Author Topic: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History  (Read 312239 times)


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #450 on: October 12, 2020, 11:42:09 AM »
1954 Mr America - AAU

1     Dick DuBois
2     Gene Bohaty
3     Irvin Koszewski (Zabo)
4     George Paine
5     Harry Johnson (1)
5     Ludwig Schusterich
7     Malcolm Brenner
8     Mickey Hargitay
9     Dennis Nelson
10     Monte Wolford
-     Joseph Baratta
-     Earl Clark
-     Bud Counts
-     Bert Elliott
-     Ed Holovchik
-     Dominick Juliano
-     Ron Lacy
-     Ralph Mansfield
-     Victor Nicoletti
-     Jerry Ross
-     Roger Servin
-     Eddie Silvestre
-     Millard Williamson
-     Wilbour Wright
-     Felix Zabensky
-     Jeri Zuljivech

Most Muscular
1     George Paine
2     Irvin Koszewski (Zabo)
3     Ludwig Schusterich


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #451 on: October 12, 2020, 11:42:42 AM »
IronMan, Vol 14, No 2, Page 7, September 1954

The 1954 Mr. America Contest
by George Bruce
THE Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California, was a riotous place at about 12 o'clock midnight on June 26, 1954, as Richard Dubois, a handsome, smiling young sun-tanned giant of a man stood on the stage to receive his trophy as Mr. America 1954, which was emblematic of his being the best proportioned and best developed man in America.

The scene climaxed five long years of work and training such as the average individual could not conceive.

The Mr. America contest was held in conjunction with the Senior National Weightlifting Championships June 25th and 26th at Los Angeles, California, sanctioned by the Southern Pacific Association of the AAU and sponsored by the Southern California Weightlifting Association, Inc. It was fitting and proper that the Greek Theatre, a structure of Greek Doric architecture called America's most beautiful outdoor theatre, should be the scene of a contest to pick the best from among contestants whose strength and overall muscularity and beauty of body rival and surpass those of ancient Greece.

The theatre has a capacity of 4,419 persons. It is surrounded by trees and foliage, has a stage 110 feet wide and 60 feet deep. The amphitheatre extends up the side of a canyon 241 feet from the stage.

In the contest were 27 of the top physique men in the country including Gene Bohaty, Mr. Illinois and 1954 Mr. Jr. America; Malcolm Brenner, also a former Jr. Mr. America; Irwin Koszewski, Mr. California; George Paine, Mr. Eastern America; Bert Elliott, Mr. Ironman; Monte Wolford, Mr. Southwest America; Victor Nicoletti, Mr. Western America, etc.

Ten finalists were selected and after each had posed again amidst the bedlam of a partisan capacity crowd, the winning of the first four places was announced: 1st, Richard DuBois; 2nd Gene Bohaty; 3rd, Irvin Koszewski; 4th, George Paine.

The Mr. America subdivisions were held the night before in conjunction with the 181, 198 and heavyweight division lifting. Awards were: Best Arms, Bud Counts; Best Back, Malcolm Brenner; Best Chest, Dom Juliano; Best Legs, Ludwig Shusterich; Best Abdominals, Irvin Koszewski; Most Muscular, George Paine.

George Paine, who won the Most Muscular subdivision, has probably the greatest definition of any man alive today.

The trophies for the subdivisions were donated by various gyms in the Southern California area. They were presented to the winners by Mrs. David A. Matlin and Barbara Thomason, a George Bruce Beauty who presided as Queen of the Meet.

A large beautiful trophy called the Tony Terlazzo Perpetual Trophy was on display. This trophy will be placed in the Helms Hall of Fame and each year the name of the outstanding lifter and the Mr. America will be placed on this trophy.

The highlight of the Meet was a reception held in honor of all officials and contestants at Helms Hall in Los Angeles on Thursday night, June 24th. On Sunday morning, June 27th at the Carolina Pines Restaurant in Los Angeles a farewell breakfast was held for officials and contestants of the Meet. After a fine breakfast and a few short speeches the Meet was declared officially closed.

The untiring efforts of David A. Matlin and his Organization and Contest Committee resulted in an efficiently organized and smoothly run Meet. The Meet received the greatest publicity of any national event, and was presented before a sell-out crowd each night.

Your author greatly enjoyed being backstage mingling with the contestants, talking with them and hearing them express their hopes and fears as to how they would place in the contest and whether or not they would win. Anyone of the finalists could have been named Mr. America without too much dissention from the audience.

Mr. America Finals
Place   Name   Points
1   DuBois, Richard   68 1/2
2   Bohaty, Gene   64
3   Koszewski, Irvin   63
4   Paine, George   60 1/2
5   Shusterich, Ludwig   60
6   Johnson, Harry   58
7   Brenner, Malcolm   57 1/2
8   Hargitay, Mickey   55 1/2
9   Nelson, Dennis   55
10   Wolford, Monte   54
Other entrants were: Jeri Zuljivech, Millard Williamson, Felix Zabensky, Ed Holovchik, Ronald Lacy, William Wright, Ralph Mansfield, Joseph Baratta, Earl Clark, Bert Elliott, Bud Counts, Jerry Ross, Victor Nicholette, Dom Juliano, Eddie Sylvester, Roger Servin.

Subdivision Finals
Best Arms   1st Bud Counts
2nd George Paine
3rd Malcolm Brenner.
Best Legs   1st Ludwig Shusterich
2nd Mickey Hargitay
3rd George Paine
Best Back   1st Malcolm Brenner
2nd Ludwig Shusterich
3rd Dom Juliano
Best Abdominals   1st Irvin Koszewski
2nd George Paine
3rd Harry Johnson
Best Chest   1st Dom Juliano
2nd Richard DuBois
3rd Harry Johnson
Most Muscular   1st George Paine
2nd Irvin Koszewski
3rd Ludwig Shusterich


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #452 on: October 14, 2020, 12:24:30 PM »
1955 Mr America - AAU

1     Steve Klisanin
2     Ray Schaefer
3     Vic Seipke
3     Don Van Fleteren
5     Harry Johnson (1)
6     Mickey Hargitay
7     Jerry Ross
8     Art Harris
9     Gene Bohaty
10     Ron Lacy
11     Tony Silipini
12     Dennis Nelson
13     Ed Garza

Most Muscular
1     Ray Schaefer



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #453 on: October 14, 2020, 12:25:07 PM »
IronMan, Vol 15, No 2, Page 8, September 1955

Meet Mr. America 1955 - Steve Klisanin
by M Kirchner
ON the night of June 5th, 1955 at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, a young man by the name of Steve Klisanin experienced the biggest thrill, the biggest night of his life, when after two days' ordeal of posing, questioning and just standing around in suspense, he was acclaimed "Mr. America" for 1955. Probably no one was more surprised at this turn of events than Steve himself, for he had been trying for years to win the Mr. America title, or even win a subdivision, without success. He had won many other titles, as will be revealed later on, but this time Steve had been stationed overseas in Korea, and had but little opportunity to train hard for the event, and the trip to America, as you will see later, was quite an ordeal in itself. Steve was in fine shape but he did look a little tired and drawn. We believe that the scales were tipped in Steve's favor this year by the fact that a different method of officiating was used and different standards for a winner were used.

No longer does the title "Mr. America" designate the one quality, "Superior Physique". It also includes character, insofar as it can be determined, education, personality, and past and present athletic ability. While this method of judging and selecting a winner is quite new and still rather crude in use, with many rough corners to be smoothed off, the leaders in our game feel it is a move in the right direction. We think that quite a few changes and modifications will have to be made before it is wholly satisfactory in practice. Those responsible for these changes feel that a man bearing the title of "Mr. America" should be fully representative of the finest in American manhood in every way. Either that, or the title must be changed to "America's Most Perfectly Developed Man" or some other such thing.

So, as will be shown, while others might have had just as good a physique, Steve has a fine character (and so did others of the top men), he is well educated and has had to obtain his education over many obstacles, for it has been interrupted three times by the Marine Corps. He has a pleasing and likable personality and is an exceptional athlete in many fields of endeavor.

Steve Klisanin was born in McKeesport, Pa. 26 years ago and we doubt very much if his proud parents ever visualized their son some day winning the title of "Mr. America." In the first place there were no "Mr. America" titles to win in those days, and in the second place Steve was nothing outstanding as a boy, though he was never sickly or weak either, just a normal, healthy boy who liked to participate in all sports boys are fond of. He excelled at many of these and at the same time made high grades in his school work.

Nothing very eventful transpired during his early youth to indicate that some day he would receive great honors for athletics and his physique. He was an outstanding athlete in high school, participating in football, basketball and track. It was while he was 17 years of age and in his last year in high school that he started to train with weights. At that time he weighed 135 pounds. He certainly didn't look like any physique champion at this time. However, with weight training he rapidly gained in size, weight and physical efficiency. He weighed 155 after four months training.

As soon as he finished high school he went into the Marine Corps. He was able to continue to train, and in more months was up to 165 pounds and was already shaping into condition for great things to come, and people were beginning to notice his still slender, but very well proportioned physique.

He was discharged from the Marine Corps in late '47 and attended Kiski Prep, where he was a schoolmate of Bob Mathias and was captain of the football team. While here he was also voted "Outstanding Athlete of the Year." He then accepted a football scholarship at Duke University where he was captain and quarterback of an undefeated football team. He attended Duke one year and then because he was offered a very fine job with a mining company in New Mexico, he transferred to New Mexico, where he worked for the mining company and attended the University of New Mexico. Unfortunately he was ineligible to play football in New Mexico that year due to the change, but could have played the following year. While out there he continued to enter physique and lifting contests, winning many new titles to add to those already won and listed later in this story.

It was about this time that he underwent a serious abdominal operation and because he had waited so long he was in pretty bad condition. The doctors told him he would probably never be able to do much again, physically, but with characteristic determination and courage he started working out again with light weights. He completely rehabilitated his abdominal muscles in about 6 weeks with leg raises, and worked on upper body work thereafter until his bodyweight had come up from a low 150 to 205. Only a short time later he was again lifting and made an 800 total.

He was again recalled to the Marines and again his education was interrupted. He was discharged again in '52 and reentered the University of New Mexico only to be called back in the Marines again in 1954. He was sent overseas the first part of July, where he remained until the Marine Corps finally decided to send him back to enter the Mr. America contest. He was able to train in a limited manner over there, but from the time he prepared to come back, until the contest, he had very little opportunity to get in any heavy training. He left Okinawa May 21 after numerous delays, and went to Japan until the 26th, then to Midway the 27th and to Hawaii the 28th. In each stop it seemed that he was not going to be able to come on through in time for the contest, due to much red tape connected with the armed services (any of you who have been in the service will understand this). He finally got out of Hawaii after he had opportunity for one workout, and reached San Francisco the 31st. Upon arrival here he encountered more difficulties in getting a plane East, and found that the money he was supposed to receive for the trip had not come through, and since he had very little of his own money he was barely able to purchase a ticket east. He left for Pittsburgh the 1st of June, just two days before the contest would start in Cleveland. Arriving home in McKeesport (just outside Pittsburgh) he immediately set out for York, where Grimek gave him some posing advice (several of the Mr. America contestants had been training in York), then back home again, and at once taking a plane again for Cleveland, where he arrived in time for the contest. You can see that he had very little opportunity either for training, rest or proper food. By the time the contest was over he was elated but very tired. He promised to come to the hotel Monday morning for an interview, but knowing how busy he was we doubted if he'd be able to make it. However, early Monday morning we received a phone call from the lobby of the hotel that he was there ready for an interview. When we remarked that we hadn't really expected he would be able to make it, he said that it was one of the rules of his life to always be on time for any appointment and to keep any promises he makes. This is just one indication of the very fine character of this ideal of young American Manhood we have selected to wear the crown of King of the muscle men for 1955. We know that he will bring honor and respect to the title and will be a true representative of ideal American Manhood which we can all be proud of. The bearer of such a title has a responsibility thrust upon him that can tax the ability of the best, a responsibility that many are either not aware of or are not willing to accept. We have no qualms about Steve in any respect.

Steve is still single, though he has had some close calls with matrimony. When he is again discharged from the Marines he hopes to go back to college and get his master's degree, then perhaps playa little professional football until he has enough money to open a health studio in Pittsburgh. He is much more interested in conditioning and rehabilitation than he is in a strict muscle building studio.

Steve tells us that after football. lifting is his favorite sport. He has trained chiefly for lifting and has done but little specialized bodybuilding in preparation for physique contests, in fact, he has never been much interested in physique contest work and only entered at the urging of friends. It has never been a very great ambition to win a Mr. America title, he would much rather be a World Champion lifter, but since he had a fine physique he could see no reason for not entering and winning, if possible. He is not a man of extremely massive build but still has plenty of muscle, as his photos will show. He has unusually fine shape and proportion and outstanding definition. His arms range from 17 to 17 1/2, usually depending on his bodyweight, which usually remains around 185. He is 5'10" tall, which makes him one of the most slender men to win the title, still he does not look slender. He is very strong and has won many weightlifting titles. He feels that the squat is the greatest single exercise in existence and uses it a great deal when training for lifting. Favorite exercises are the press and a special exercise called the rotary flying exercise on bench.

