We are thrilled to have these Special Stars help us during the event!

 
David Rodriguez - Champion Boxer, Motivational Speaker, Author
David Rodriguez - Champion Boxer, Motivational Speaker, Author
Never give up and always show up. That was the early life-lesson to which heavyweight boxer David “Nino” Rodriguez most attributes the success of his career. Of his 36 professional bouts, he has an impressive record of 34 KOs with 24 of them being in the first round, a number that relieved Mike Tyson of his legendary first-round record.
Rodriguez was born in El Paso. He first hit the bags at age 5, and had his first amateur fight at age 14 against a Junior Olympic Champion, where he knocked his adversary out cold in the second round. He contended at the amateur level for 7 years, progressively sparring veteran fighters to enter his professional career. He beat out Manuel Alberto Pucheta by a TKO to win the WBA NABA Heavyweight Title. He defeated Owen Beck to win the WBC Mexican Heavyweight Championship. And he crushed Byron Polley for the NABU Heavyweight Title.
During training for the first of his 2011 fights, Rodrigues survived a brutal knife attack, the result of which was a near-death experience and a facial scar that runs clear from his ear to his chin. Shortly thereafter, he also suffered an injury to his knee. The attack had taken its toll on him both physically and mentally, so he had to make the decision whether to continue fighting. The natural-born fighter in him prevailed, so he stepped back into the ring. In the last 10 seconds of the last round of a bloody fight, David was knocked out cold. It was his first loss ever, and cause for an entire reevaluation of his life. The “Pride of the 915” now knew he had to give himself a chance to heal, so he set down his gloves.
Unable to sit idle, and with an ever-growing urge to assist his community, David began telling others about his story through an anti-bullying campaign. He speaks to detention facilities and school districts with a non-profit organization called “Lucid Love,” openly sharing a story of himself being bullied and in return being a bully to others. David has a newfound cause – and has taken his fight from the ring to the victims of this ever-increasing issue by raising awareness of bullying in its many current forms.

In November 2016 David’s book, When the Lights Go Out: From Survivor to Champion, was published. In the book David tells of his journey back from the brink of despair. With a no-holds-barred style that reflects his boxer's craft, Rodriguez reveals the thorny, turbulent past that pushed him not only to the forefront of his sport, but also into destructive behavior, addiction, and thoughts of suicide—and ultimately to redemption as an advocate for bullied kids.

David will have copies of his book available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to Rebuilding Together El Paso.

 

 
Andy Imfeld - Our Emcee!
Andy Imfeld - Our Emcee!

Andy Imfeld is the Manager of Promotions & Community Relations for the El Paso Chihuahuas. If you have been to a Chihuahuas game, you have seen him on the field orchestrating all pre-game, in-game, and post-game entrainment. Andy is originally from Burbank, CA and is a graduate of California State University, Fresno. 

Andy was a Star at last year's Chefs & Stars, and will be our emcee for the evening.