If you've competed at, volunteered for or even attended one of the Pole Sport Organization competitions in the past year, you probably already know her face, even if you don't know her name. We occasionally, affectionately, refer to her as Mama Shay. Because like a good mom, Shay tends to just love on people. No matter who you are, you know that she'll tell it to you exactly like it is without sugarcoating it. She's the woman you want around when the building is on fire or Godzilla is on the loose - she can handle it with ease. She always has her shit together, and you really, really don't want to cross her. She's a force of nature.
Shay has been working behind the scenes with the PSO team for a couple of years. She travels from her home base of Texas to many of the events to help set up, tear down, coordinate registration, volunteers, judges, vendors, pole cleaners, gift bags, fried chicken, safety pins, you name it. Rarely seen without her partner in awesomeness, SPC 2013 champion Crystal Belcher, she'll be the one initiating a twerk-off onstage between categories, and announcing each competitor for the professional events.
In early 2015 Shay decided to hire a trainer, work her butt off and enter a fitness competition. For months, she would get up extra (extra) early to go on a run before the competition started, lugged giant jugs of water around and packed her microwaveable meal prep everywhere. At one event, after two long days of competition, we all went out for a big celebratory dinner. We stuffed our faces and ordered cheesecake for dessert. Shay brought out her "meal" - a handful of almonds. It was only days from the competition and she was determined to stick to the diet. Talk about dedication!
Just before the event, she asked us to photograph her in one of her costumes, to capture the results of all that hard work. As you can see, the woman can werk.
And of course, the post-shoot nap...