Steve's best lifts are 260 press (270 in training), 262 snatch and 342 1/2 clean and jerk. Had he made all these lifts at one time they would give him a total of 864 1/2, which is very good for a lightheavyweight. Here are a few of the many lifting and physique titles Steve has won: Mr. Pittsburgh in 1949; Allegheny Mt. 181 class championship in 1947 (lifting); Mr. Allegheny in 1949; Mr. Pennsylvania in 1949 (also winning 5 subdivisions in this contest, which was the first time he had ever competed against Jim Park; Allegheny Mt. 181 lifting tItle in 1949: same in 1950; Best Back in 1950 Mr. America contest; Tied with Jim Park for 7th place in the 1950 Mr. America; 1951 Mr. Albuquerque as well as Mr. New Mexico and Mr. Southwest. He was the Rocky Mt. 181 champion in 1951; second to Chet Spittle in 1952 National Collegiate contest with 800 total. This was right after his recovery from his operation. He won best arms and best chest in the 1953 Jr. Mr. America contest. He also won the Jr. Mr. America title in 1953 and took 4th place in the Sr. Mr. America contest that year besides winning the Mr. Health title and 5 trophies at Norfolk, Virginia. At this latter contest he won lifting honors of which we have no record at present. In 1954 he won the Mr. Virginia title, the 198 lifting title at Norfolk, the 181 class in the Washington D. C. championships and was second to Jerome Schemansky in the 198 class at the National YMCA championships. He won the Mr. Delaware Valley and at Wilmington he won the 181 class title with an 830 total. He won the 198 lb. class at the Junior Nationals in 1954 with a total of 845. .

The above are only part of the titles he has won since about 1948, and constitute quite a record as you can see. In closing we wish to congratulate Steve Klisanin and wish him the best of everything for the future.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #454 on: October 14, 2020, 12:25:45 PM »
Let's Go To The Mr. America Contest
by Peary Rader
THOSE of us privileged to see the Mr. America Contest of 1955 at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland, June 4th and 5th realized that we were seeing one of the toughest competitions ever held in America because the top ten or twelve men were men of marvelous physique. Everyone of them would have been a credit to the "Mr. America" title. Our great regret was that each one of them could not share in the title, for we, personally thought there was but little to choose between them physically.

Forty-seven men were entered in this contest and all of them participated in the Mr. America and the sub-divisions. But let us begin a bit farther back. Your Editor and his wife arrived in Cleveland the afternoon of the 3rd of June after spending a week in Chicago attending the International convention of Rotary. We checked in at the Hollenden Hotel where most of the lifters and physique men were staying, and soon found ourselves meeting old friends and making new ones. As always in the past, we usually remained up until the wee small hours of the morning talking about weightlifters, bodybuilders and kindred subjects. The next day at 12 noon the members of the National AAU Weightlifting Committee and contest officials met at the Auditorium for a discussion of the Mr America contest. It was agreed that we must either change the title of the Mr. America contest to something like "America's Best Built Man" or make the requirements for a Mr. America winner more inclusive of other qualities so that he would be truly representative of Ideal American Manhood the title indicates. It was decided that the A.A.U. would gradually adopt suggestions made by your editor at the National A.A.U. convention last year regarding many features of the Mr.America event.

Since little preparation had been made for the changeover this year the operation of the system was undoubtedly rather crude. As yet no system has been worked out by which the judges can be guided. It was decided that this year we should start giving consideration to character insofar as it is possible to judge it on such short acquaintance for a Mr. America should be a man of good character. I will have much more to say about this in a future article in which I will detail the recommendations made to the A.A.U. and further suggestions for the functioning of the system. We also decided that personality, education and athletic ability should be considered. Another factor of major importance was pre-judging, which was instituted in a rather informal way this year.

As soon as the A.A.U. session was over the Mr. America contestants were told to get into their posing trunks for the pre-judging session. This was held on the stage of the theatre. The judges sat at a table and each contestant was called before them and was asked questions about his past, birth place and date, past athletic activities, education, and his plans for the future, as well as his present occupation. Before this the judges had mixed with the contestants, getting acquainted with them and looking them over. All this was done under normal lighting. Altogether this probably took about two hours. No voting was done at this time though we will probably do this voting in future contests at this time for it gives more time for the judges to do an accurate job than is allowed during the hurry of a public presentation. Even though the judges may have decided on their men, it still has to be worked out on a point system and this takes time and shouldn't be done at the show itself.

The first evening was given over to the selection of the Sub-divisions. This was a most difficult task. In the "Best Arms" division we had some very Close selections. Van Fleteren has some terrific arms of great size, fine shape and good definition. Schafer has some wonderful arms, and the arms of Art Harris are very outstanding, with most amazing definition. It almost seems this man may have more definition than George Paine. The arms of Seipke are very good as are those of Ross, Silipini, Nelson, Bohaty, Lacy and several others. The outstanding size, shape and muscularity of the arms of Harris finally won this title for him. Art is an Army physical training instructor. He weighed 136 when he was 18, but now weighs around 190. He is a good all round athlete. Art is only 21 so will improve a lot more. I expected him to place much higher in the Mr. America contest.

We had a lot of wonderful chests in the contest and it is very hard to choose between any of them except one and this one was Tony Silipini of Rochester. He probably has the finest chest of any Best Chest winner in any Mr. America contest. It is large, has ideal shape and is ideally developed. Photos will show you what we mean. Tony is a draftsman, 23 years old, and plans to go into lifting. He weighed 205 but usually weighs 245.

Don Van Fleteren, who tied with Seipke, is a big man with huge measurements, fine definition, and one of the finest backs I've ever seen. He is very impressive. He started training at 17 and weighed 155. He now weighs about 220, with an arm of about 18½, 50 chest, 26 thigh and 33 waist. He likes lifting and totals well over 900 and probably could become a top lifter of the world if he trained seriously. He has won many physique titles and was 4th in Mr. America in New York City.

Vic Seipke won the best abdominals and looked better than we have ever seen him before. We don't see how he can fail to win a title one of these days, a Mr. America title, that is. Just fresh from his victory in winning the Jr. Mr. America title, he tied for third place with his fellow townsman Don Van Fleteren. Vic is 23 and likes competitive lifting. Football is one of his favorite sports at which he played halfback. He is in the Detroit Fire Department.

Raymond N. Schaefer Jr. won second place and Most Muscular. This fellow has a terrific physique with large measurements, good shape and fine definition. He is only 22 and has won the "Mr. Heart of America" title. His upper thighs are a little too full on the inside for his lower thigh, and he should not develop his pectorals any more. A little more shaping up and he will be hard for anyone to beat in a physique contest. He has been training for 9 years and is a boiler maker by trade. Incidentally, we have gotten ahead of ourselves a bit, for the Most Muscular man was selected the second night.

The best back winner and best legs winner, Ronald Lacy was new to most of us. Rather short, very bulky, good definition and a very well proportioned physique. He has been training five years, likes lifting and has made a 750 total. He is 5' 8½" tall and weighs 185. He reminds us a little bit of Jack Dellinger. Strange as it may seem, though he won best legs, he tells us he has never done any leg specialization. He always had naturally good legs and his general training program brought them up without any special work. He was fortunate to win the best back for there were some men there with really terrific back development. For that matter there were some very good legs there, so you can judge that he was pretty good.

This concluded the first night's physique contest and everyone left after greeting friends and gathering as usual, in little groups discussing events. Finally the stage manager and building superintendents had to almost drag everyone out by the feet so they could close up, and so the fans left in groups for something to eat and to talk things over into the wee small hours of the morning. We met a famous old timer that evening, namely Ottley Coulter, who used to be a famous strong man about 30 years ago. Also had dinner with the champion girl lifter, Edith Roeder, and her husband. The following evening did not require so much time and the lifting was run off in a short while. As stated before, however, I believe a mistake was made in not doing the voting in the afternoon, which could very well have been done, for considerable time was consumed in voting and counting the points for each man, while the audience and contestants alike had to wait with nothing to do.

The first problem was that the judges had to be located at the side of the stage so that the contestant had to pose to the audience and then to the judges. The lighting was much better than on the previous evening and this helped a lot.

All the men were brought on the stage and there were so many that this had to be done in two groups. Then they were again brought on to pose individually. They were allowed about 30 seconds for this posing. Then the judges selected the 10 best men for finalists -- at least they tried to, but there were so many good men that they finally ended up with 12 men. These men were as follows: Don Van Fleteren, Ronald Lacy, Gene Bohaty, Ray Schafer, Dennis Nelson, Harry Johnson, Steve Klisanin, Art Harris, Vic Seipke, Mickey Hargitay, Jerry Ross, Ed Garza and Tony Silipini. These men appeared to be in the best shape of their life and all looked terrific. Every one of them was good enough to be a Mr. America. In fact many of the others who were eliminated were just about as good and it was a very unpleasant task to have to select just 12 "best" men.

We have told you something about most of these fellows, but a few words about the others may be interesting. Dennis Nelson was probably the tallest man in the contest, being 6'4" and weighing 230 Ibs. He is a TV repairman, was born in New York City but is now living in California, is married and has one child. He is a very handsome man, very well proportioned, and if he had a little more bulk and a little more definition he would be hard to beat.

Most of you know all about Gene Bohaty. He has been competing for a long time, and last year placed second with his wonderful physique. I thought he would place higher this year, for he looked good. Gene is well educated, is a chemical engineer and has written some books on cosmology, strictly scientific works. He is 36 years old and is a very good lifter, having won several lifting titles, and usually makes around an 850 total. Gene has won many physique titles including the Jr. Mr. America.

Harry Johnson, who always looks very good, though not as bulky as some of the boys, has great definition and fine proportions. He is well liked by everyone. He is 26 years old and a college graduate, was a fine athlete in college and started training in 1941. He is about 5'8" tall and weighs 180. Harry is married and has three nice little girls. He won the Jr. Mr. America title last year and has won many other physique titles.

Most of you know all about Mickey Hargitay. He has been trying to win a title for many years, and immediately after this show he went to England, where he won the amateur Mr. Universe title. He is a building contractor by trade, but has recently been appearing as leading man with the Mae West Show. He came from Budapest, Hungary a few years ago. He was Middle Europe Speed Skating Champion over there. He also played soccer football, at the time weighing 170, but he now weighs 218 at a height of 6'1½". We will have a story on MicKey soon. Incidentally Mickey finished high school in the USA, and speaks four languages.

Jerry Ross, who recently won the Mr. California title among many others, is a finely built young fellow who works in the movies, and has ambitions towards a movie career. He also is a lifter and has made some fine lifts such as 230 press and snatch and near 300 clean and jerk. Many expected Jerry to win but he is young and has quite a few years ahead of him.

Ed Garza from Detroit, who ,has won several physique titles, looked better this year than ever before. Ed is a very bulky fellow with wide shoulders and a huge chest and very fine legs. He has a fine, broad back. He does not have the definition that some of the others have, but has a very shapely physique. He looks rugged and powerful. Some of these days he will start winning.

That gives you a brief lineup of the men from whom the judges had to pick one man whom they thought would best represent Ideal American manhood and wear the crown of Mr. America. One of the judges told me that he felt it was an almost impossible task to pick a winner in that group.

A winner was finally chosen, however, in the person of Steve Klisanin. Second place was won by Raymond Schafer, who also won Most Muscular, which was voted on at the same time. Third place was a tie, with Vic Seipke and Don Van Fleteren sharing the honors. There was some talk of the judges voting the tie off on these two men, but so far as I know this was not done. and I don't believe it should be. If the men tied they should share the honor. This gave fourth place to Harry Johnson and fifth to Mickey Hargitay, while 6th went to Jerry Ross and 7th to Art Harris. Gene Bohaty was 8th and Lacy 9th. Silipini was 10th, Nelson 11th and Garza 12th. Incidentally, there was just a little over 6 points difference between the 3rd place men and the 12th place man so you can see how close the contest was.

Here is how the sub-divisions went: Best Arms: Art Harris, first; Don Van Fleteren second and Ray Schaefer third. Best Legs: Ron Lacy, Ed Garza and Steve Klisanin in that order. Best Back: Lacy. Schaefer and Harris. Best Abdominals: Seipke, Johnson and Ross. Best Chest: Silipini, Schaefer and Lacy.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #455 on: October 14, 2020, 12:26:18 PM »
Muscle Builder, Vol 5, Num 1, page 22, August 1955

Meet the New Mr. America!
Steve Klisanin Scores Upset To Win Mr. America Crown
ON SUNDAY, June 4th, at the Masonic Temple in Cleveland, Ohio, a fighting U.S. Marine defied the predictions of experts to capture the big bodybuilding title of the year, Mr. America.

The Marine, Sgt. Steve Klisanin, outflanked a field of tough competition to end up a full 5 points ahead of his closest rival, another dark horse, Raymond Shaffer.

In cornering the title, muscular Steve hit the top after 5 years as a bodybuilder, with his most important victory up to this Mr. America event being the Jr. Mr. America crown he won in 1953.

Now in his second hitch in the service, what makes his victory most outstanding, and one reason why the experts overlooked him in making their predictions, is that Steve is on active duty, couldn't devote the hours to training other contestants could. But, what he may have lacked in training time he more than made up for in exercise effort when work-outs could be taken, proving once again that it is the man behind the weights that makes the champion, with determined effort, plus a never-say-die spirit being the real secret of championship success.

In taking second place, Raymond Schaffer, made an equally surprising and unheralded showing to win by a comfortable margin over this year's Jr. Mr. America Vic Siepke who was voted a tie for third with Don Van Fleteran. Harry Johnson, who won the Eastern Division Jr. Mr. America in 1954 was 4th.

Subdivision trophies were well distributed with Raymond Shaffer taking Mst Muscular. Klisanin gathered up the Best Abdominals; Anthonly Sillipini, Chest; Arthur Harris, Arms; while the West Coast's Ron Lacy walked off with the Best Legs and then made it a double victory by capturing Best Back as well.

The weightlifting competition which was a part of this same show saw powerful Paul Anderson on a record breaking spree with a world record clean and jerk of 436 pounds and a world record total in the three Olympic Lifts of 1160 pounds.

