Born in Fresno California, of Immigrant parents, JR is the second of six boys. His Mother and Father would move from city to city in search of work, they worked in the fields, with long hours and on a six day work schedule, So JR looked for attention in other places. Since the age of 7 he looked up to actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee and Tonight Show Johnny Carson. He was an actor at his High School and learned many basics of theatre there. He loved entertaining, and was the Leader of a Folklorico dance group. At the age of 13 JR Decided to join a band, in which he soon became the lead singer. His Musical career ended at the age of 18, when he decided to move to Phoenix, AZ.
It was in Phoenix when he made the move into Radio, by 1999 he interned for a local Radio station and soon was on the air, hosting a morning show and learning the trades of entertainment. In 2001 JR Began traveling to Los Angeles to film Television commercials and by 2003 he was on the air for a Television show in one of Phoenix’s leading networks, where he won a Telly Award for Host of the Year.
Currently JR is working side by side with an old friend, Vanessa Ramirez, co-hosting COX 7’s SU VIDA, and you can see them Every Wednesday Night at 8:30pm, online at cox7.com and on your mobile device, by downloading the SU VIDA app from the Android Market or Itunes.
Vanessa is currently a co-host of Cox 7’s Su Vida. She is a native of Phoenix, AZ where she graduated from Maryvale High School and Grand Canyon University. Vanessa earned her degree in Communications and Broadcasting.
Vanessa has been hosting Su Vida for the past four seasons. “I really enjoy discovering local events, places to chow down, artists and our community’s back stories, so I can share the information with our viewers.”
When Vanessa is not hosting Su Vida or modeling, she is the in-game host at the Arizona Diamondbacks home games.
Vanessa is full of energy and always on the go, but she makes sure to carve out time for family, staying fit and finding local gems that she can share with Su Vida viewers!
Chef Eddie Matney
Chef Eddie Matney came to Arizona from the Berkshires of Massachusetts in 1986 to open Steamers Restaurant. Over the years, Matney has been involved in a number of culinary adventures in the Valley, including the current Downtown Scottsdale favorite, Eddie’s House. Eddie says his cooking is a “Mirror of America”, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic; utilizing the many flavors that are native to classic American and Mediterranean cooking. Matney’s no stranger to the camera; he’s been a regular on local TV and has also appeared on nationally. Currently, he can be seen creating “Eddielicious” dishes online at cox7.com and Cox On Demand Ch. 2645.
All Things Pets – Fun Facts
The English Bulldog breed is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps and many bases have their own mascot on base.
The name “bull” was applied because of the dog’s use in the sport of bull baiting. This entailed the setting of dogs (after placing wagers on each dog) onto a tethered bull. The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor.
Their tails used to be docked to avoid taxes, and were often kept to a specific size.
President Pets – Fun Facts
|William Henry Harrison|
|James K. Polk|
|Rutherford B. Hayes|
|William Howard Taft|
|Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|Harry S. Truman|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|John F. Kennedy||
|George H. W.
In 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for his fourth term when rumors surfaced that his Scottish Terrier, Fala, had accidentally been left behind when visiting the Aleutian Islands. After allegedly sending back ships to rescue his dog, Roosevelt was ridiculed and accused of spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to retrieve his dog. At a speech following this Roosevelt said, “you can criticize me, my wife and my family, but you can’t criticize my little dog. He’s Scotch and all these allegations about spending all this money have just made his little soul furious.” What was later called the ‘Fala Speech’ reportedly turned the election around for Roosevelt.
Richard Nixon was accused of hiding a secret slush fund during his candidacy for vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. He gave a televised “Checkers speech” named after his cocker spaniel; denying he had a slush fund but admitted that, “there is one thing that I did get as a gift that I’m not going to give back.” The gift was a black and white cocker spaniel, Checkers, given to his daughters. Although Nixon had been in danger of being kicked off the ticket, following his speech he received an increase in support and Mamie Eisenhower reportedly recommended he stay because he was “such a warm person”.
