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GLEASONS GIVE A KID A DREAM's Fundraiser:

Robert E. Ray

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THE STORY:

Robert E. Ray takes tremendous pride in sharing his age with others. 'Sting Ray' is a cool 73 years young; fit, spiritual and a true family man to boot.

Currently residing in Santa Barbara, California, he grew up in Arizona as one of eleven children. He got into boxing young as every Saturday night became boxing night with the pecking order of neighborhood contenders. All in good fun of course.

He fought throughout college and was quite good, always making time for surfing when he wasn’t in the ring. Makes sense why he calls Cali home these days!

At the tender age of 69, he got to chatting with his cousin, a champion wrestler, at a family event who suggested that he get back in the ring to show he's still got it. Along the way back to the gloves his cousin's encouragement and positive reinforcement surely helped tremendously.

So fifty years later Robert finds himself back in the ring and a powerful contender at that. At 73 years old, he inspires many who watch him box.

Age doesn’t much matter to Robert and as his boxing hero Muhammed Ali said, 'age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.' Robert notes that he feels 35.

While Ali is his hero inside the ring, his ultimate hero is his great, great grandfather, Edmund Ellsworth; a man with an incredible story of his own. After sailing from England to Boston, Ellsworth, a son-in-law of Brigham Young, led the first Mormon handcart company from the Iowa City outfitting post to Salt Lake City in 1856. It's no easy task to lead a group of nearly 300 people with 56 handcarts and 3 wagons about 1,300 miles. It's no wonder Robert holds his great, great grandfather in such high esteem.

The mental fortitude and stamina needed by Edmund Ellsworth on his trek no doubt trickled down to Robert in his journey back to the ring and the Masters championship. He's trained hard, finding alternating days to be the best method for him.

Along the way, he's enjoyed meeting many wonderful people in his training and bouts, people he's created long lasting friendships with. For Robert no other sport compares to boxing, he says it brings out a cluster of deep emotions that only could be achieved mano-a-mano.

Giving back has always been a part of his life as evidenced by his role as president of a boy's home in his past. As mentioned previously, he's quite the family man and thus counts among his greatest accomplishments in life his six successful children, their beautiful children and having a lovely wife and his time spent with all of them is his most rewarding.

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