The show was sponsored by Joe Raymond, popular Cleveland Gym owner and illustrating this article are some highlights to give you a ringside seat at this important event.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #456 on: October 14, 2020, 12:26:59 PM »
1956 Mr America - AAU

1     Ray Schaefer
2     Ron Lacy
3     Gene Bohaty
4     Art Harris
5     Vic Seipke
6     Dean Higuchi
6     Harry Johnson (1)
8     Robert Hinds
9     Tim Sweeney (1)
10     Joe Lazzaro (1)
11     Pete Ganios
12     George Jones (1)
13     Bruce Randall
14     John Leahy
15     Lou Degni
16     Edward Chrupcala
17     Joe Mauri
18     Gene Wells
19     R Berenguer
20     Tom Sansone
21     Constantine Kosiras
22     Frederick Coe
23     Len Bosland

Most Muscular
1     Art Harris
2     Ray Schaefer
3     Robert Hinds


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #457 on: October 14, 2020, 12:27:47 PM »
Behind The Scenes
Mr. America 1956
photos and text by Abe Goldberg
A greatly improved Ray Schaefer wins top award!
Sensational Art Harris cops Most Muscular.
Ron Lacy corners second place - seems like sure winner for next year.
Newcomer Bob Hines makes brilliant showing.
Read all about it here...
THERE WERE THRILLS by the hundreds, excitement which reached the boiling point and a really tough job for the judges in the 1956 Mr. America Contest. Held on June 1 and 2nd at the University of Pennsylvania Palestra, Philadelphia, the event will go down in bodybuilding history as one of the most brilliant since the first Mr. America was crowned in 1939.

Imagine if you can such top stars as the giant Art Harris, steel-muscled Gene Bohaty, popular Lou Degni, perfectly-proportioned Harry Johnson, mighty Ron Lacy, fabulous Ray Schaefer, an improved Vic Seipke and handsome Tim Sweeney lined up on one stage interspersed with sensational newcomers like Robert Hines, and you'll easily understand why a mere 9 points separated the winner from the 7th place contestant.

When the score cards of the judges were finally tablulated, Ray Schaefer, who won most muscular award in the 1955 contest, was announced as being Mr. America 1956! Hot behind him was Ronald Lacy 2nd, Gene Bohaty 3rd, Art Harris 4th, Vic Seipke 5th and Harry Johnson 6th.

In the Most Muscular Division, the judging was even closer. Art Harris was 1st with Ray Schaefer 4/10ths of a point behind for 2nd while my pupil Robert Hines lived up to my predictio in a recent article, by capturing 3rd in his first contest.

With Harris spending the last month conditioning himself at my gym and Hines being a steady member for the past year, I had reason to be pleased with the showing of my men.

With staff photographer Bob Delmonteque handling the contest from the front stage, I spent my time snapping 'behind the scenes' incidents mainly, and feel these will interest the reader.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #458 on: October 14, 2020, 12:28:26 PM »
Muslce Power, Vol 19 No 7, Page 10, August 1956

The 1956 Mr. America Contest
by Muscle Powers Roving Reporter
Senior National Weightlifting Championships
THE 1956 Mr. America Contest held in the University of Pennsylvania had perhaps the toughest competition of all and ended with 23 year old Ray Schaefer, Korean War Veteran as Bodybuilding King Of The Year.

Ray, a boiler maker by trade, took two months off prior to the contest for intensive training and he certainly showed great improvement over last year when he came second. His added bulk and muscularity was most impressive.

Ron Lacy, the muscular marvel from Lexington, Kentucky, placed second and will certainly be tough to beat in 1957. 38 year old mathematical genius Gene Bohaty took third place honors.

Fourth place went to Arthur Harris who should have been next to Schaefer in my opinion. Art's posing brought down the house. His definition and bulk is amazing and no one was surprised when he took Most Muscular Honors, beating the Mr. America winner, Ray Schaefer.

Despite the fact that Vic Seipke was better than ever, he could only place 5th, a tribute to the caliber of the leading contestants. Harry Johnson, who also looked terrific placed 6th while Tony Silipini came in 5th. Tony would have walked away with some Special Division awards had these been held.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #459 on: October 14, 2020, 12:29:16 PM »
1957 Mr America - AAU

1     Ron Lacy
2     Gene Bohaty
3     Harry Johnson (1)
4     Tom Sansone
5     Bill Golumbick
6     Bruce Randall

Most Muscular
1     Ron Lacy


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #460 on: October 14, 2020, 12:29:48 PM »
ronMan, Vol 17, No 2, Page 17, September 1957

Ron Lacy, Mr. America
Bohaty Second, Johnson Third
by Alan O'Brien
FROM the first moment that Ronald "Spec" Lacy stepped upon the stage at the big new Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida, it was evident to everyone that here was "Mr. America for 1957". They were looking at an athlete, gentleman and a scholar. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Ron now makes his home in Lexington, deep in the heart of the Blue Grass country. For the past year he has devoted a good deal of his training to the 3 olympic lifts and feels that this type of a program was the biggest asset in helping, to develop his fine physique. Recently he totaled around 850 pounds as a light-heavyweight and that is really fine lifting.

After the lifting the first day we all got a good chance to see the contestants as the only subdivision was held, that being the "Most Muscular" man in America for 1957. Top award went to Ron Lacy. He really had the "muscles" and fine proportions to go with it.

All of the judges which included Karo Whitfield, John Terpak, Bob Hoffman, Al Christensen, Jack Ayers, Steve Klisanin and myself, agreed that the winner was one of the most symmetrically built men in the world.

The new system of scoring was used and proved very successful. There were 7 judges and each could give from one to twenty points per man. Five points for muscular development, 5 points for symmetry and proportion, 5 points for general appearance, and 5 points for athletic ability. The latter points were scored at the interviews which were held prior to the actual judging on the posing platform. If a man was a good weightlifter and could do well on the lifts he was usually awarded the full 5 points. Many of the fellows had played college football and were good at other sports so this helped them to get as many points as possible. Also at the interviews it gave the judges a chance to talk with the contestants and find out about their education and general background. Also 5 points were judged for muscular development at the sub-division so that only left 10 points to be awarded at the final session where the fellows were scored under the posing lights.

As usual the high and low score for each man was eliminated and that left a total from 1 to 100 points that a contestant could receive.

One of the contestants entered was big Bruce Randall, who once weighed over 400 pounds. Last year he was 187 and this year he entered at 230 pounds. It was interesting talking to him at the interview as he told us how and why he had jumped up and down with his bodyweight. When he weighed around 400 he pressed 370 which is really something. He looked very good under the lights but his upper body overshadowed his legs somewhat and he must have at least a 52 inch chest. Fifth place went to Bill Golumbick of California, present holder of the "Mr. Pacific Coast" title. Bill is quite short and possessed a fine set of abdominals but will need a little more muscular size and if he gets this he is sure to place high next year.

Fourth place was awarded to Tom Sansone from New York. Here is a fellow who has improved very fast and had a very good posing routine and fine proportions plus good muscular size. He has won a good many titles up in the east and is quite an athlete on top of that. If memory serves me correct he was second or third in the sub-division.

Third place went to a real southern gentleman by the name of Harry Johnson from Atlanta, Georgia. Harry improves every year. This year he really had more size than ever before and if his legs would just grow a little more he is sure to win the title someday soon. I, for one, hope he keeps in shape and will compete again next year as he certainly has the background to be a "Mr. America".

Second place went to Gene Bohaty from Chicago. Gene has taken a big interest in lifting and at the Junior Nationals in El Paso pressed a fine 280 pounds in winning the gold medal for the heavyweight class. He had his bodyweight up around 215 in May and was now about 195 and seemed to be in the best shape of his life. He will be my choice to take the title next year. A lot of the fellows have had good luck in making gains recently by jumping up in bodyweight and doing some lifting and then training hard for about 6 weeks prior to a physique contest, cutting the weight down so as to be in good shape for the event. By the way, if you haven't read Gene's book on the "Beginning and End of the Universe", be sure to do so. His latest is, "How to Cure the Common Cold". His ideas are very good and will give you a few hours of good reading enjoyment and will leave you with something to think about. Write to him in care of the Irving Park YMCA in Chicago.

Then, as mentioned, the big prize went to Ron Lacy. Everyone agreed that he was tops and the applause could really be heard and lots of handshakes were in store for him after the presentation. I hope he is able to enter the Mr. Universe contest, as he should do very well in international competition. He plans to resume lifting again and will enter the Senior Nationals next year. Ron also talked to me about getting the Junior Nationals in Lexington for 1958 and we hope he is successful.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #461 on: October 14, 2020, 12:30:18 PM »
Muslce Power, Vol 20 No 8, Page 25, November 1957

Ron Lacy Gains Double Victory at Daytona
"Most Muscular" and "Mr. America" Title Fall to 188 lb. Kentucky Jitterbug in Two-day Muscle Contest
by Charles Coster
FOR five years Ronald C. Lacy hoped and waited to win the MR. AMERICA crown before success came his way.

Via the underground we had been 'tipped' as to the probable winner for 1957 long before this contest took place, but not many people dreamed he would take the "Most Muscular" title as well because of his lack of real bodyweight.

The spacious Peabody Auditorium housed an ample, if non-critical audience, and their enthusiasm for well-muscled suntanned bodies could not be mistaken.

Ron Lacy is 27 years old, blond, with a golden colored skin. He works as a physical therapist at the University of Kentucky.

First three in the 'Most Muscular' event were 1st R. Lacy, 2nd T. P. Sansone, 3rd Gene Bohaty.

Sansone appeared to be substantially more muscular than Lacy because of his 6' 0" Height, 19" Arms and near 50" Chest.

Gene Bohaty has had a long association with weight-training, is 40 years of age, and looked extremely well. His good looks, lively personality, and well known lifting ability made him popular with the crowd.

The number of Most Muscular entries was somewhat lower than usual (17) and after the first eight or nine places - the fall away in quality was somewhat noticeable.

Many were interested to see Bruce Randall, the lifter who once weighted nearly 400 lbs., who has now reduced to a hard muscular 195 lbs.

Another bodybuilder showing up well for bulk, definition, and general carriage - was Pete Ganios of New York, who had taken off nearly 20 lbs. of weight for the two contests.

Lacy was delighted when the result of the 'Most Muscular' event was made known and behind the scenes cameras clicked and autograph hunters worked overtime.

He poses well, moves smoothly, is completely at home in front of an audience, and gives you the impression of being a real athlete.

These attributes of course enable him to make the most of himself . . . his well proportioned body conveying an impression of greater height and weight than actually were the case.

So ended the 'Most Muscular' event and the first leg of the National Olympic Lifting Championship - at midnight, which meant that press photographers and radio interviewers had to rush their work through pretty fast to meet commitments.

The Judges for the Most Muscular event were: Al Christiansen, John Terlazzo, Bob Hoffman, Leopoldo DeLeon, Alan O'Brien, Johnny Terpak and Enrico Jahne.

The main MR. AMERICA contest was held the following day, after the conclusion of the Heavyweight Olympic Lifting (June 23rd).

Entries were about the same as for the previous evening. Here are the placings of the first five Mr. America contestants: 1st Ron Lacy, 2nd Gene Bohaty, 3rd Harry Johnson, 4th Thomas P. Sansone, 5th Bill Golumbick.

The Mr. America judges were not announced to the audience, but they were probably similar to those for the Most Muscular event. There was a little delay in announcing the winner -- and certain sections of the crowd started to shout for Lacy.

The result was well received (with a little booing from those humorously inclined) while those in the audience not expert in such matters were content to learn from the experience.

As soon as the first three men mounted the rostrum - the crowd surged towards the footlights where the photographers were shooting pictures.

Muscles - tanned to a golden hue from sun-drenched Daytona beaches . . looked superb under arc-lights, as the three lucky winners gave the crowd everything they had in a sequence of streamlined poses that lasted for many minutes.

Muscles and tendons writhed and twisted at maximum capacity as cameras flashed and cine-films whirred - perpetuating the occasion.

These rare and brief moments are always 'great'. For the contestants it symbolized the climax of long arduous weeks of most careful and scientific preparation, and the zest of the audience helped them recapture some of the 'magic' they had maybe lost during those exacting final training sessions.

At such a time an audience can be lifted to a state of exhalted fervor -- and the well produced Daytona Beach production was no exception to the rule.

These contests are no longer limited to the 'mere Muscle' alone. All entrants at these affairs have to satisfy the judges about other things also.

They have to be tested upon -- eyesight, hearing, hair condition, general looks, teeth, skin texture, athletic ability, and general intelligence . . . as well as overall musculature. If you can pass all these test with flying colors - you are pretty good.

I feel that there will be no complaints about the 1957 Mr. America. He is perhaps not the greatest we have seen, when compared with the Grimek and Reeves era, but he is certainly a good titleholder.

Ron is not tall or heavy, is an Olympic lifter as well as a bodybuilder, and first developed an interest win weights about five years ago.

He is a good football player and sprinter -- as well as being a jitterbug enthusiast.

Past-times like these have probably influenced the grace and power of his leg development, trim waistline, and easy athletic carriage.

But for the full Ron Lacy story - you will have to wait a little longer. Next month we hope to tell you about him in Muscle Builder, including the exercises and weights he uses, together with his system of training, which is identical with the modern methods advocated by the Weider System in our magazines for so long.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #462 on: October 15, 2020, 11:59:54 AM »
1958 Mr America - AAU

1     Tom Sansone
2     Lynn Lyman
3     Gene Bohaty
4     Robert Walker (1)
5     Fred Schutz
6     Earl Clark
7     Vern Weaver
8     Ray Routledge
9     Bill Golumbick
9     Sam Martin
9     Chuck Sipes
12     Joseph Baratta
13     Roy Smith Jr
14     Ed Bailey (1)
14     Everett Evans
16     Alfred Souza
17     Gene Reid
18     Charles Collras
19     John Homola

Most Muscular
1     Tom Sansone


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #463 on: October 15, 2020, 12:00:40 PM »
IronMan, Vol 18, No 2, Page 9, September 1958

Tom Sansone
"Mr. America 1958"
by Franklin Page
PHYSIQUE Contests have been subject to a good deal of criticism lately. Though this is admittedly an area in which judgements are difficult, personal feelings very high and rivalries intense, the results of the 1958 Mr. America contest should set many troubled minds at ease. In the whole history of the contest few athletes have so conspicuously deserved the title or worked for it with greater care and dedication than this year's winner, Tom Sansone.

