Author Topic: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History  (Read 311950 times)


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #475 on: August 08, 2021, 12:22:54 PM »
Mr. America (contest)
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Mr. America
Sport   Bodybuilding
Awarded for   Physical fitness, trained muscular structure
First award   1939
First winner   Bert Goodrich
Most wins   
John Grimek
Alan Stephan (AAU and IFBB)
2 times
Most recent   Jay Brew (2020)
The Mr. America contest is a bodybuilding competition started by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). It was first held on July 4, 1939, and the winner was named "America's Best Built Man". In 1940 this was changed to what is now known as the Mr. America contest. In the mid-1940s, Joe and Ben Weider started the IFBB as an alternative to the AAU. They held their opposing contest, the IFBB Mr. America, in 1949 and then from 1959 through 1977.[1] Rights to the Mr. America name have been sold several times after AAU discontinued holding the contests in 1999.

1   History
2   Historic winners
3   1988 AAU Mr. America winners
4   Recent winners
5   See also
6   References
7   Further reading
8   External links
The AAU voted to discontinue holding bodybuilding competitions in 1999.[citation needed] In March 2017, AAU Strength Sports Chairman Martin Drake brought bodybuilding and fitness back to the AAU.[2][3]

In 2004, the World Bodybuilding & Fitness Association (WBFA) announced they had acquired the rights to the Mr. America name and would resume running contests under that banner.

Bob Bonham acquired the rights and from 2011 through 2013 held the Mr America contest under the sanction of the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding Federation), which is the amateur division of the WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation). The contests were drug tested under strict WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) guidelines using U.S. Olympic laboratory testing.

In 2015, rights to Mr. America were acquired by Bruce Ebel, and the contest's annual event cycle resumed via MRA Promotions. Qualifying events in spring were sponsored by the National Gym Association (NGA), Nspire Sports League (NSL), and Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE).[4] The Mr. America Expo and contest was to have been held in Baltimore in October 2017.[5]

In 2020, the contest resumed in the face of the pandemic as a non-sanctioned event (with no specific organization affiliation) promoted by Marc Tauriello of East Coast Fitness Concepts. The Mr. America Sports Festival & Expo was held October 9–11, 2020, in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Atlantic City Sheraton Ballroom.[6][better source needed]

Historic winners
Year   Overall Winner (AAU)[1]   Overall Winner (IFBB)[1]   Overall Winner (INBF)[7]   Overall Winner (Unsanctioned)
1939   Bert Goodrich (First Mr. America, but not AAU sanctioned)[8]          
Roland Essmaker         
1940   John Grimek         
1941   John Grimek         
1942   Frank Leight         
1943   Jules Bacon         
1944   Steve Stanko         
1945   Clarence Ross         
1946   Alan Stephan         
1947   Steve Reeves         
1948   George Eiferman         
1949   Jack Delinger   Alan Stephan      
1950   John Farbotnik          
1951   Roy Hilligenn         
1952   Jim Park         
1953   Bill Pearl         
1954   Dick DuBois         
1955   Steve Klisanin         
1956   Ray Schaefer         
1957   Ron Lacy         
1958   Tom Sansone         
1959   Harry Johnson   Chuck Sipes      
1960   Lloyd Lerille   Gene Shuey      
1961   Raymond Routledge   Gaétan D'Amours      
1962   Joe Abbenda   Larry Scott      
1963   Vern Weaver   Reg Lewis      
1964   Val Vasilieff (also spelled Vasilef or Vasilief)   Harold Poole      
1965   Jerry Daniels   Dave Draper      
1966   Bob Gajda   Chester Yorton      
1967   Dennis Tinerino   Don Howorth      
1968   Jim Haislop   Frank Zane      
1969   Boyer Coe   John Decola      
1970   Chris Dickerson   Mike Katz      
1971   Casey Viator   Ken Waller      
1972   Steve Michalik   Ed Corney      
1973   Jim Morris   Lou Ferrigno      
1974   Ron Thompson   Bob Birdsong      
1975   Dale Adrian   Robby Robinson      
1976   Kalman Szkalak   Mike Mentzer      
1977   Dave Johns   Danny Padilla      
1978   Tony Pearson         
1979   Ray Mentzer         
1980   Gary Leonard         
1981   Tim Belknap         
1982   Rufus Howard         
1983   Jeff King         
1984   Joe Meeko         
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         
2011         Rawle Greene   
2012         Daniel White   
2013         John Heart   
2014   (No show held)         
2015            Cleveland Thomas[9]
2016            Shevon Cunningham[10]
2019   (No contests)         
2020            Jay Brew
1988 AAU Mr. America winners
Overall Winner
William Norberg

