January 2012

C2'S BACHELOR OF THE YEAR 2012 - CJ Steedley

Author: Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Photography by Anne

He. He. He. She. She. She. They. They. They. I couldn’t get this bachelor to talk about himself. But, once we got his shirt off and had him doing half-naked push-ups in the photography studio (true story), he finally opened up about himself, his work, and what his heart says.

In his pre-bachelor interview, Charles Clifton Steedley, Jr. a.k.a. Cliff Junior a.k.a. CJ, told the magazine—and potential voters—that he is triumphant, ambitious, and hospitable. I needed examples. And much to my delight, he had them. “Triumphant? I woke up one day and just knew I needed to exercise, to do something. My friends Drew and Sol joined the gym with me, and I’ve lost 57 pounds,” he said. Steedley didn’t stop there. The slow exercise quickly became a passion for running, and Steedley has completed nearly a dozen races since, including the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Savannah this past November. Just a couple weeks later at the Bluffton Turkey Trot, the officials repeatedly posted the wrong time for Steedley. Never one to miss an opportunity, he grabbed the microphone and begged for bachelor votes.

It worked, although I’m not sure it’s the running that won him the honor. Perhaps it is his ambition. After starting his college career at Clemson, he came home to finish at USCB, much to delight of his parents, who were expecting the six-year collegiate to be a doctor by the time he finally finished. Nope. He just had a really, really good time at Clemson. When he did graduate, with a degree in business, Steedley landed a yearlong internship with Mortgage Network. As all good internships do, it ended, and he needed employment stat. Ever-ambitious Steedley posted his résumé on the USCB job site and had employers calling him immediately. In three short weeks, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry nabbed him, and he’s been in their employ about 15 months.

At the Boys & Girls Club, Steedley is the database manager, all-around IT guy, wire un-crosser, and master of the ALT, CTRL, DEL, DEL. He is also hospitable. Being a Lowcountry boy, born and bred, it’s in his DNA. Although I’d venture to say that not everyone’s DNA moves them to buy roses for every woman in the office on Valentine’s Day. No wonder they love him at the Boys & Girls Club. In fact, it is a former colleague and rose recipient who nominated Steedley for the bachelor honor. Speaking of honor, this guy is actually sharing his winning2 with the nominator—20 percent of his prize money! When asked (incredulously) why, his reply was simple. “Well, she got laid off this year, so I thought it was the right thing to do.”

Line up ladies. This here is a live one. His heart is in the right place.

Non-profit work is hard. You often play multiple roles, but as Steedley says, “I get to go to work every day and help make other people’s lives better. The Boys & Girls Club mission is to enable all young people to succeed. I am lucky in my position that I get to see firsthand the amazing support that the club receives from our community. It is wonderful how generous the people in Bluffton and Hilton Head are,” Steedley said. “I like living and working in a small town where I can see the impact that people make.”

When he’s not working hard and wooing the ladies in the office, Steedley loves the Lowcountry lifestyle, confirming that there was never a question as to whether or not he would come back after college. “I love home, I love the May River, I love the sandbar, and there was a lot to come back to,” Steedley said. A lot includes his parents whom he dubs as his role models and specifically says that his father is his hero. A Hilton Head firefighter for 30 years, Steedley said, “My dad is an engine, he just keeps going and going. He runs an electrical contracting business in addition to serving in the fire department. I don’t know how he does it – crawling under houses in July is some real commitment.” Kind of like running into burning buildings…

Our bachelor is a hard-working man, a family man, and still young enough for you to train him just right. At age 25, he spends a lot of time with his friends. He likes to sing along to the radio and can be found rocking out the driver’s seat while sitting in traffic. Steedley admits to living on the edge a little when he drives and checks Facebook (I guess it could be worse—he could be driving and checking a flask). Cottage cheese is his secret pleasure, which is certainly low on the “do I have to worry about this guy” barometer. What he really cares about is other people, like his friends Bob and Michelle DeCarlo and their 12-year-old son Nicklas who suffers from Juvenile Diabetes. One of the first things Steedley revealed in this interview was the bracelet he wears every day in support of Nicklas in his fight against this debilitating disease and his efforts to raise money to help find a cure.

I wish I could have uncovered some really juicy stories about the 2012 Bachelor of the Year, but he’s a bonafide good guy. Just ask him, he’ll tell you all about someone else, and it will be become abundantly clear where his heart is.

But just for a chuckle, I did have to force him to play along for a few “Ad-Libs with The Bachelor of the Year.”

In looking for a partner, the top three qualities I admire are honesty, athleticism, and a down to earth nature.

You will drive me absolutely crazy if you ever eat all my peanut butter.

Good BBQ gets me every time.

If my house was on fire, I would save my dogs, my keys, and my phone.

I always sing along with Jason Aldean.

The last book I read was How Successful People Think.

If there was a movie about my life it would be Forrest Gump…because I’m always running.

Some people say I look like Bob Van Dillon, the weatherman on CNN’s Robin Meade in the Morning.

My mom would tell you that I’m her favorite, right Mom?

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is put my feet on the floor.

The words I use most are thanks for calling the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry; this is C.J.

When all else fails, sleep on it or go for a run.

I’m spending the winnings paying off my college loans (after I share $1,000 with Debbie).

I will use the title as “Bachelor of the Year” to perhaps get some good publicity for the Boys & Girls Club. (We see a “Date with the Bachelor” charity auction in our future.)

Steedley has a good heart, a good sense of humor, a warm smile, and an entire year to use his “crown” to spread a little good will on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. I guess nice guys don’t finish last.

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