Tom Sansone is the bearer of a famous name in the iron game. Any old-timer will vividly remember Tony Sansone the great exponent of the classical physique and, in the late 20's and 30's, the ideal athlete from the point of view of artistic proportion and refinement of muscularity. Tom is not related to the older Tony, and his development is of an entirely different type, but they share the same high standard of excellence in physique, striking personality and intellectual competence.
Placings in the Mr. America Contest
1   Tom Sansone   Berkeley HC   95
2   Lynn Lyman   Globe   92½
3   Gene Bohaty   Irvin Johnson's Gym   89
4   Robert Walker   Unattached   87½
5   Fred Shutz   York   86½
6   Earl Clark   Chula Vista   85½
7   Vern Weaver   York   84
8   Ray Routledge   Pacific Coast   82½
9   Charles Sipes   Pearl's   79
9   Sam Martin   Unattached   79
9   Bill Golumbick   Unattached   79
Joseph Baratta   Unattached   77
Roy Smith, Jr   Delinger's   76½
Everett Evans   Ebony Gym   76
Alfred Souza   Pearl's   74
Gene Reid   Tanny's   71
Chas. Z Collras   unattached   67
John Homola   Unattached   65½
In judging the quality of a physique, proportion must be one of the first standards to apply. In the case of Tom Sansone this is perhaps best done when he is fully clothed and his spectacular muscularity temporarily obscured. His weight and bulk is so well distributed and the massive volumes of his body (shoulders, chest and hips) are so well adjusted to his skeletal structure and height that there is no sense of over-development or abnormality. One readily recognizes that he is a well-set-up young man and he looks as though he would have more than ordinary strength, but I doubt that I should immediately spot him as being extraordinary in muscle size.

As soon as Tom strips the picture changes radically. I saw him go through a complete workout fully clothed in sweat pants and two shirts. At the end of the evening when he stripped off, I was thunderstruck by the incredible size and muscularity of his body which far exceeded anything that I thought possible on a man of his size and age. His muscles stand out in crisp definition in a relaxed state and their enormous bulk is evident without any flexing whatever. His skin is smooth and finely textured; the rivers of sweat that cleanse his body in every workout carry off all impurities and waste. This impression of cleanliness is one of which I was very conscious and it was borne out not only in every line and movement but in the whole character of the man.

A native New Yorker, Tom is now 22 years old. He began training at the age of 16, but his actual training time adds up to only 4 full years, discounting a couple of layoffs, one at the time his mother passed away. Tom was coached along the line by his older brother who is now a physical education instructor in the New York public schools, a career for which Tom is also preparing himself. He has trained in many gyms in the New York area and at home. The results he has achieved are proof of the systematic methods he has followed and of the fact that he has neglected no device or training hint to develop every detail of his physique.

On the evening I observed his training Tom followed a full schedule for legs, back. chest and shoulders; he did a minimum amount of concentrated work on arms and abdominals. This is the general pattern of his training with occasional heavy work on arms and midsection. He employs no unusual exercises but performs all his movements with intense concentration and moderately heavy poundages. For example, he performs presses behind neck on a stationary pressing machine which permits no deviation from a direct upward press. As experienced bodybuilders know, this intensifies the movement since the weight may not be pressed forward or back to ease the strain on the shoulder girdle and arms. In the downward movement of this exercise Tom allows the weight to press half way down his back, swelling out his chest and applying terrific pull on his pectorals in bringing the weight up again to shoulder level. In all pulling and pressing movements Tom concentrates on the chest and shoulder muscles and this has resulted in one of the most massively developed chest and shoulder complexes in the world today.

Tom was certainly never a weakling and he began to show remarkable form very soon in his career. I can recall a photograph of him at the age of 18 when he already had outstanding pectorals, triceps and deltoids. In 1954 he won the Mr. National Collegiate title; in 1955 came the Senior Metropolitan New York, the Mr. Long Island, Mr. New York State and Mr. Gotham titles; in 1956, Mr. New York City; in 1957 he placed 4th in the Mr. America contest and was awarded 2nd place in the Most Muscular division. He attracted wide attention in this last contest and it was obvious to most critics that he was a man who deserved to place much higher. There is no doubt that Tom himself was aware of his superiority and this spurred him on to the big push in 1958. He swept the Junior Mr. America and Most Muscular Man titles cleanly in May at York; from that time there was no doubt in any of our minds that this was his year to go to the top. The big thing was to do it far outside his own geographical area and against the best in a muscle-conscious town.

Tom is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs just under 200 pounds for a contest. He has a 17¾ inch neck and a 50 inch chest but it is not the sheer size that is so impressive. His pectorals are very large and heavy but they do not spread weightily over his chest in relaxation; they maintain a crisp rounded shape at all times. Under flexion his pectorals swell to a hard striated bulk that matches his deltoids in height and density. His upper arms measure 19 inches cold; I measured them at 19½ inches after his workout, in which his arms were worked lightly. A week or so earlier his arms had been measured at 19¾ inches and I have no doubt that he could pump them up past the 20 inch mark if he felt the urge to do so. Again, it is not only the size that is so impressive, but the general shape and definition. When showing his arms, Tom usually flexes his left arm which is a bit more defined and higher-peaked than his right arm but no larger. His biceps bunch up into a full baseball that is clearly defined throughout its circumference and with the attachments under the deltoid and between the supinator and flexor muscles of the forearm clearly shown. This biceps is hard as rock and it is possible to feel the minute tissue of the muscle like an agglomeration of small wire strands. This intense development gives all of Tom's muscles a remarkably vibrant quality and a fine texture and flexibility. His triceps have long been, in my opinion, developed to peak condition and their bulk adds greatly to the contour and size of his flexed arm. Tom's 14½ inch forearm is cut into planes when flexed, rounded and full when relaxed. All of this is capped by unusually large deltoids that separate clearly into their anterior and posterior bodies. Tom's torso defies description, with every muscle - serratus, abdominals, obliques, intercostaIs-in razor sharp clarity. His abdominals look like large biscuits and I have not seen erectus muscles bulge so roundly since the great little Hercules, Gregory Paradise, used to hold pennies between the layers of his erectus?

The lower sections of Tom's body are as massively proportioned as his upper body, with full 27 inch thighs tying into a solidly-muscled hip girdle. Tom's hips are compact but wide; this gives him added strength, I am sure, and it is a tribute to the bulk of his upper body that his hips look narrow by comparison? His calves are a bit on the slender side but well-shaped and muscular.

Tom has never lifted in competition but is capable of a 280 pound press at any time.

Behind all this phenomenal physical development is one of the kindest, gentlest and most thoroughly likeable guys I have ever met. Though Tom has now reached the top, it is by no means at the cost of a well rounded personality and purposeful character. He attends New York City College two evenings a week, from 6 to 10 o'clock, and works in a clerical job in mid-Manhattan 8 hours every day. This leaves 3 nights a week to train and weekends to study. This has been Tom's schedule all year and it is clearly a tough one. It takes the little added purpose, that most men don't have, to lick such a regimen. Tom has an alert and accomplished mind to match his superb physique, and a personal warmth that makes anyone happy to be around him.

It would be a boon to American bodybuilding morale if Tom could represent this country in international contests; no one would make us prouder or acquit himself better. The right man got it this time.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #464 on: October 15, 2020, 12:01:22 PM »
Muscle Builder, Vol 1 Num 6, Page 9, October 1958

Tom Sansone Wins Mr. America and "Most Muscular" Titles!
by Leroy Colbert
Joe Weider knows how to pick a winner every time! You'll recall that in our July issue Joe predicted the outcome of the 1958 Mr. America contest. His choice - big Tom Sansone.

Well, no sooner had the printing ink dried on those pages than his prediction came true, for on the night of June 22 in Los Angeles, handsome Tom Sansone did become our eighteenth Mr. America, and never was a title more honestly and deservedly won!

Not that his victory was an easy one, however. Tom faced some really rugged competition from that popular California favorite, Lynn Lyman, who placed second; and from those two veteran contestants from San Diego - Earl Clark and Bill Golumbick.

Personally, I am very proud of Tom's victory for I have come to know him well. I've watched him train - I've been his workout partner - and I can vouch for the truth of the statement that his sensational physique is very largely the product of the same Weider training principles which, by now, every modern bodybuilder, including myself, faithfully follows.

It is because Tom patterned his workouts so closely after Weider methods because he had the determination and drive to train harder than other contestants that we knew he'd take the title.

Sansone continually utilizes the famous Weider copyrighted principles of Flushing, Cheating and Peak Contraction in his training. In preparing for the Mr. America contest he combined all three in a unique three-workouts-per-day plan, which, as you can see, really paid off for this phenomenally muscular young man.

Normally his workout is a three-hour affair, and when preparing for local contests, about four hours. But for the "big one" Tom pulled out all the stops. With the titanic reservoirs of power and energy he had built up through training wisely according to modern training principles - through a careful check of his diet to see that it was kept ultr-high in protein - and through conserving that energy by getting plenty of sleep and relaxation - he was able to power-pack his muscles and build them to giant size with blade-sharp definition in three rugged daily workouts!

Having observed him carefully during his workouts, I can testify that he has thoroughly learned the art of complete concentration. Because of this he can force out extra reps - never giving a second thought to the weight he is using - and bring intense mental contraction and thought force to focus on every repetition of every set of every exercise he performs.

The transformation of Tom Sansone from just another bodybuilder to a world-recognized champion is one of the great stories in modern bodybuilding history. But it is just that - it is just one story in the continuing cycle of stories of magnificently-developed men. It is the story that we can write about you, if you follow Tom's good example and pattern your own workouts after the unparalleled principles on the Weider system. If you have his burning desire for physique greatness - his determination to faithfully serve his ideal - and faithfully follow along the Weider way, then success is as assuredly yours as it is this great champion's whom we honor here.

Tom Sansone is a sterling example of all that is fine and noble in our American youth and we known that he will go further along to greater glory in our beloved sport.

All of us wish him the greatest success and happiness in whatever he does. Weightlifting and bodybuilding can use champions like Tom, and we know that he'll wear his newly-won crown with the dignity of the true champion he is!



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #465 on: October 15, 2020, 12:02:09 PM »
1959 Mr America - AAU

1     Harry Johnson (1)
2     Ray Routledge
3     Pete Ganios
4     George Orlando
5     Vern Weaver
6     Elmo Santiago
7     Lloyd Lerille
8     Art Harris
9     Kenny Hall
10     Fred Schutz
11     Hossein Shokouh
12     Buddy Basil
13     Walt Cuzzimano
14     Tommy Johnson
15     Leo Downes
16     Joseph Simon
17     Bill March
18     Mike Ferraro
19     Hank Wayne
20     George Wojnowski
21     Harry Lanehart
22     Gene Wells
23     Sam Martin
24     Ed Jacobs
25     William Crozier
26     Pat Hensley
27     Lowell Scott
28     Joe Marino (1)

Most Muscular
1     Art Harris
2     George Orlando


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #466 on: October 15, 2020, 12:02:54 PM »
IronMan, Vol 19, No 2, Page 11, October 1959

Mr. America Contest
Has Exciting Tie Finish
by the Editor
EACH year we think that surely we will run out of perfectly built men and that the standards will drop, but each year it seems there are new men who are just as well built as those of the past. We often hear a heated discussion as to whether present day bodybuilders are as well built as those of the past when Grimek, Reeves, Ross and others reigned supreme. You will find some who feel the men of the past will never be surpassed while others feel present day men are better. It is perhaps a matter of opinion and mental conditioning. Surely it would be hard to find men any better than appeared at the Mr. America Contest this year. All the older fellows seemed greatly improved and there were so many new ones who had never been in a Mr. America Contest before who were just as good as the best, that the judges certainly had a difficult task. There were at least 12 men in this year's meet who could not be criticized as a Mr. America had they been selected.

One thing we must mention is that the public too often misunderstands the selection of a Mr. America due to the fact that Athletic ability and other aspects of the contestant's character count a full 5 points and this sometimes places a man higher than another who you may think has a superior physique. The reason they have these points is because the leaders of the game feel that the Title of "Mr. America" denotes something more than just physique -- it should include all characteristics such as education, personality, athletic ability, moral character, etc. which would be included in "Ideal American Manhood".
Placing   Name   Points   Number
1   Harry L Johnson, Jr   84   11
2   Ray W Routledge   84   21
3   Peter Ganios   81   5
4   George J Orlando   80   18
5   Vern C Weaver   79   28
6   Elmo M Santiago   78   22
7   Lloyd J Lerille, Jr   77   14
8   Arthur J Harris   76½   7
9   Kenneth Hall   75   6
10   Fred Shutz   72½   23
11   Hossein Shokouh   71½   25
12   James "Buddy" Basil   71   1
13   Walter J Cuzzimano   71   3
14   Charles T "Tomy" Johnson   70½   10
15   Leo Downs   70½   20
16   Joseph Simon   70   26
17   William F March   69½   15
18   Mike Ferraro   66½   4
19   Hank Wayne   65½   27
20   George S Wojnoswki   64   30
21   Harry E Lanehart   62½   12
22   Gene W Wells   62   29
23   Samuel C Martin   61   17
24   Edward M Jacobs   56   9
25   William W Crozier   51   2
26   Patrick Hensley   50½   8
27   Joseph L Marino   47   16
28   T Lowell Scott   47   24
If the contest was run as a "Most Perfectly Developed" man in America contest such designations would not be necessary and only, the physique need be considered. A Mr. America as now selected might or might not be the most perfectly developed. I believe that since this system has been in operation we have had very little dissatisfaction among some of the District or Area contests where they feel that sometimes men with inferior physiques win the "Mr." titles. Always remember in these instances however, that when a contest is designated as a "Mr." that other things must be considered than the physique. Quite often a man may have everything you could ask for in a physique and it is quite conceivable that the world's most perfectly developed man might fail to win a "Mr." contest because he was low in the so-called Athletic points altho Athletic ability is not all that is or should be considered under this heading.