On the other hand, many believe that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s image was damaged because of his pets. He was photographed picking his two Beagle dogs named Him and Her up by their ears. Much of the public was outraged and animal lovers spoke out against it. Others however did not understand the purpose of the uproar and President Harry S. Truman was even reported to have said, “What the hell are the critics complaining about; that’s how you handle hounds.” While it may not have hurt his presidency, this scandal shed a new light on the president’s image.
Chef Eddie Matney
Chef Eddie is one of the biggest personalities in town and affectionately known as “the most colorful chef” in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Eddie Matney’s approach to New American Cuisine embraces the belief that the “melting pot theory” applies equally well to cooking as to sociology. According to Chef Eddie, his cooking is a “Mirror of America”, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and utilizes the many flavors that are native to classic American and Mediterranean cooking.
Prior to coming to Arizona in 1986 to open Steamers, Chef Eddie co-owned and operated the successful Stockbridge Café in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. In 1988, he opened the award winning restaurant, Eddie’s Gril in Phoenixl. In September 1998, Eddie and his wife and partner Jennifer Blank-Matney opened a new restaurant, Eddie Matney’s in the tony Biltmore neighborhood of the Valley. In 2006, Chef Eddie partnered with NBA player Amare Stoudemire to open Stoudemire’s Downtown, located right in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. He also was asked by The Golf Club Scottsdale, one of the most prestigious private clubs in Scottsdale, to enhance its culinary offerings during 2007. Eddie has now ventured back to do what he does best; cook, and be an entrepreneur. The buzz abounds regarding his latest venture: Eddie’s House, located in energetic downtown Scottsdale, which just recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner.
Chef Eddie is also a co-host on “Your Life A to Z” on Arizona’s Channel 3, two times a month. Along with being dubbed the “Number One Chef in the Valley” for five consecutive years by Phoenix Magazine, he has been celebrated for his unique culinary style in a number of prestigious publications including Food and Wine, USA Today, Bon Appetit, Food Arts, Nation’s Restaurant News and Money Magazine. While in New York for his dinner presentation at The James Beard House, Chef Eddie was featured on CBS’ The Early Show. This is Chef Eddie’s seventh year representing the Arizona Cardinals at the prestigious “Taste of the NFL” event. He also found time to co-author Heartfelt Cuisine, which is a quick and easy heart healthy comfort food cookbook. He teamed up with Poore Brothers Potato Chips® to produce and market several seasonal flavors including: Chef Eddie’s Mediterranean Spiced Chips, 4 Onion Dip Chips, Chicago Style Pizza Chips, s Pesto Chips and Smokehouse Cheddar Chips. Sunwest Distributors designated Eddie the exclusive representing chef of Viking brand in the valley.
His colorful and innovative approach to the preparation and presentation of food, coupled with his bold individualism and dynamic persona make Eddie a unique force on the national culinary scene.
“Share the Passion.”
On-Site Cox7 Arizona Reporter
Marya Escobedo is a 20 year veteran TV Reporter, Host, and Anchor. Social media is another way Marya shares her award winning stories, as part of The Social Station Arizona. Her diverse storytelling has involved jumping out of an airplane, to covering live breaking news for National TV Networks.
Marya, a California native, is a Graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. She began her TV career at WHOI-TV in Peoria, Illinois as a Reporter, and returned to Phoenix as a Reporter/Anchor for KPHO-TV.
Marya spent 16 years covering news in the Phoenix market as a reporter in the field, at the anchor desk, and in the stations helicopter, Newshawk 5. Over the years she has steered Phoenix commuters around streets, as a traffic reporter, hosted Medical Programs and a lifestyle show, “Outdoors with Marya.”
Marya joined Cox7 Arizona and Beyond the Block, the Barrett-Jackson experience in 2012. Marya’s passion for cars began decades earlier as a full-service gas station attendant, where she pumped gas for celebrities like, Donna Summer, Robert Wagner and Frankie Avalon.
When not covering stories and events around Arizona, Marya enjoys running, hiking, traveling and spending time with her family. She is married with two daughters.
R Dub aka “The Taco Inspector”
Traveling the world in search of the perfect taco–that’s The Taco Inspector’s top mission in life. From chic Mexican cafés
in Scottsdale, to the dangerous side streets of Colombia, R Dub will not stop until every taco is tested.
