchester with NAPL – Home of Professional Plasterers; sending us this note:
I need to send you this comment that I received from a friend of mine who viewed the blog about yourself. “Hi Dave, just read this post, wow what a guy. Is it possible to learn more about Randy’s history. What a really interesting gentleman.” Would it be possible for you to send us some more info about your life and your times you spent in the marines onto your life as a boxer and how you came into the plastering trade?
Well, Randy’s been called many things during his lifetime but a gentleman…that caught our attention! I wasn’t quite sure how to add to the previous article I’d done about Randy so…I’m going to pretend the first one was never written.
Hope you enjoy!
Randy was raised in Miami, Florida.
He’d always been an athlete; he was a pitcher in Little League Baseball and High School. At the age of 14, he threw out the very first pitch for the semi-pro team that would go on to become the Miami Marlins. He played football in Pop Warner and while attending Southwest and Coral Gables High School.
Randy reported to Parris Island boot camp in December 1963 just one week after his 17th birthday making him the youngest recruit there; due to his athletic abilities he did really well during that time and was awarded Platoon Guide.
He also came out of boot camp with PFC (Private First Class) and was given the Dress Blue Award given to only one Marine in the platoon. The Marines treated Randy as a poster boy for the Corps; so even though the Vietnam War was raging and his MOS 0351 was a Flamethrower, he wasn’t sent to Vietnam until his tour of duty was almost over; that has always been a huge regret of his that he never got to set foot in Nam with his fellow Marines instead he’d been pulled off the boat in Okinawa to finish his service there due to his being a short timer with less than nine months to serve.
Randy continued to play football in the Marine Corps, when he was stationed at the Marines Barracks at NSA. He was voted ‘Most Valuable Player.’
Colonel Williams saw promise in Randy and wanted him to continue playing football so when he returned home, Randy went to the Miami Dolphins Football Team during walk-on tryouts for a linebacker position. He was told he was a little slow for his size and they asked him to come back the following year.
Back home he’d set up a heavy bag and speed bag in his carport and started working on his strength training. During this time Randy’s mother, Hildegard worked with Baron Pate and learned that he was also a professional fight manager and trainer; she told him about her son. Baron would come by Randy’s house everyday after work for months; he wanted to work with Randy before taking him over to Angelo Dundee’s 5th Street Gym to work out with other fighters because at that time Randy only had raw skills and needed a little polishing. He forgot all about his football aspirations to devote himself entirely to boxing.
Randy also began his plastering career at this time. He grew up next door to a plastering contractor going to work with him as an apprentice. In those days, you had to be born into a plastering family or know someone to get hired to work with plasterers. Once again it would be Randy’s athletic abilities and drive that would set him apart from others on the crew. He would go on to work with many of the premier plastering companies in Miami and it would be these men that would go on to form his base of fight fans. Most would come to cheer him on and well, others just wanted to see the brash youngster get knocked on his arse; those guys would be sorely disappointed!
Randy was a good looking young man with a strong personality; the marketing and sky would seem to be limitless…he’d be given the moniker and hype of being the “Next Great White Hope” following Jerry Quarry’s path in a sport dominated by great heavyweights such as Ali, Frazier & Foreman.
While training at Dundee’s gym Randy had the opportunity to watch Ali prepare for his first fight with Joe Frazier.
His manager, Baron Pate would take Randy over to Dinner Key Auditorium to train and it was there that Randy would get to watch Joe Frazier also training for the fight, it was pretty amazing for a young fighter to get to witness.
Randy was so impressed by Frazier’s work out routine complete with the most outrageous pulsating sound system; that he took every bit of money that he had and bet it on Frazier to win the fight that night; making $300.
Randy kept working out and his following continued to grow even the press got fully behind the young fighter with the knock out punch.
These are just a few of the many articles written about Randy. It is remarkable to think that Randy would get up at five o’clock each morning to run five miles than go to work plastering all day before heading over to 5th Street Gym to train. If he missed his morning run, he’d run during his lunch break.
Randy was brought along slowly by his manager Baron Pate but the years of training and fighting would take their toll and he’d be forced to quit fighting in the ring after 15 professional bouts due to chips in his elbow; he still can’t straighten his arm fully but that hasn’t slowed him down.
Randy also learned that he had the natural ability to lead men, he decided to form his own plastering company and plaster supply house. He moved to the Florida Keys where the buildings he worked on can be found from Key Largo to Key West.
Randy ran the inaugural Seven Mile Bridge Run in 1982.
It was while he was in the Keys that he was contacted to do the plastering work for a national construction firm and he would begin to travel with his men; something he continues to do today as his plastering work has now taken them all across America and the Caribbean. He’s been involved on projects ranging from historic restoration projects to 23 story buildings and he’s been featured on Home & Garden TV.
Randy has enjoyed a long career in the plastering trade.
Today the guys like to concentrate on projects that mean something to them so we look for historic, traditional interior, ornamental and specialty finish plastering work. They want plastering projects that are as unique as they are!
Randy is now working with our son, Cody and the men are proudly passing their knowledge onto him; it is a rare education that Cody’s receiving learning from some of the finest men still plastering today!
Randy’s enjoyed a wide variety of interests.