The men who failed to place at the top this year should, therefore, not feel too bad, nor should they feel that their physique is lacking in any respect other than possibly in athletic ability. Your athletic accomplishments have to be considerable to justify a full 5 points and those unable to qualify in this respect should develop some athletic specialty which will qualify them for the full points. Probably the simplest method of accomplishing this is to develop ability in the Olympic Lifts sufficient to give you the required total. Your A. A. U. rule book will give you the requirements.

Thirty-two men were entered, but four of them failed to show up for the contest. This still left an ideal number to run through.

The first night or July 31st, the men competed for the Most Muscular title. No winner was announced in this category until the next night. Most of the men appeared in this contest and some of them certainly looked great. The lights were ideal to show them to best advantage -- although we suspect they looked real tiny from the seats of the audience which were about half a block from the posing platform at the big York Fair Grounds where the contest was held.

On the second night, this great array of athletes paraded onto the stage in two groups as there was not room for all of them at one time. They looked wonderful out there under the lights with all of them having the nice tans, most of them not real dark, but just a good golden tan. You could hear gasps of amazement from the audience as the men first stood relaxed in front pose, then turned the left side, then the back, then the right side to the judges and the audience, holding each position for about a minute to give the judges a chance to study them. Then they marched off and another group came on. After this they came on one at a time and posed on the pedestal, each presenting three poses. It became increasingly difficult to select a winner and the seven judges were busy marking their score sheets, then rubbing out, as still better men appeared. What a job.

Finally each man had his chance to pose and all retired while the judges totaled their score sheets. During this period which usually takes about half an hour, several athletes gave demonstrations of their ability. Ron Lacy, a former Mr. America came on to give a posing demonstration of his massive and muscular physique. Ron is a blocky, chunky fellow, yet he combines it with a lot of grace and excellent posing ability to give a very impressive demonstration and he seems to be in just as good a shape as ever.

One of the Physique contestants gave an excellent tumbling demonstration. It was quite a sight to see one of these tall and heavily built men doing back flips and combination tumbling stunts with ease and grace. Little Dave Moyer then demonstrated seven ways of doing pushups, and in addition to the regular dips on one and two hands as well as hand stand dips, he performed straight arm planches from all directions. In other words, he did the bridge with arms straight in front and also to the side, then a planche or straight arm lever from the floor, popping up and down in reps as if it were nothing to him. It looked as if he might have done a one arm planche. This is remarkable when you consider his heavy body and legs.

After Dave put on his show and also did some tumbling, Ed Jubinville gave the most outstanding muscle control act we have ever seen. He demonstrated many controls we have not seen before or even heard of. If you ever have the chance to see Ed's act don't miss it. It is a highlight of any show. Ed is not heavily built, but he does have a masterly control of all his muscles.

Now it was time for the judges to announce their decision, but here comes the announcer who says that there has been a tie for first place and all judges have been called in to vote off the tie. This takes only a short time and they are ready to announce the winners first the "Most Muscular" winners. This is a very close thing with Art Harris winning over George Orlando by the very narrow margin of only one half point. Both men are very outstanding. This is the second time Art has won this title and there was some talk among the officials that a rule would be created at the next annual convention to bar anyone from winning the title more than once just as was done when Grimek won the Mr. America title twice.

Now they were ready to announce the Mr. America winners and as usual started with the 5th place man, Vern Weaver. Then they called George Orlando as fourth place winner with muscular Pete Ganios third. Now everyone was on the edge of their seats wondering who would come next. Two men had tied but no one could guess who it was. Second place man was announced as popular Ray Routledge. He deserves a high place and still has plenty of time to win this coveted title. FIRST PLACE MAN? Yon could hear a pin drop, as the saying goes, as the audience awaited the final announcement. FIRST PLACE AND THE NEW "MR. AMERICA" HARRY E. JOHNSON. There was wild cheering as this very popular athlete, a man who has tried for the title untiringly for many years, took his place on the victory pedestal to receive his trophy. Harry was so excited he could hardly stand up. I have never seen a man to whom winning the title seemed to mean so much. His wife, who has been one of his most enthusiastic booster's, ran up on the pedestal and gave him a big hug and kisses as the photographers snapped their cameras.

It was a real surprise to Harry as he had no idea he would win and before the show, while sun bathing, he had asked me how he looked. We had, in previous years, advised Harry to add more bulk and still keep his definition as we felt that was what he needed. Harry had worked hard at this and had added 15 pounds over his previous contest bodyweight and looked much better for it. Harry talked about his plans for next year when he was again going to try harder than ever to win the title -- not having the least idea that this was to be his big year, so you can imagine his amazement when he was selected.

Harry, who at 35 is the oldest man to ever win the Mr. America title, will be a real credit to this important post for the coming year. A father of four children of whom he is very proud, he is a clean young man of high ideals and principles. We hope that he will not be victimized by some of the fast operators who always hang around trying to make a 'fast buck' on new physique stars. We think Harry is level headed enough to avoid these dangers.

Here are a few facts about the various competitors which will interest you.

Art Harris looked far better than I had ever seen him. This man has to be seen to be believed. His development is fabulous whether in repose or tensed up. His definition is without peer and his measurements are huge.especially of the arms and shoulders and his back is unbelievable. His photos certainly never do him justice.

This was the first time we had seen George Orlando who has been winning contests in the east this year and we were much impressed with his muscularly, definition and general over all good appearance. Tho rather short and weighing about 160 when trained down for a contest he is undoubtedly one of the best in the world for his size. He should go far.

Buddy Basil who won the third place in the Jr. Mr. America is very good too. I might mention here that some of these boys need more athletic points to place higher. Both Orlando and Basil come in this classification. If you wish to know where you placed in this respect you can write to Clarence Johnson and he will tell you how you placed and where you need improvement.

Mike Ferraro who won the Mr. Teenage two years ago has a nice physique and will do well in the future with more improvement.

Pete Ganios has a really outstanding physique of the rugged type with very large measurements and lots of definition. He placed high as you will see by the point scores. Pete trains hard and uses heavy weights. The squat is his favorite and he does 6 to 8 sets of 10 with up to 500 Ibs. and has made 550 squat and 425 bench press. He has also made an 825 total on the Olympic lifts while weighing 225. His weight is usually around 240 but he trains down to about 220 for a physique contest. He would have undoubtedly won the best chest title had there been such a title available.

Kenneth Hall who is originally from the British West Indies has a much better physique than his photos would indicate. With a little more bulk he will be real outstanding. He has good shape and very good definition. He had made a 750 Olympic total at a 175 bodyweight. Art Harris incidently has made an 800 total on the Olympics too. Walter Cuzzimano has been competing a long time and has a really fine physique which gave him a lot of points. He has won a lot of contests. Charles "Tommy" Johnson is a young man with an outstanding physique and a lot of athletic ability who deserves a lot of credit for Tommy is a deaf-mute. He is doing a wonderful job in spite of a handicap that would cause most people to want to lie down and die.

Harry Johnson who has been trying for so many years and who is probably one of the most popular bodybuilders we ever had was looking better than ever this year and told me that he had added considerable bulk to his physique and still retained all his fine definition and shape. About three years ago Harry asked us what he needed to bring him to the top and we recommended that he add more bulk and still try to retain his shape-this is a difficult task but Harry did it even tho his training time is limited since he is a family man and works at two jobs. It paid off as you will see later in this report.

Lloyd J. Lerille, Jr. is a husky red head who a little of Ron Lacy and Lloyd has won the Mr. Armed Services title in Hawaii a year or so ago and he looks very good. We feel that he will improve a lot and get right up there at the top. Bill March has a fine physique as does Sam Martin. Both will improve a lot and should climb higher on the Mr. America ladder.

Ray Routledge of Bill Pearls gym is as nice and fine a young man as you will meet anywhere, with a superb physique and an attractive personality. We want to commend him on his preparation for the judging. He had documented proof of his athletic ability which he placed before the judges without loss of time so they could make their decision on this phase without delay. So often the contestant has no proof whatever of his past accomplishments and the judges have sometimes been mislead by certain over-ambitious contestants. If you can show authentic proof of what you have done then you're safe. We hope to have a story and photos on Ray as well as many of the other contestants in this contest. Incidently Ray has made a 905 Olympic total at 198 bwt. and is very good at the hammer throw with 144 ft. to his credit. Kenneth Downs has a fine physique. He had a little trouble because someone had entered him under the name of Rosa. This was straightened out tho and no difficulty was encountered.

Elmo Santiago, the present Jr. Mr. America has a fine physique and it would be hard to find a flaw in it. He has been competing several years and has won most of the eastern titles. We thought he would place higher, he has a 750 Olympic total as a middleweight. Fred Schutz, the only man to compete in both the lifting and physique contest of course has outstanding athletic ability and a very nice physique but needs specialized bodybuilding to improve his physique to top quality. He should with proper training reach the top in the physique field.

Hossein Shokouh a young student from Iran who attends college in Calif. has an outstanding physique and many felt that he might win the title but needs more athletic points. He has a nice personality and will remain in the USA for some time yet, furthering his education. Joseph Simon is another man with a nice physique but he needs more time to bring his physique up with the best. Vern Weaver who always places high in the Mr. America contest is an outstanding athlete and has a very fine physique with good proportions and nice definition but we believe he needs more bulk to put him up there as a winner. Gene Wells and Geo. Wojnowski both have physiques that are very outstanding as their photos have shown.

Here are a few more interesting facts about some of the boys we were able to obtain. Tommy Johnson is the 177 lb. Mason-Dixon wrestling champ and this covers a lot of the south. Harry Lanehart, with broad shoulders and small waist, has only recently recovered from a very severe bout of pneumonia and had not been expected to live to say nothing of taking part in the world's toughest physique competition. Lerille had also been a state wrestling champ. Marino with a nice physique, but appearing a little slender with the other heavy built boys has his own print shop in New York City and has been working as a correction officer too. George Orlando is really outstanding for more than his physique. All that terrific body was built in his little home gym and with home-made cement barbells. This ought to be answer enough to you who feel you must train in a deluxe gym with lots of chrome and highly paid instructors. George is one of the finest built short men in the world today. Leo Downs, an outstanding colored boy is a very strong man, tho he hasn't competed as a lifter. He has pressed 280 and made an 835 total on the Olympic lifts the first time he tried the lifts. He has bench pressed 425 and squatted with 500. He has a lot of natural ability and would be one of our greatest prospects as an Olympic Champion if he could be encouraged to train on the lifts. Hank Wayne has a lift truck business. He has made an 850 Olympic Lifts total. Joe Simon is an outstanding baseball player and Vern Weaver, in addition to making 845 total, made a track coach eat his words as he remarked that Vern would be slow and stiff from lifting weights. Vern thereupon demonstrated that he could move fairly fast by running the 100 yards in 10.3 the first time he tried it. With all the evidence now before the public we sometimes wonder at the stubbornness of some coaches and some doctors to accept the fact that barbell exercise trained athletes are superior. So many college and high school coaches are training their men with weights that in the near future all others must fall in line or find their teams completely outclassed. Russia recently tried an experiment with some of her athletes and removed them from barbell training only to find that their performances were then outclassed by barbell trained men. They were quick to return all men to barbell training again.

Judges for the Mr. America contest were: Herb Lucy, Morris Weisbrott, Jim Messer, Jack Ayers, Ron Lacy, John Terlazzo and Peary Rader.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #467 on: October 15, 2020, 12:03:33 PM »
IronMan, Vol 19, No 2, Page 9, October 1959

Persistence Pays Off
for Harry Johnson
"Mr. America 1959"
by Peary Rader
A MOST amazing thing happened on the night of August 1, at the Fair Grounds in York, Pa. For the Mr. America contest was held there and with 30 of the best built men in the USA competing for the big title, Harry Johnson, who has been entering these events for many years, found himself under the spot lights receiving the trophy and title, almost without knowing what was happening. There has never been a more surprised man at a Mr. America contest than Harry that night. To say that he was almost shocked numb by his good fortune would be putting it mildly and Harry tells me that he was in a daze for several days after. I've never seen a man happier at winning the big title. We are sure that Harry, a man of high ideals and principles, will be a real credit to the game. He mentioned the crowd of young fellows who crowded around for his autograph after the contest and his great desire to set a high ideal for these teenagers, as he wears the crown in the limelight for this coming year, a year that can be the greatest of Harry Johnson's life.

Harry Johnson is the oldest man ever to win the title, being 35, married and the father of 4 children, 1 boy and 3 girls. His wife is much interested in his training and has been a big help to him over the years, encouraging him when he became discouraged at not winning a higher place or title after the great amount of work he put in at training.

Harry did not start out as a 97 lb. weakling, but was an average, healthy boy who participated in athletics. He was on the All State football team where he played guard. He won a scholarship to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. He ran the 100 yard dash in 10.5 seconds without practice. Harry was able to attend Georgia State University for only 1½ years, as other obligations interfered.

Harry says that one of his greatest inspirations was his father, who neither smoked nor drank, and taught Harry to refrain from these bad habits. He credits his father with the high ideals he lives by today.