The Taco Inspector was raised in Los Angeles, CA with stops in Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. In 1997 he attended El Colegio De Carne, in Guanajuato, Mexico, where he studied Tacos as his major and minored in tostadas.
Today, he is one of only three licensed Taco Inspectors in North America. Loved by many, hated by more (especially
those who serve bad tacos), The Taco Inspector is bound by honor and motivated by pico de gallo–to bring you the
truth when it comes to tacos.
R Dub also hosts the nationally syndicated Sunday Nite Slow Jams radio show, heard in over 65 cities, includingPhoenix (Mega 104.3FM) andTucson (Hot 98.3)
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
As Chairman and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Craig Jackson has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most respected car collector and restoration experts. Since his first day with Barrett-Jackson, Craig has developed the expertise that has helped propel Barrett-Jackson’s evolution into the world’s leading collector car auction and automotive lifestyle event.
During his tenure, Jackson has taken the original Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale to three unforgettable and popular destinations in Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Orange County. He is responsible for managing all aspects of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company’s multi-media empire that serves the collector car industry.
Born and raised into the automotive lifestyle, Jackson has grown to be an integral part of the car collecting industry for over 40 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jackson has shared his family’s passion and devotion to the automobile market. After his father Russ, and business partner Tom Barrett, founded the company in 1971, which included an automotive repair shop, Jackson climbed the corporate ladder. The result has been numerous Best of Show and First Place trophies, as well as an extensive education on classic car restoration.
Jackson assumed the leadership position in 1997, after the untimely death of his brother, Brian. Since then, he has constantly worked to grow the company. Not only has he helped Barrett-Jackson garner a reputation as being one of the best collector car auctions events in the world, he has also molded the Barrett-Jackson auction week into an entertainment lifestyle event filled with hundreds of exotic and unique automobiles from across the globe.
Through his impeccable attention to detail and with a reputation as a “rare visionary” in the car collector market, Jackson has been able to provide first-class information about the automotive business. Jackson not only serves as an advisor to many notable collectors and celebrities, most of whom attend Barrett-Jackson’s events each year, but has also garnered international attention.
Through Jackson’s role as CEO, Barrett-Jackson events has been covered by notable media outlets, such as Forbes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, Motor Trend and AutoWeek. He has also appeared as an automotive expert and correspondent on Bloomberg Television, CNN and SPEED.
Jackson’s strong commitment to philanthropy has resulted in raising over $45 million since Barrett-Jackson’s first car auction, with nearly $7 million generated in 2011 alone. He has received numerous awards for his contributions, which include the Innovation Techanthropic Award, presented to him by The Arizona Technology Council and NPower and the prestigious Men of Character award by the Phoenix Theatre in October of 2007. Jackson’s generosity has also earned the company numerous accolades including the Sterling Award for Small Business from the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, which honors excellence, innovation and local stewardship within the business community. In 2009, Craig launched the Barrett-Jackson Cancer Research Fund in Memory of Russ and Brian Jackson.
Jackson has been named twice to Motor Trend’s Top 50 Power List in the automotive industry. He has also captured the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Business Services category in the Arizona/Orange County region. This award is presented annually to business leaders whose integrity, hard work and perseverance create and sustain successful, growing enterprises.
In September 2007 Jackson sold a significant minority share of the company to Portland-based private equity firm, Endeavour Capital. The partnership allows Barrett-Jackson to pursue even greater business opportunities and with new capital for continued growth.
Craig Jackson’s dedication to the success and traditions of his family-owned company illustrates true loyalty to family values, hobbyists and the collector car enthusiasts around the globe that have made Barrett-Jackson a world-class automotive lifestyle event.
Steve Davis is President at Barrett-Jackson and serves as the driving force behind the company’s tremendous success in attracting the industry’s most desirable collector car inventory and retaining the industry’s largest and most loyal customer base. Steve’s responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day management of the business, with particular emphasis on the Consignment department and managing all operations related to auction sales. In this role, Steve regularly interacts with the company’s customers (both consignors/sellers and bidders/buyers) to ensure that the “Barrett-Jackson experience” is always first-rate. Steve first came to know Barrett-Jackson as a customer himself in the late 1970’s. As the owner of Valley Oak Auto in California, Steve has long been one of the top purchasers and sellers of noteworthy collector cars in the country. He has been a member of the senior management team at Barrett-Jackson since 1996.
