A big orange sign outside and a Texas football star inside caused a stir around the Westview Village shopping center on Thursday evening.
Former University of Texas All-American quarterback Vince Young helped bring attention to Crunch Fitness, which opened near the intersection of Waco Drive and Valley Mills Drive on January 1.
Young said he joined forces with Crunch co-owner Tony Hartl two years ago to bring the national chain of gyms to locations throughout Texas.
Young’s priority in partnering with Crunch is to bring fitness facilities to areas that need one.
“I told (Hartl) I would love to be a part of that,” Young said. “I’m very involved, all about the importance of fitness. Especially in my black race and culture, a lot of men and moms and people don’t like to work out. In my family, I always tell them, ‘Man, you have to do something.’ So, I just want people to understand the importance of your health.”
Young came to Waco to work out in the new gym and then lead an NFL-style workout for 50 social-media contest winners on Thursday.
Karissa Mendoza, who moved to Waco last April, said she was looking for a gym online when she found Crunch’s Facebook page and entered the contest. Mendoza said she’s not specifically a Longhorn fan but enjoys online contests and has won similar opportunities on multiple occasions.
She wasn’t sure what to expect from the Young-led workout.
“I do work out, but I’m more like a Zumba or boot camp person,” Mendoza said.
More than one former Longhorn and NFL personality made it to the new gym on Thursday as Waco High alum Derrick Johnson stopped by to say hi to Young, his former teammate at Texas.
The event filled up the parking lot at Westview Village and the lobby of Crunch Fitness filled up with people in workout clothes along with football fans that wanted to shake hands and get an autograph from Young.
McLennan Community College student Chris Reeves was a little of both. He, like Mendoza, entered and won a chance to work out with Young. Reeves said he appreciated the former Longhorn star’s style of play.
Of course, Reeves was quick to bring up the 2006 Rose Bowl when Young led Texas to a 41-38 victory over Southern California.
“I just love NCAA football,” Reeves said. “I’ve seen that game a million times, the Rose Bowl. I loved (Young) in college.”
There are other gyms in the vicinity of the Crunch location at Westview Village, including Gold’s gym less than a mile from Crunch on Waco Drive. Even so, Young said Crunch gyms are making an impact with multiple new Texas locations.
“We’re talking about opening one back in my hometown, in Houston kind of where my high school is at, in that community where there’s no gyms,” Young said. “They’ve got everything from churches to liquor stores, fast food, but no gyms.”
Reeves, who won his slot in the NFL-style workout a few days ago, was told to be ready to work out on turf. Other than that, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the event.
Young has led several such promotional workouts and knew how to cater to his fans.
“It’s something I love to do,” Young said. “Just putting smiles on peoples faces. Laugh and joke and give them a good workout.”