Harry started barbell training in 1944 and says that John Grimek is his ideal and inspiration ill the bodybuilding field. He was already a rather husky young fellow from his various athletic pursuits but he made rapid progress with the barbells and soon found himself good enough to enter and win contests, the first being the Mr. Physical Fitness contest in high school then the Mr. Atlanta contest in 1947, Mr. Chattanooga and Mr. South in 1948. In 1954 he won the Best Built Weightlifter of the South and also the Most Muscular and the Mr. Southern States title the same year. 1954 was a big year for Harry, he won the Jr. Mr. America title and was 5th in the Mr. America contest. In 1955 he was 4th in the Mr. America contest then the next year's Mr. America contest he was 6th. He tied for 3rd. place in the Mr. Universe contest in Virginia Beach. He was third in the Mr. America contest held at Datona Beach. In 1958 he did not enter because of the sickness of his daughter. That brought him up to the present contest of 1959 in York, Pa.

Always at the many contests when we would meet Harry, he would ask us what he needed yet to put him in the winner's class and we always stressed that he needed more bulk while still retaining his present definition and shape. The afternoon before the contest in York, Harry was out at the Fair Grounds getting some sun and we snapped a few photos and talked with Harry and he told us that he had added about 15 lbs. bodyweight for more bulk and it was easy to see that he had retained or improved his shape. He was completely unaware that he was going to win the title and we talked of what he ought to do to improve still more for the coming year. Of course we now know that there will be no coming year for Harry in the Mr. America competition for he has reached the top.

After he won the title, we asked Harry what his plans for the future were and he mentioned that he would like to go to England and compete for the Mr. Universe title.

Harry has no particular desire to open a gym and try to make a quick and easy fortune as some other winners have. He works at the Lockheed Aircraft factory as a tool maker and is quite happy with his work. He has also been working 6 nights per week in addition but tells us he is stopping this as it is too rough and doesn't allow much time for training or family life. Harry lives in Decatur, Georgia and has been training at the gym of Karo Whitfield.


Harry says that his favorite exercise is the situp and he never feels he has had a complete workout without doing a lot of situps and leg raises.

In training for this contest, Harry worked out 5 nights per week and used 16 exercises. He took just 2 hours for each workout but never rested between exercises, going through the program as fast as possible. He and training partners tried to outdo each other in poundages, reps, and speed of going through their programs. This makes an amazingly rugged program and you wonder how he made the progress he did while working at the factory and then at night also. This method of working out develops great endurance as well as a fine physique. He weighed about 200 at the start and trimmed down to 185 for the contest.

Harry used 16 exercises in this program as follows:

Bench press, 3 sets, 15 reps with 250 lbs.
Incline press, 3 sets, 12 reps, 85 lb. dumbells.
Decline bench press, 3 sets, 12 reps, 85 lb. dumbells.
Press from behind neck, 3 sets, 12 reps, 125 lbs.
2 arm dumb ell press, 3 sets with 85 lbs.
Chin behind neck, 3 sets of 15 reps.
Bent over rowing with dumbell, 3 sets of 12
Bent over rowing with dumbell, 3 sets of 12 reps, with 75 lbs.
Barbell curl, 3 sets of 12 reps, with 135.
Concentration curl with dumbell, 3 sets with 50 and 40 lb. dumbells.
Handstand pushups on bench, 3 sets, 15 reps.
Triceps curl, 3 sets with 80 for 12 reps.
Triceps pushdown on pulley weights, 3 sets of 12 reps. with 120 lbs.
Hack lift on Hack machine, 3 sets of 15 reps with 370.
4 sets of toe raises on calf machine.
1,000 situps per workout in sets of 500.
4 sets of leg raises with iron boots
Some program, huh? Especially when you consider that he performed this program 5 nights per week for the past month, and went through it without any rest between exercises.

His usual schedule is 3 nights per week and he varies his workout programs somewhat by using different exercises. At the time of winning the contest, his measurements were as follows: height, 5'9"; weight, 186 lbs.; arm, 17; neck, 17; chest, 48; waist, 30; thigh, 25; calf, 16¾. You will note that Harry is not in the habit of exaggerating his measurements. At about 200 lbs. bodyweight when he was rather bulky he had the following measurements: arm, 18¼; chest, 50½; waist, 34; and thigh 26¼.

In 1953 Harry won the 198 lb. class in the Southern Championships with a record press of 235 (the record held for several years), snatch of 230 and clean and jerk of 295. He was in training for heavy squats doing 10 full squats with 400, and 35 reps with 335. He did 1 squat with 530 and was trying for a world record until Paul Anderson came on the scene around Harry's locality and lifting against this human derrick was rather discouraging. Harry has bench pressed 360, done dips on parallel bar 6 to 8 reps with 140 (this is a really outstanding power lift and few men could equal it).

Harry and his beautiful wife, Joyce, make a fine couple and they have an unusually happy family life. They are the kind of people who will go out of their .way to help someone else. They have no ambitions to be the biggest or the best or the richest or the most famous in the world. They just want to be good people, good neighbors, and enjoy the quiet pleasure of bringing happiness to the world by the good deeds they can do others.

We, of Iron Man, salute Joyce and Harry Johnson and their family. We wish that there were more clean, Christian families like theirs in the USA and we hope that their example will generate enthusiasm in others for their kind of life. Thank you, Harry Johnson, for being the man you are. We are proud of you.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #468 on: October 15, 2020, 12:04:19 PM »
 1960 Mr America - AAU

1     Lloyd Lerille
2     Ray Routledge
3     Joe Lazzaro (1)
4     William Stathes
5     Joe Abbenda
6     Bill Golumbick
7     Frank Quinn
8     Elmo Santiago
9     Mike Ferraro
10     John Gourgott
11     Leroy Saba
12     Don Van Fleteren
13     Kenny Hall
14     Pete Ganios
15     Steve Sakoulos
16     Bill March
17     Buddy Basil
18     Harold Poole
19     Paul Mintal
20     James Piesrante
21     Raymond Huecke
22     Bill Galewood
23     Michael Majoris
24     Henry Efland
25     Nick Spano

Most Muscular
1     Lloyd Lerille
2     Leroy Saba
3     Kenny Hall


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #469 on: October 15, 2020, 12:05:25 PM »
Strength & Health, Page 14, October 1960

By Bob Hasse
LIKE his Miss America counterparts, for the second year in a row a star bodybuilder from the Deep South was the surprise winner of the 1960 Mr. America contest. Lloyd Lerille, a read-headed college student whose home town is Harvey, Louisiana, shaded Ray Routledge of Sacramento, California, 94 point to 93, in the annual balloting to choose the nation's most outstanding male physical specimen. The new champion is a 5-foot 6-inch, 180-pound senior at Southwestern Louisiana Institute.

In terms of high calibre physiques and geographic origin of contestants, this was perhaps the most representative Mr. America contest for more than a decade. In the lineup, no contestant stood out above the others as has been the case at times in the past.

One year ago, "Red" Lerille finished in seventh place in the scoring for the 1959 Mr. America award. he had won a number of local contests prior to that time but was not well known nationally. Shorter than average in height and extremely muscualr, Lerille also collected the Most Muscular award this eyar. His closest competitors in that category were Leroy Saba of the U.S. Navy, second, and Kenneth Hall of New York City, third. The announcement of the 24-year-old soft-spoken bachelor's victory in the Most Muscular voting, which preceded the Mr. America results, brought down the packed house. Judging from the audience response during the Mr. America presentations, however, Routledge was the first choice of the masses for the Mr. title. It was the second year in a row that the California-based airman finished as runner-up. He was in top shape, but apparently the judges were not as impressed by his symmetry and general excellence as they were by Lerille's mass and muscularity. This point was also confirmed by seventh place ranking in this contest of Frank Quinn, the Memphis, Tennessee, athlete who had defeated Lerille in the Southern Section of the Junior Mr. America contest at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, three weeks earlier. The winner's choice of poses was carefully considered and served to make the most of his strong points. Routledge's posing, on the other hand, seemed devitalized, perhaps because of the mediocre illumination provided.

Finishing in third spot was Joe Lazzaro of the York A.C., Buffalo, New York. By virtue of his placement in the Senior contest, Lazzaro is the 1960 Junior Mr. America. He had won the Eastern Section of the Junior Meet at Schenectady on May 21st. Quinn was the only other Junior Sectional winner entered at Cleveland.

A veteran of 12 years on the San Francisco police force, William Stathes, finished fourth in the final tabulation. The muscularity of this California lawman in semi-relaxed state was unbelievable. Following Stathes was husky Joe Abbenda, a 20-year-old college student from Astoria, Long Island, who last year was selected as the possessor of the nation's outstanding teen-age physique.

Bill Golumbick of San Diego, California, was sixth this year, up three notches from his 1958 finishing position. Rounding out the top ten in addition to the previously mentioned Frank Quinn were Elmo Santiago of New York City, Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, New York, and Charles Gourgott of New Orleans, Louisiana. Pete Ganios, third last year, slipped all the way down to 14th place in this year's voting.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #470 on: August 08, 2021, 12:18:33 PM »
mr america list competitor bodybuilding
17. October 2020 by MrBerg
Before Mr Olympia and Mr Universe there was Mr America. Every novice dreamed to become Mr. America! Dennis Tinerino, Chris Dickerson, Bill Pearl and all other oldtimers are just proud calling themselves Mr. America! Even Germany started its own version entitled ‘Mr. Germany’!

Ed Giuliani (Arnold’s training buddy) said:

“Wherever you were born, you’ve got to win that state.
You can’t ever run away from where you were born and raised and then win the state where you’re now residing. You’ve got to go back and do it. For some reason, it just burns in the head: it just works. I’ve never known a great bodybuilder who hasn’t won at home first.

Franco Columbu, Mr. Italy, born and raised there; Arnold, Mr. Germany, Mr. Austria; Frank Zane, Mr. Pennsylvania, where he was born; Larry Scott won Mr. Salt Lake City where he was born. Dave Draper won Mr. New Jersey, then came out here. Robby Robinson, Mr. Florida. “

Mr. A 1939 Bert Goodrich (First Mr. America, but not AAU sanctioned)
Living near a river in the State of Arizona, where he was born and raised, he was first attracted to swimming. At the age of 13, he started winning contests in high and fancy diving, as well as in swimming race.

He was a consistent winner in these events throughout the years he competed in them at high school and college. Tumbling and hand balancing stunts also commenced to appeal to Goodrich when he was a boy.

By the time he graduated from high school he was nearly six feet in height and weighed 170 pounds.

His leisure time during school years was absorbed almost constantly through his participating in wide variety of sports, consisting of football, basketball, baseball, track athletics, swimming, tumbling, gymnastics and weightlifting.

Over a period of years he has developed a physique to such a super-excellent state that the physical culture experts, who acted as judges at the “Mr. America” contest, selected him as being the finest physical specimen among all the outstanding physical cultures athletes. At the age of 32 he weighed 195lb. [source: H&S 9.7.1940]

1939 Mr. A Roland Essmaker

Roland Essmaker. Photo Courtesy George Coates
He was born on 24th March 1916 in Richmond, Indiana USA, son of  Harry and Anna. He had two brothers and one sister. His mother died when he was very young, so life was tough for his father, a chiropractor.

Unable at first to afford ‘proper’ weights, Roland commenced training with an assortment of scrap metal odds- and -ends obtained from a local junk yard. Later with a friend he worked out at the YMCA gym. Most trainees in those days included gymnastic ring work, and Roland developed the ability and power to make three repetitions of the single arm ‘chin or pull up.

After his historic Mr America win in 1939 he worked for a while as an artists model, including posing for the famous Walt Disney Company.

Roland’s philosophy was: “Train for health and a symmetical physique”.
He also said, “Don’t struggle with too much weight. Many oldtimer are paying the price with joint problems.”

Roland died of cancer at the age of 86 yrs. [source: Roland Essmaker 1939 Mr America Dies A TRIBUTE by David Gentle]

1940 – 1941 John Grimek

Champion weightlifter John Grimek did not become a quote-on-quote competitive bodybuilder until AFTER winning the 1940 and 1941 AAU Mr. America contests. (He was never defeated in a physique contest.)

According to strength historian Jim Murray, former managing editor of Strength & Health magazine, Grimek only practiced standard barbell and dumbbell exercises but, concentrated on competitive weightlifting. From 1932 until 1940, his main training consisted of snatches, clean-and-jerks, heavy squats and tons of clean-and-presses.

One of Grimek’s memorable philosophies for life was,”Keep your focus on good health as a primary motivation for your toil. Build muscles the old-fashioned way. Earn them by hard work and dedication.” [source: Bill Pearl Fan Page]

1942 Mr A Frank Leight

Frank Leight won the 1942 Mr America title. He also won the Best Chest category several times. A tall, powerful, athletic figure, he was one of the Siegmund Klein’s moist famous pupils.
He did not particularly indulge in heavy weight lifting as far as Olympic lifts. He did, however, use very heavy weights. He did an abdominal raise with 155 lbs!

He did 100 sit-up repetitions with a sixty pound barbell. He has also lifted a 150lb barbell 35 times in succession in the two arm press and has done 15 repetitions with two one hundred pound dumbbells.

When he won this title, the newspapers flashed this all over the country and the New York Journal American gave him a full page spread with pictures and story.

Many offers came to Frank Leight but he would just smile in his good natured way and would not consider them. He did not want interviews or have photos taken.

Frank Leight uses his mother’s maiden name, which is German, and “Leight” means “easy” or “light” in the sense of being “easy to do… feels light”. His real name is Frank Stepanek.