Steve is a lifelong collector car enthusiast and has served in roles including a founding director and General Manager for the Visalia Motorsports Festival in California, which was one of the largest and most unique motorsports festivals in the world. He remains an influential member of the collector car industry, serving over the years as a special advisor to Carroll Shelby for the Carroll Shelby Foundations and Shelby American, Inc. His many personal accolades include being the recipient of the California State Senate Recognition award for “promoting the appreciation of classic automobiles through the Valley Oak Auto Collector Car Auction and Exposition,” and recipient of the “Legislative Excellence Award” from the National Specialty Car Dealer Association for his successful work in originating and promoting the 1997 grass-roots petition drive to exempt 1973 and older autos from stringent new smog restrictions in California. This effort became known as SB 42, and if it had not passed, the collector car business as we know it could have been eliminated in California. More recently, Steve received the prestigious Lee Iacocca Award in 2011, an award presented to people who exhibit “Dedication to Excellence in Perpetuating an American Automotive Tradition.” In 2012, the Armed Forces Foundation presented Steve with a Humanitarian of the Year award in recognition of his commitment to raising funds to support charitable causes benefitting members of America’s armed forces and their families.
A well known collector car industry expert, Steve is frequently quoted in leading publications including the New York Times, USA Today, Auto Week and Motor Trend. He also frequently appears in programming on SPEED Channel and is a regular contributor to a multitude of automotive publications with emphasis on market trends and the overall status of the collector car hobby.
Steve graduated from College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, attended California State University in Fresno, completed additional coursework in Management, and is a graduate of the T.C.P.O.A. Law Enforcement Academy.
Vice President of Consignment
Gary Bennett is the Vice President of Consignment at Barrett-Jackson, however he also oversees the Bidders Department, Guest Services Department, as well as the Insurance divisions within the company.
Gary has been a participant as both buyer and seller in all Barrett-Jackson auctions since his introduction to Russ and Nellie Jackson at their inaugural event in 1971. Gary joined the company in 2002, and he puts his many years of collector car expertise to work in the day-to-day operations of the company, as well as assisting on the sponsorship sides in connection with Ford and General Motors.
Involved in the automotive industry throughout his professional career, Gary has worked in many different aspects of the industry – including the restoration, aftermarket, and design fields. He started out as a founding general partner for BSW International, which became one of the largest architectural firms in the United States, with nationwide clients such as Wal-Mart, Texaco, Office Depot, and Applebee’s.
In 1989, Gary sold his interest in BSW International and began pursuing his automotive passion on a full-time basis. He started Bennett Investor Auto Auctions, which specialized in classic and special-interest cars, and also established Auto Connection – a highline automobile dealership with annual sales in excess of $10M per annum.
Broadening his automotive horizon, Gary began a venture with Lister – a European company – and became the President of Lister North America, a Jaguar/Corvette aftermarket tuner company which specialized in performance upgrades for those two marks. Simultaneously, he was the President of Lister Restoration, a premier restoration company which specialized in muscle cars, European sports cars and Shelby Cobras, which served distinguished clients such as Roger Penske, Prince Abdul Azziz of Saudi Arabia and Nubo Sawama of Japan. In addition, Gary also acted as the President of Coach Connection – an upscale motorcoach accessory company.
Among his many design accomplishments, Gary designed and was awarded two separate patents for the conversion of Chrysler and Ford minivans to be utilized as motorcycle carriers. He subsequently sold the patents for the benefit of manufacturing rear-ramp handicap-accessible vans. Aside from his love of automobiles, Gary also established a passion for motorcycling, and designed and built custom V-8 motorcycles which utilized the engine as the stress-bearing member in place of an actual frame.
Throughout his long and varied automotive career, Gary became an avid racecar driver, and has won many awards racing vintage NASCAR, Trans-Am and open wheel racecars at racetracks throughout the United States.
Gary is quoted often in noteworthy publications such as the New York Times, and has had various automotive-related accomplishments which have been featured in Motor Trend, Autoweek and Corvette Fever, as well as countless other print and online publications.