the photographers had to cave in to Naked Exhibitionism
at the 2002 Nudes-A-Poppin completely nude beauty pageant
I used to be more of an exhibitionist than most strippers. I was the only one to streak the college campus when a group of us went back to Wisconsin for a school reunion. Then there were those several times I went off the high dive in the buff at apartment complex parties with more than a hundred people cheering me on. Considering I wasn't getting paid for taking my clothes off, perhaps I should have been committed but for many years I've kept my naked body out of the sight of women, unless they were sleeping with me. Until I went back to Nudes-A-Poppin last July.Just outside Roselawn, Indiana is the Ponderosa Sun Ranch, the closest Nudist Colony to the Chicagoland area which advertises on its web site "Families with Children are welcome, cameras are not (not clothing optional)".
What distinguishes Ponderosa Sun Ranch from other nudists colonies is its bi-annual "Nudes-A-Poppin" Beauty contest held the 3rd weekend of July and August. No cameras would be allowed on Saturday at Ponderosa although professional photographers would be allowed to take pictures of Sunday's contestants from mid morning to early afternoon in isolated areas of the colony.
While having Continental breakfast and coffee in my motel lobby Saturday morning I was unexpectedly joined by Trace Grundstrom, Deja Vu Showgirls" ace photographer who had been shooting next to me only a week before at Club Cabaret U.S.A. in Kansas. "Why are you staying here twenty miles from Ponderosa instead of on the premises in a cabin or trailer I asked Trace?"
"A few years ago I stayed at Ponderosa," Trace replied. "Everyone had to use the public shower. I didn't want anyone taking pictures of me, so I put my shorts on when I went in the shower."
Everyone shooting for a magazine had to report to a building at 10 a.m., pick up his press badge, and have the early arrivals fill out releases. Roughly twenty contestants, both female entertainers and male strippers filled out their releases Saturday morning. Bob Ferguson and Kloey, a slender girl from Alabama, were there for "Cheri Magazine" along with photographers from "Club Magazine", "International", Mike Dunn who often shoots for "Score", Trace from "Showgirls", and myself for "Xtreme" to name just a few. We took our first pictures of the contestants close to the sign up building. Someone let us use his pickup truck for group shots in Ponderosa's parking lot, now vacant, which would be filled with vehicles the next day. One of the colony's members let us use the outside of his house to take pictures of the nude female entertainers. Another let us use his outdoor shower and Jacuzzi. After that, there would be no cameras, a rule that would be strictly enforced by Ponderosa's vigilant security.
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Sunday was open season for photographers. The new arrivals competing in the Nudes-A-Poppin beauty pageant started filtering into the sign-up building at 6:30 a.m. Eighty-eight "Xtreme Magazine" releases wound up being filled out. Most were signed by female entertainers, although more than a dozen male strippers competed in the male division.
The contest was held at Ponderosa's 65 by 120 foot swimming pool on a 100 degree afternoon. Once again Ron Jeremy performed as M.C. and although several national celebrities shared the M.C.'s duties, it was Ron Jeremy, all the way, doing the lion's share of the real work. The pool area was fenced in. Outside the fence over 2,000 spectators, several hundred armed with camaras, who had paid $40.00 apiece watched the female and male dancers performing on a large outdoor stage. Small platforms complete with poles stood just inside the fence. Dancers performed on each platform for the audience just outside the fence. To be allowed inside the pool area one had to be either one of the colonies members, an entertainer, employee of Ponderosa's, the boyfriend or girlfriend of the entertainers, an M.C. or an industry professional, representing the media or a club owner or manager, talent agency, etc.
The contestants compete for a wide variety of awards. For the top awards the feature entertainers are judged separately from the house dancers. "Miss Nude Feature Beauty" and "Miss Nude Showstopper" are the two most coveted awards for the pros. For the amateurs the most prestigious award is the five foot trophy given to the "Miss Nude Galaxy Club Beauty". Trophies are also given for "Mr. Nude Showstopper", "Mr. Nude Galaxy", "Miss Nude Petit Galaxy", "Miss Nude Rising Star", "Couples Nude Go-Go", "Miss Nude Go-Go", "Mr. Nude Go-Go", and "Audience Choice". Separate trophies are awarded the audience choice's for "Hot Legs", "Best Breasts", "Hot Buns", "Best undressed" and "Crowd Pleaser".