Back in the day he was an instructor at the New York Police Academy teaching recruits boxing, wrestling and Judo as well as

physical conditioning. [source: S&H October 1957]

1943 Mr. America Jules Bacon

Jules S. Bacon (July 8, 1917 – January 13, 2007) was an American professional bodybuilder. Bacon was born in Philadelphia. He began weight training at age 20 and came second in the 1941 Mr. America bodybuilding contest. He won Mr. America in 1943. Bacon died in York, Pennsylvania, aged 89. [Source: wikipedia]

Mr. America 1944: Steve Stanko
steve stanko bodybuilder

Steve Stanko (September 5, 1917 – December 31, 1978) was an American heavyweight weightlifter and bodybuilder. In weightlifting he won a silver medal at the 1938 World Championships and set three unofficial world records in 1941: in the snatch, clean and jerk and in the total. In bodybuilding he was crowned Mr. America in 1944, Most Muscular Man in America in 1946, and Mr. Universe in 1947. [source: wikipedia]

1945 Mr America: Clarence Ross

Clarence Ross (October 26, 1923 – April 30, 2008), also known as Clancy Ross[1] was a bodybuilder from the United States.Ross was born in Oakland, California on October 26, 1923, the second of the four children of Hershel Ross, a teamster, and his wife Jeannette Levi.[2] His mother died when he was young, so he grew up in a series of foster homes. He started weight training at age 17, weighing 135 pounds at a height of 5’10”. He was motivated by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to enlist in the Air Force, which he did on October 31, 1942 at San Francisco, and was then stationed in Las Vegas.[3] Around this time he married his wife.In 1945, Ross won the AAU Mr. America contest in Los Angeles. After this success, he started to appear on the covers of popular physique magazines such as Your Physique, Iron Man, Muscle Power, and Health and Strength. [source: wikipedia]

1946 Mr America Alan Stephan

To George Hanus, Chicago strongman and gymnastic star, goes much of the credit for Al’s desire for physical perfection. Hanus since given his life in the Merchant Marine during the war, but he has left a record of encouragement and assistance to many young lads in the physical culture game. (..)

Al owes his start in bodybuilding to the day he saw George Hanus performing on the flying rings in Chicago’s  Douglas Park. (..)

Al did develop a fine start in gymnastics, weight lifting, and general athletic skill. He worked out two nights a week and Saturdays, at the same time spending long hours in the gym at J. Sterling Morton High School with the gymnastics team. (…)

His body took on the rugged contours of his father’s; his chest deepened and broadened; his arms grew; he grew taller. With only an eighty-pound dumbbell set, plus a stiff routine of training at Douglas Park and with the gymnasts at high school, the gangling kid took on his Mr. America form. (..)

Soon after his graduation from Morton High School, Al enlisted in the Navy, in July, 1943.  (…)

At Camp Perry, Virginia, his rugged physique served him well. He was assigned as a judo and wrestling and physical training instructor, under Roy Moore, 140 pound amateur world wrestling champion and the only white man to hold the coveted “5th Degree Black Belt,” symbol of over 100 matches without defeat in judo.

Moore considered Al his prize instructor, but within six months the Navy transferred Al to Davisville, Rhode Island, then to Pearl Harbor for eight months, and finally to Guam for another eight months following the end of the war. He was finally discharged on April 2nd of this year – two months to the date that he was to win his title as Mr. America. [source: Your Physique 1946 October]

1947 Mr America Steve Reeves

Stephen Lester Reeves (January 21, 1926 – May 1, 2000) was an American professional bodybuilder, actor, and philanthropist. He was famous in the mid-1950s as a movie star in Italian-made sword and sandal films, playing the protagonist as muscular characters such as Hercules, Goliath, and Sandokan. At the peak of his career, he was the highest-paid actor in Europe. Though best known for his portrayal of Hercules, he played the character only twice: in Hercules (1958), and in its 1959 sequel Hercules Unchained. By 1960, Reeves was ranked as the number-one box-office draw in 25 countries around the world. [source wikipedia]

1948 Mr America George Eiferman

George Eiferman (November 3, 1925 – February 12, 2002) was a notable figure in the sport of bodybuilding. Born in Philadelphia in 1925, he served in the Navy during World War II and entered into the sport of bodybuilding afterwards. He won the AAU Mr. America competition in 1948 and the Mr. Universe in 1962. [source: wikipedia]

1949 Mr America Jack Dellinger

Jack Delinger (born June 22, 1926 – December 28, 1992 in Oakland, California) was an American professional bodybuilder from Oakland, California.[1] He won the 1949 AAU Mr. America and the 1956 Mr. Universe.[2] (wiki)

1950 Mr America John Farbotnik

Before and After Picture of John Farbotnik
John Farbotnik was the popuilar winner of the 1950 AAU Mr. America contest, held in the Academy of Music in Phliadelphia.

The contest, with 32 contestants, was one of the more successful AAU Mr. America events. Farbotnik scored a total of 71 points out of a possible 75, with Melvin Wells at 68, and Roy Hilligenn at 65.

At the time Farbotnik won the Mr. America contest, he was an instructor at the Physical Services Institute of Bruce Conner and Harold Zinkin, located in Los Angeles.

Later he partnered with Les and Pudgy Stockton to open a gym in Pasadena, California. In the early 1960s, he immigrated to Eastern Canada and became heavily involved in commercial real estate.
John Farbotnik died in 1998, at age 72. [source Bill Pearl fanpage]


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #471 on: August 08, 2021, 12:19:15 PM »
1951 Mr America Roy Hilligenn

Roy Hilligenn broke the national junior lightheavyweight clean and jerk record at this time with lifts of 335 on his third and 350 (double bw) on a fourth attempt. The record was held by no less a personage than John Davis. Photo shows a snatch with 245.
Roy Stanley Hilligen (November 15, 1922 – August 3, 2008) was Mr. South Africa four years and the 1951 AAU Mr. America. Famous for his incredible strength, vegetarianism, and dazzling smile, Hilligen mixed body building and weight training in his fitness program. [wikipedia]

Roy Hilligen is not a big man, but is compact and possesses unusual power for his size and weight, plus all-round athletic ability.

Before the 1951 Mr. America contest he left his job and went to stay and train with Ed Yarick where between them, they devised a fantastic training program: to train six days a week and EIGHT HOURS A DAY! Such training would kill the ordinary man..but who said Hilligenn was ordinary? (…)

His entire day consisted of sleeping, eating and training. (…) He trained five hours in the first session, rested and then trained three more hours. This went on six days a week for about two months.

Roy’s measurement: neck 17 1/2, arms 18, forearms 14 1/2, wrists 7 1/2, chest 48, waist 31, thighs 24, calves 16. Bodyweight ranges between 176 – 189. [S&H March 1953]

1952 Mr America Jim Park

Jim Park. 1952 AAU Mr. America, was raised in Brave, Pennsylvania, population 500. At age 13, his family moved to Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where he attended the local high school. He wrestled on the school team and showed promise of future athletic greatness.

At age 17, Park left school to join the United States Navy. Discharged in 1947, he moved to Chicago to attend the American Television Institute. (…)

He then began training exclusively at Johnson’s Gym and won the 1950 AAU Mr. Midwest, while placing ninth in the AAU Mr. America event.

The following year, Park placed fifth at the 1951 AAU Junior Mr. America and decided to have his last try at the 1952 AAU Mr. America contest. Approximately three months before the competition, he allowed Johnson to plan his diet and training protocol for the upcoming event. The system, included large amounts of a milk-and-egg based protein supplement, while Park engaged in a combination of heavy and light weight-training workouts.
Following his Mr. America victory, Jim worked for the York Barbell Company as a designer and fabricator for much of York’s home-style weight equipment. (…)
Jim Park died of natural causes on August, 28, 2007, at age 79. [source: Bill Pearl Facebook]

1953 Mr America Bill Pearl
Bill Pearl
Bill Pearl (Year 1952!)
The 1953 AAU Mr. America event, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, was quoted as, “one of the best ever.” Bill Pearl, a sailor in the United States Navy, stationed in San Diego, California, took the bodybuilding world by storm. Training at Leo Stern’s Gym, he had won the 1953 Mr. Southern California and the AAU Mr. California titles earlier that year, prior to Stern suggesting he compete in the AAU Mr. America contest for “the experience.”
Pearl was born on October 31, 1930 in Prineville Oregon, weighing 12 3/4 pounds at birth.
With $2,800 saved from his four-year military enlistment, he opened his first health club in 1954 in Sacramento, California. (…)

During the 1960’s, Pearl was in constant demand for guest appearances. On one occasion, he performed before a crowd of 25,000 in Bombay, India, posing, bursting hot water bottles, bending tent spikes, breaking chains, and tearing matching pairs of licence plates in half.  [source: Bill Pearl Facebook]

1954 Mr America Dick DuBois

DuBois is at the left. Dom Juliano is in the center, and Harry Johnson (Eastern Jr. Mr America) is at the right. (Cecile Charles Photo)
Born March 4, 1933, in New York City in the Bronx, Richard DuBois, 21, was the youngest man to be crowned Mr. America.

He has always been athletic, having won the Long Island championship in the 100 meter swim, and he used to amuse himself by diving 125 feet off bridges. He also did quite a bit of boxing and was in the New York City Golden Gloves Tournament twice in the 147-lb class.

He began weight training at the age of 16. At first he did mostly lifting, then gradually changed to bodybuilding as he wanted to win contests in order to make his mother proud of him.

Shortly after beginning bodybuilding, Dick met Geroge Eiferman, one of the most popular of Mr. Americas, who immediately saw Dick’s latent possibilities and encouraged him in his bodybuilding. Prior to the contest he trained faithfully, following Coach Eiferman’s instruction were just what was needed is self-evident.

Dick does not have any particular favorite exercise, but does all exercises, sometimes heavy, sometimes light; high repetitions, low repetitions, but adhering to progression in weight always, gradually bringing the body to its peak in muscular development, definition, strength, coordination and endurance.

Dick’s measurement: 6′ 1 1/2″ tall and weighs 215lb. He has a 50″ chest, 32″ waist, 18″ biceps and 17 1/2″ neck. [source: S&H September 1954]

1955 Mr America Steve Klisanin

Steve Klisanin, born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1929, was named1955 AAU Mr. America at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, beating out 46 contestants.
Klisanin had previously won the 1949 AAU Mr. Pittsburg, and the AAU 1953 Junior Mr. America titles and competed as a lifter at the 1954 Junior Nationals and won the middle heavyweight division with an 850-pound total.

Klisanin started weight-training at age 17, at the local YMCA, at a bodyweight of 135 poinds. His efforts rewarded him with muscles that were put to good use on the gridiron.

In 1950, he entered the AAU Junior Mr.America, and placed third to John Farbotnic and Roy Hilligenn. He entered the AAU Mr. America weeks later and tied with Jim Park for tenth place.
In 1954, Klisanin, on active duty with the United States Marine Corps, was sent overseas with little opportunity to weight-train due to lack of equipment and time. He resumed his heavy training when given the opportunity, and still stationed in the Far East, he traveled over 8,000 miles to Cleveland, Ohio , to win the Mr. America contest.
Steve Klisanin died May 9, 2005, at age 75. [source Bill Pearl’s fanpage]

Mr America 1956 Ray Schaefer

In the center you see Ray Schaeffer. He won the award of Jr. Mr. America. At right he is posed with the trophy in London, England for winning Mr Universe in amateur class

He won the Mr. A 56 and IFBB historian Joe Roark had a telephon conversation with him (2-8-1987)..further he made some short notes!

In 1963, his third day on the job, a pile of steel fell on him
crushing a leg. was off work for 5 years.

In 1970, a drunk, driving 115 mph in the wrong lame crashed into Ray and injured his other leg. was off work for four years.

He has no memoribilia from the old trophies, no mags, nothing. Doesn’t care for the modern female bodybuilders. Wrestled for a while as the Mighty Samson; one year he wrestled in England.

Signed one year contract with Weider around 1957. Ray contacted Weider recently and was told that Weider would send some old mags etc. which featured Ray. None was sent.


1957 Mr America Ron Lacy

“As a little boy I played all the games that interest children in their early years. At the age of 11 I began to play golf while working as a caddy at the Winchester Country Club. I developed and have maintained a keen interest in this sport, and although I don’t play as often as I would like to, I still regard golf as my second favorite sport.

Competitive weightlifting is my favorite, of course. In junior high school I became interested in football and basketball and played both of them through all four years of high school.

In addition I made the track team fo two years. In each of these sports I was fortunate enough to win district, regional, and state honors. [..]

I accepted the offer of a four year grant-in-aid scholarship at the University of Kentucky. It was only at this time that I was introduced to barbell training. [….]

I became more and more familiar with bodybuilding and weightlifting and knew the names of the top lifting and physique stars. [source: S&H 1958 May]

The winner, 28-year old Ron Lacy, scored 97.5 points, which was far ahead of the runner-up Gene Behaty and third place winner Harry Johnson.

Known for his leg strength, Lacy was able to do 50 consecutive 300-pound squats. In 1980, at age 51, he completed 15 half-squats with 535 pounds. In 1997, he was still capable of squatting 405 pounds for 12 reps. [source Bill Pearl’s fan page]

1958 Mr America Tom Sansone

We see Tom as he won the Mr. Universe, and is posed with Oscar Heidenstamm, the promoter of the Mr. Universe event.
Tom Sansone, born October 20, 1935, in New York City, was an outstanding baseball player in high school, with major league potential. He captured the 1958 AAU Mr. America contest in Los Angeles, California, after weight training for only four years. In spite of local sentiment favoring Lynn Lyman, Sanson was the popular winner, finishing with 95 points
As a physical education major at the City College of New York, Sansone had won the 1958 AAU Junior Mr. America event and during an interview commented, “I’m no brain. All I want is a degree and the know-how to someday operate my own gym.”

