Trainer builds up her resume

Ernestine Shepherd, 72, a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor, continues to build on her fabulous-at-any-age image. She was featured in the February edition of UniSun.

Shepherd won several awards this summer at the 15th annual 2008 Kina Elyassi NPC Natural East Coast Tournament of Champions Bodybuilding & Figure Championships held in Washington.


With an already-lean body, Shepherd shrunk by 12 pounds to about 118 pounds to compete.

And she didn't do it without sacrifice. She ate a high-protein diet, while watching her carbohydrate intake. She also increased her running.


Shepherd was the lone contestant in the 45-and-over category, and she won third place in the women's open category.

Shepherd said she is planning to compete next year.

"When you see these changes [in your body], you want to keep it going," she said. "I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me."

Yohnnie Shambourger, owner of Yohnnex Sports Inc., which puts on the contest each year, said Shepherd is the second senior citizen to compete in his contest.

Shepherd is different, he says. Not only does she bodybuild, but she's also an avid runner.

"She's extraordinary and she's very fast for her age," he said. "She thinks like an athlete."

Shepherd says she plans to compete again next year.

To see photos of the contest, go to


From staff reports

Gospelrama on the Web

Several months ago, UniSun introduced readers to Gospelrama, a blog spot for inspirational news and notes from the world of gospel.

In the past month or so, we've spotlighted concerts in the area, including those with gospel greats John P. Kee, Trin-I-Tee 5:7, 7 Sons of Soul, Jessica Greene, Maurette Brown Clark, Jonathan Nelson with Purpose, Grammy Salute to Gospel, Immeasurable, Brian Wilson and more.

On the site, you'll also find news of importance affecting the gospel industry, such as follow-ups to the tragedy facing the Rev. Timothy Wright, who lost his wife, Betty, and grandson, D.J., in an accident in July.

So if you haven't seen it, check out


Negro leagues players take the field

Baseball players from the Negro leagues will make an appearance this month at Aberdeen's Ripken Stadium.

The second annual Negro League Night will take place Aug. 29. Meet players Hubert "Bert" Simmons, Luther Atkinson, Eddie Banks, Jimmy Bland, Al Burrows, Leo "Sike" Burnett, Eddie Burton, Willie Fordham, Pedro Sierra, Bob Scott, James Tillman and Jim Weedon. Geraldine Day, wife of the late Hall of Famer Leon Day, will also be present.

Players are expected to play "Shadow Ball," a game where they take the field and throw a phantom ball around. It's a way for them to recall the good old days.

Many of the players are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, said Tonya Thomas, executive director of Black Athletes and Lost Legends Association Inc., a Baltimore nonprofit that is sponsoring the event.

"It's something that so many of them are looking forward to," she said. Baltimore was home to two Negro leagues teams - the Baltimore Black Sox and the Baltimore Elite Giants. The Negro leagues folded in the 1960s, in part due to the integration of major league baseball.


The exhibit Barnstorming With the Negro Leagues will be on display. Negro leagues merchandise will also be on sale, and players will sign autographs.

Gates open at 6 p.m. Play between minor league teams the Aberdeen Ironbirds and the Vermont Lake Monsters begins at 7 p.m.

For tickets, go to or call 410-547-7328.


To see a video of Ernestine Shepherd in a bodybuilding contest, go to