Place   Tall
1st   Rory Leidelmeyer
2nd   Bob Gosch
3rd   Jim Badra
4th   Alex Sicignano
5th   Bob Good

Place   Medium-Tall
1st   William Norberg
2nd   Peter LaReau
3rd   Peter Moen
4th   Greg Ladd
5th   Braulio Medina

Place   Medium
1st   Casey Kucharyk
2nd   Abe Cuesta
3rd   Doug Brown
4th   Greg Long
5th   Brian Silk Sr

Place   Short
1st   Bryan McCluskey
2nd   David Brown (3)
3rd   Don Lemieux
4th   Brian Homka
5th   Rod Ketchens
Recent winners
Year   Location   Overall Winner[1][7]   Classic Physique
(added 2020)
2011   New York City, New York   Rawle Greene   
2012   Secaucus, New Jersey   Daniel White   
2013   Secaucus, New Jersey   John Heart   
2014   (No show held)   
2015   Rochester, New York   Cleveland Thomas   
2016   Washington, D.C. (Six Flags America)   Shevon Cunningham   
2017   (No show held)      
2018   (No show held)      
2019   (No show held)      
2020   Atlantic City, New Jersey   Jay Brew   Joe LaCerra


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #476 on: August 15, 2021, 01:14:57 PM »
East Coast Fitness Concepts Announces Mr. America All American Sports Festival to Air on CBS Sports Network
 Jul. 22, 2021, 08:00 AM
NUTLEY, N.J., July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Marc Tauriello of Nutley, NJ, and East Coast Fitness Concepts has reached a multi-year agreement with CBS Sports Network to televise the iconic Mr. America Contest. Mr. America is the longest-running and most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the country that dates back to 1939. CBS Sports Network will televise the 2020 Mr. America All American Sports Festival on Thursday, July 22, at 7 p.m. ET, leading right into CBS Sports Network's coverage of the 2021 SBD World's Strongest Man competition, bringing a night of strength to viewers nationwide.

In the midst of the pandemic, Mr. America saw a resurgence with the 2020 Mr. America safely held in Atlantic City, NJ. The event was well attended and adhered to all current New Jersey state Covid-19 safety protocols, with athletes including both men and women from over 20 different states competing for the nation's most prestigious bodybuilding titles.

The 2021 Mr. America All American Sports Festival will be held again this October in Atlantic City, NJ. This year's sports festival will now include a strongman event, as well as a powerlifting competition. The weekend-long festival will be live taped, produced by JOSUBU Productions, and air on CBS Sports Network at a later date. In addition, the bodybuilding event will be a drug-free and drug-tested event to ensure the most level playing field for all of the athletes.

Preliminary stages of the 2021 competition were documented in the reality series, "Mr. America's Gym. Eat. Repeat: The Road to Mr. America," which gave an insider's look at the physical and emotional impacts and challenges that each competitor experienced. Each show was filmed in the hometowns of six competitors, beginning at Gold's Gym in Crofton MD and culminated at the world-famous Gold's Gym in Venice California. Gold's Gym gym has been a primary sponsor of Mr. America since 2015 and has a long history with the event throughout its existence. 

Tauriello is also working on a brand-new reality show featuring some of the country's most elite drug-free bodybuilding/physique athletes. Filming will take place in numerous locations including New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, and California.

East Coast Fitness Concepts is a sports production and promotion company based out of Nutley, NJ.

For more information contact:

Marc Tauriello 973-632-6187 |

View original content:

SOURCE East Coast Fitness Concepts


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #477 on: August 17, 2021, 06:13:39 PM »
East Coast Fitness Concepts Announces Mr. America All American Sports Festival to Air on CBS Sports Network
 Jul. 22, 2021, 08:00 AM
NUTLEY, N.J., July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Marc Tauriello of Nutley, NJ, and East Coast Fitness Concepts has reached a multi-year agreement with CBS Sports Network to televise the iconic Mr. America Contest. Mr. America is the longest-running and most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the country that dates back to 1939. CBS Sports Network will televise the 2020 Mr. America All American Sports Festival on Thursday, July 22, at 7 p.m. ET, leading right into CBS Sports Network's coverage of the 2021 SBD World's Strongest Man competition, bringing a night of strength to viewers nationwide.