Tom Sansone died of cancer on October 16, 1974, at age 38. [source: Bill Pearl’s fanpage]

1959 Mr America Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson, the 1959 AAU Mr. America winner, won the event over 27 contestants held at the Interstate Fairgrounds in York, Pennsylvania. He was 35-years-old and had entered the contest each year since 1952. [source: Bill Pearl’s Fb page]

“Well – I’m married, the father of five healthy, happy children. I hold down two jobs, and yet I still find time to train five times a week, three hours each workout. What I’ve gained from barbell exercise can be counted not only in physical, but in spiritual values” – Harry Johnson [Source: Muscle Builde Jan 1957]

1960 Mr America Lloyd Lerille

loyd “Red” Lerille, Jr, born June 9, 1936, in Harvey, Louisiana, became the winner of the 1960 AAU Mr. America contest held in Cleveland, Ohio.
A high school wrestling champion and a graduate from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lerille took the Mr. Armed Services title in 1960, and was discharged from the United States Navy just months before capturing the Mr. America title with mass, muscularity, and broad shoulders.
Red entered the 1960 NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe contest and won his height class. At a height of five-feet, six-inches and weighing 185 pounds, his arms measured 17 1/4 inches; chest, 49 inches; waist, 31 inches; thighs, 24 inches; and calves, 16 1/4 inches. [source Bill Pearl Fb]


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #472 on: August 08, 2021, 12:20:02 PM »
1961 Mr America Raymond Routledge

Mr. Routlege won both the Mr. Universe title and Mr. America title in the same year 1961. For my younger followers: those two titles were the most prestigious titles in American Bodybuilding history!

Mr. Routledge was very famous, every bodybuilding magazine wanted to print his physique on their covers. Millions of young people saw and admired Routledge’s physqiue in those magazines!

Even young Arnold Schwarzenegger was aware of him! In his autobiography he wrote of seeing Routledge in many muscle magazines!

Ray Routledge: “When I came out on the stage to accept my Mr. America trophy, I knew that all the sweat and strain and pain had been rewarded.

I have mentioned the great help afforded me by Bill Peal and Vince Gironda. There were others, too, who helped me in more ways than one to reach my goal, not the least of which are my long-suffering wife and children, who saw so little of me during this intensive training period that they were beginning to wonder if I still belonged to them. I owe many thanks to all of them. Without their help and understanding I never would have made my fondest dream come true.”


1962 Mr America Joe Abbenda
joe abbenda

“Joe Abbenda, born July 4, 1939, in New York City, was a popular choice as the 1962 AAU Mr. America winner. His all-around musculature and ability to display his physique won the aproval of the judges and spectators. His closest rivals were Harold Poole and Hugo Labra.
Abbenda’s early physique development was a product of home training. He, along with Tom Sanson and Dennis Tinerino, (AAU Mr. America and NABBA Mr.Universe winners,) did their training in a cramped one-car home-gym garage adjacent to the Abbenda’s family home in Queens, New York.
Following his Mr. America victory, Abbenda flew to London, to capture the 1962 NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe crown. He returned to London in 1963, and won the NABBA Professional Mr. Universe title, becoming the first bodybuilder to win back-to-back NABBA Universe awards.
In 1964, Joe appeared with Reg Park in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a guest ententainer at the Mr. Republic of South Africa contest. He then retired from competitive bodybuilding, taught school for a time, and became an attorney.
In 2017, at age 81, Joe continues to weight train and lecture on the benifits of a healhy life-style as he carries on his law practice.” [source Bill Pearl fan page]

1963 Mr America Vern Weaver

Photo Courtesy Doug White
Vern Weaver the 1963 AAU Mr. America

Forty contestants entered the 1963 AAU Mr. America contest held at the Zembo Mosque in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Vern Weaver captured the title with 92.5 points out of a possible 100. This was Weaver’s fourth attempt to win the elusive crown.

In second place was the legendary African American Harold Poole, who walked off stage when his placing was announced. However, Poole had the consolation of winning the Most Muscular award.

Craig Whitehead, a medical student, at Tulane Medical School, placed third.

At a bodyweight of 205-pounds, Weaver represented the York Barbell Club and was a highly qualified Olympic weightlifter in the 198-pound division. At one meet he power-cleaned 370 pounds before jerking the weight overhead.

Weaver won the tall man’s division at the 1964 NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe. His final physique competition was at the 1966 NABBA Professional Mr. Universe contest where he placed second in the tall man class.

Little is recorded regarding Vern Weaver from 1966 onward. It is known he took his life in 1993, at age 56. [source Bill Pearl]

1964 Mr America Val Vasilieff
   Val Vasilieff mr america
Mr America Val Vasilieff (Photo by Milton Sacks)
“When I was 17 years old I weighed 170 pounds and practiced acrobatics everyday with my brother Bob. I started weightlifting in order to gain extra strength and endurance for the routines we rehearsed. A short time after I started I found I had greater strength and could easily do an iron cross in the rings, a three finger handstand, a straight arm hand stand lever, a straight arm flag and reverse flag. (…)
Through acrobatics and odd lifting I developed my upper body, but my legs were lacking in both size and strength. Determined to improve my lower body, I started to train on the Olympic lifts.”
 The men who entered the contest were 39 of the most well developed contestants ever to enter the Mr. America Contest. Not only were these men developed physically, but also mentally. For example, the second place man was John Gourgott, a senior year medical student; third place was Randy Watson, a minister from Tennessee; fourth place was Bill Seno, a school teacher; fifth place was Dr. Graig Whitehead, an eye surgeon and Captain in the Air Force. (…) I would like to take this opportunity to thank my many friends for the hundreds of letters and telegrams I received after winning the Mr. A title.” [source: S&H 1964 October]

1965 Mr America Jerry Daniels

Jerry Daniels Mr America 1965
Jerry Daniels was born in 1944 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had an on-again, off-again relationshp with bodybuilding, but not before he ruffled feathers by winning the 1965 AAU Mr. America title, at the Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

Daniels was a star football player in high school, with a father who was reluctant to let him work out with weights, believing it would hamper his ability in other sports. A conversation with Dave Collier, manager of the Colonial Health Studio in Chattanooga, put his father’s fears to rest, and Jerry was permitted to continue weight training.

The year 1965, proved to be Daniels banner year in bodybuilding. He won the AAU Jr. Mr. America and captured the Senior version. At age 21, at the height of six-feet and weighing 215 pounds, he shared the honor with Dick DuBois as the youngest to win either competition. [source: Bill Pearl’s Fan Page]

1966 Mr America Bob Gajda
mr america bob gajda
This shot was taken on the afternoon that Bob won the Mr. A title.
Bob Gajda, born September 13, 1940, was announced winner of the 1966 AAU Mr. America contest. It was the first year the competition was conducted on a seperate evening from the Senior National Weightlifting Championships.

The contest, held at the High School Auditorium in York, Pennsylvania, was a success with anyone of the top six competitors a worthy choice. Gajda, the winner, worked at the Duncan YMCA in Chicago, and trained with that year’s Mr.America runner-up and Most Muscular winner, Sergio Oliva.

Preparing for this competition, Gajda had devised a system of weight-training he called Peripheral Heart Action (PHA), which he clamed developed muscles quickly and was beneficial aerobically.

Bob had entered the Mr. America contest for the first time in 1964, but placed out of the top ten. In 1965, he had an outstanding year, winning the AAU Mr. USA and the Most Muscular award after taking second place at the Mr. America event.

At a height of five-feet, nine-inches and weighing 195 pounds, his arms measured 19 inches; chest, 49 inches; waist, 29 inches; thighs, 25 1/2 inches; and calves, 18 inches. [source: Bill Pearl’s Fan Page]

1967 Mr America Dennis Tinerino

Dennis Tinerino
Caption says: 1966 Mr Usa (photo by Doug White)
Dennis Tinerino, born December 25, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York, grew up surrounded by poverty and crime and still won the 1967 AAU Mr. America contest. As a youngster, Dennis shared his father’s interest in boxing and baseball, however, at East New York Technical Highschool, he took up fencing, prompted by a fellow student who commented, “he’s probably too muscle-bound to participate.”
In 1964, at age 19, Tinerino burst on to the bodybuilding scene by winning the AAU Teen Mr. America, the AAU Junior Mr. USA, and placed in the top ten at the AAU Mr. America competition. The following year, Dennis was crowned AAU Mr. USA, and finished sixth at the Mr. America event.
The year 1967, saw Dennis sweep the board as he won the Junior Mr. America and Most Muscular awards, followed by capturing the Mr. America contest held at the Veterans Memmorial Auditorium in Columbus Ohio. At a height of six-feet and weighing 217 pounds, his arms measured 19 1/2 inches; chest, 52 inches; waist, 32 inches; thighs, 27 inches; and calves, 18 inches. [source: Bill Pearl’s Facebook]

1968 Mr America Jim Haislop

Jim Haislop (Date Unknown)
” One evening he was persuaded to accompany a former schoolmate to the Tampa Health Club where for the first time, he took some interest in barbells and dumbbells. He met Dick Fudge, the gym operator, who was quick to realize that Haislop had the posibilities of becoming a physique star. Fudge spent considerable time explaining the benefits that are obtained from training with weights, such as health improvement, acquiring a better physical appearance, increasing the strength and developing an outstanding body.” [source: neckberg ]

1969 Mr America Boyer Coe

Boyer Coe Mr America
Boyer Coe holds the record for winning the most amateur and professional national and international bodybuilding contests. His competitive career spanned from 1964 to 1995. It consisted of 91 physique contest with 31 first place wins. He also appeared on 33 magazine covers.

Boyer had an exceptional year in 1981. At the height of five-feet, nine-inches and weighing 215 pounds, he won four out of nine professional physique contests. In 1994, he competed at his all-time heaviest bodyweight of 224 pounds at the IFBB Masters Mr. Olympia contest.

Asked what his greatest moment as a bodybuilder Boyer replied, “It wasn’t winninng a contest. I set a goal to bench press 400 pounds before I graduated high school. I managed to accomplish that. The weight may not be a lot by current standards, but I only weighed 180 pounds.”

Coe, the “Ragin Cajun,” presently lives in Huntington Beach, California. He continues to take his workouts seriously, training at 5:00 a.m., six days per week. “I have the gym nearly to myself,” he said. “And… I like it that way. [source: Bill Pearl’s Facebook]

1970 Mr America Chris Dickerson

Chris Dickerson around 1967. Photo by Clif Swan
Chris Dickerson, the winner of the 1982 IFBB Mr. Olympia award, was born August 25, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. Following graduation from a New York City college, he moved to Los Angeles in 1963, to train under the direction of Bill Pearl.

In 1970, Dickerson became the first African-American to win the AAU Mr. America crown and captured other major physique titles, including the 1973 NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe and the 1974 NABBA Professional Mr. Universe. In 1982, he won the IFBB Mr. Olympia contest, following two consecutive years as runner-up.

Standing 5′ 6″ tall, and weighing 190 pounds, Chris became the oldest, at age 43, to win the crown and the $25,000 first-place prize money.

On the heels of his 1982 “Olympia” victory, Chris began shuffling between Los Angeles and Manhattan to oversee his personal-training clientele. His last physique competition came at the 1994 IFBB Masters Mr. Olympia where, he won the Over 50 category,
Now living in Wilton Manors,Florida, Dickerson continues to weight-train and preach the benfits of a healthy lifestyle. [source: Bill Pearl’s Facebook]


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #473 on: August 08, 2021, 12:20:47 PM »
1971 Mr America Casey Viator

1972 Mr America Steve Michalik

1973 Mr America Jim Morris

Jim Morris around 1969. Photo by Konig
Jim Morris (August 31, 1935 – January 28, 2016) was an American bodybuilder known for winning competitions over a thirty-year career. Among the titles Morris won are: Mr. USA (1972), AAU Mr. America (1973), Mr. International (1974), and Mr. Olympia Masters Over 60 (1996).

At age 50, he became a vegetarian and over 15 years transitioned to vegan, a diet to which he credited much of his excellent health. He posed nude for a PETA ad in support of the vegan lifestyle.[source: wikipedia]

1974 Mr. America Ron Thompson

1975 Mr. America Dale Adrian

1976 Mr America Kalman Szkalak

1977 Mr America Dave Johns

1978 Mr America Tony Pearson

1979 Mr America Ray Mentzer


1980 Mr. America Gary Leonard


1981 Tim Belknap

1982 Rufus Howard


1983 Jeff King


1984 Joe Meeko

Joe Meeko w. girlfriend Renee Knappenberger (Author of picture: unknown
Joe Meeko was born on October 25, 1961. It seems there are some sources indicate that he was born in the year 1960.

Joseph John Meeko comes originally from North Catasauqua, Pa. Furthermore he graduated at Catasauqua Highschool in 1978 and Lehigh County Community College 1980. He was religiously and loved to attend churches like the Herrickville Wesleyan and Hope Baptist Church in Herrickville. [1]

He made a name himself in the world of bodybuilding and was able win titles such as 1984 Mr. America AAU in Pasadena, CA (1st Place Medium Class + Overall Winner) and 1988 Mr. Universe AAU in Tuscon, Arizona (1st Place Heavyweight Class + Overall Winner, where Joe was at his best at 5 ft. 7-3/4, 235 lbs.).

At the age of 27 he retired from bodybuilding competition, but he never lost
the passion working out. For the past years Joe offered free bodybuilding
advices through internetforums and some of his wisdoms are well-documented
in muscle-magazines. (source

1985 Michael Antorino


1986 Glenn Knerr


1987 Richard Barretta

1988 William Norberg


1989 Matt Dufresne


1990 Peter Miller

1991 Joe DeAngelis


1992 Mike Scarcella

1993 Billy Nothaft

1994 Andrew Sivert
1995 Terence Hairston


1996 Doug Rieser

1997 Bill Davey

1998 Harvey H Campbell

1999 Tracey Dorsey


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