It is a mistake to dismiss Nudes-A-Poppin as a purely regional or Midwest contest. The demographics from my signed releases are as follows---Michigan (16 contestants), Illinois (15), Indiana (11), Iowa (6), Missouri (4), Wisconsin (3), Florida (2), Louisiana (1), Alabama (1), California (4), Georgia (1), Texas (1), and North Dakota (1). Moreover, Ken Shinkle, head talent scout for the Continental Agency is here every year. If you are either a feature entertainer or an aspiring house dancer anxious to get noticed "Nudes-A-Poppin" should be in your travel plans.
For Adult Industry photographers, "Nudes-A-Poppin" is a paradise offering virtually unlimited photographic opportunities of both established stars and amateurs aspiring to be one. Not only can you take pictures of entertainers on the stages, walking around the pool area or cavorting in the pool, you can also pretty much choose the girls who catch your eye and ask them for a more private photo shoot in or near the pool area.
One of the girls I drew aside to a small pool with a waterfall is a particularly vivacious Iowa house dancer named Heather. And after that, it was Brittany Love, who's rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorite entertainers on the circuit.
Another of my favorite feature entertainers is Jada Deville, who just happens to be Ken Shinkle's wife. Jada was one of several entertainers who passed out in this Sunday's scotching temperatures. For several hours Jada rested indoors, but was somehow able to summon an inner strength to come back outside to deliver a stunning performance-good enough for first place as "Showstopper of the Year." Brittany Love walked away with the "Miss Nude Feature Beauty" trophy. Although there were a number of very deserving feature entertainers and amateurs who didn't win the top awards, NO ONE deserved top recognition more than Brittany and Jada.
So what goes on behind the scenes here at the Ponderosa's "Nudes-A-Poppin's festival? I suppose it's different for each individual. There's outdoor camping back in the trees on Ponderosa's 88 wooded acres. On Saturday night there's an outdoor dance, which I attended. I had made the mistake not to have brought beer with me so I asked one of the male nudists if he had any. I followed him back to the campground where the tents were lined up along with the cars and pickups of the campers. We brought a six pack back to the pavilion where the dance was being held and ran into a tipsy Trace Grundson and Brittany Love along with several others involved in the contest. But most of the adult industry people involved in the contest had already gone back to their cabins or motels. I asked the nudist, a very large man, what he enjoyed most about being a member of a nudist colony and he replied: "I am so large that clothes don't fit me well, so I'd prefer to go around naked when I have the opportunity."
What I like about the place is the opportunity to meet and to relax with a large variety of interesting people representing all phases of the adult industry-respected professional photographers like Bob Ferguson, Trace, and Mike Dunne to men like Ken Shinkle of Continental. Then there's the women, from pretty amateur female entertainers wanting to make a name for themselves to feature entertainers. But the best part of it is, I don't have to run around the place nude to not look completely out of place here as long as I'm wearing my "Xtreme Magazine" Press credentials. So how'd I wind up making an exhibition of myself?
I'll blame it all on the heat. Sunday there were signs all over the place warning people that they were likely to be photographed if they went around the place naked. Saturday, the day before the competition, was a different story. The photographers were given abundant photographic opportunities but only under carefully controlled conditions in selected areas and even then only for a few hours until mid afternoon. The place was still functioning as a nudist colony with the privacy of the nudists being enforced by a vigilant group of security personnel keeping a wary eye out for unwanted cameras. It was hot and we had finished taking all of our pictures. Without thinking, I walked into the pool area, with my Nikon still hanging around my neck. Afterwards I was informed that I was lucky to have gotten into the pool area with my camera without getting a severe tongue lashing from security. But no one seemed to mind seeing the camera so long as it was hanging inertly around my neck. I looked to see who was in the pool and damn if I didn't see Trace in the water cooling off without a
thing on. Close by was Brittany Love and a cute house dancer I had taken a lot of pictures of who was from Alabama. With them was Kloey, the girl's friend and neighbor from Alabama, who had been taking pictures for Bob Ferguson and "Cheri". And next to them was Mike Dunn, who I had shot next to on a half dozen shoots inside of clubs. Mrs. Dunn who had just come out of the water urged me: "Go ahead and get in, Jack. Get in and cool off." I figured that if my camera wasn't safe with Mrs. Dunn it wasn't safe with anybody, so I just dropped my clothes off right there by the edge of the pool and joined the other photographers and the two entertainers. The summer heat had been stifling. With the exception of Brittany and Angel, the cute house dancer from Alabama, the rest of us had shot lots of people in the buff, but dammit, nobody was going to get us in their lens. Ponderosa's security would draw and quarter anybody who tried.
The rest of the Nudes-A-Poppin Jack Corbett series
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