In the midst of the pandemic, Mr. America saw a resurgence with the 2020 Mr. America safely held in Atlantic City, NJ. The event was well attended and adhered to all current New Jersey state Covid-19 safety protocols, with athletes including both men and women from over 20 different states competing for the nation's most prestigious bodybuilding titles.

The 2021 Mr. America All American Sports Festival will be held again this October in Atlantic City, NJ. This year's sports festival will now include a strongman event, as well as a powerlifting competition. The weekend-long festival will be live taped, produced by JOSUBU Productions, and air on CBS Sports Network at a later date. In addition, the bodybuilding event will be a drug-free and drug-tested event to ensure the most level playing field for all of the athletes.

Preliminary stages of the 2021 competition were documented in the reality series, "Mr. America's Gym. Eat. Repeat: The Road to Mr. America," which gave an insider's look at the physical and emotional impacts and challenges that each competitor experienced. Each show was filmed in the hometowns of six competitors, beginning at Gold's Gym in Crofton MD and culminated at the world-famous Gold's Gym in Venice California. Gold's Gym gym has been a primary sponsor of Mr. America since 2015 and has a long history with the event throughout its existence. 

Tauriello is also working on a brand-new reality show featuring some of the country's most elite drug-free bodybuilding/physique athletes. Filming will take place in numerous locations including New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, and California.

East Coast Fitness Concepts is a sports production and promotion company based out of Nutley, NJ.

For more information contact:

Marc Tauriello 973-632-6187 |

View original content:

SOURCE East Coast Fitness Concepts

I might go. Anyone else going?


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #478 on: September 22, 2021, 09:09:12 AM »
1961 Mr America - AAU

1     Ray Routledge
2     Joe Abbenda
3     Franklin Jones (1)
4     Harold Poole
5     Bill Golumbick
6     William Stathes
7     Elmo Santiago
8     Gail Crick
9     Hugo Labra
10     Mike Ferraro
11     John Gourgott
12     Joe Lazzaro (1)
13     Alfred Souza
14     John Homola
15     William Rubinski
16     Lewis Wolter
17     Seymour Koenig
18     Andy Hernandez
19     Leroy Saba
20     Walter Hunt
21     Chester Yorton
22     Arthur Fickling (1)
23     Reed Phippen
24     Stanley Nobel
25     Alfred Saladino
26     Charles Pranke

Most Muscular
1     Hugo Labra


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #479 on: September 22, 2021, 09:09:57 AM »
IronMan, Vol 21, No 1, Page 8, September 1961

Routledge -- Mr. America, Labra Is Most Muscular
By the Editor
WHEN a man persists year after year, always either tying or taking second place it is gratifying to see him finally win the coveted title of Mr. America, as Ray Routledge did this year. Certainly it would be hard to find a man more representative of ideal American manhood. It would be hard to find a man more representative of what we feel the Mr. America title should represent. Ray is serving our country in the Air Force in Germany. He is married and has five children, a good education, and is very active in church and civic affairs. He is a leader and an example to all the youth of our nation, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually also. This is not the story of Ray, however, but the story of the Mr. America contest. We carried Rayon our cover and in our center spread last issue. This month we have a cover shot of the Most Muscular winner, Hugo Labra.

The location of the Mr. America contest was the new Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, certainly one of the finer new auditoriums, ideally arranged for the lifting and the Mr. America, with a huge stage that was more than ample for all back stage activities. It is located near the downtown section with lots of parking area.

The judging this year was done in a prejudging session Saturday morning before the lifting started. It would have been better to have done this Friday morning so that the Most Muscular could have been pre-judged also. As it was, the Most Muscular had to be judged at the first night's physique contest.
Name   Affiliation   Points
Ray Routledge Jr.   U.S. Air Force   97
Joseph Abbedna   New York City   92¾
Franklin Jones   L.A. YMCA   91¾
Harold Poole   Olympia HC, Indianapolis   91½
William Golumbick   Sterns, Sandiego   90¼
Bill Stathes   San Francisco Y   89¾
Elmo Santiago   Continental Club, NYC   88¾
Gail Crick   Arizona   88¼
Hugo Labra   MBWLC, Santa Monica   88
Mike Ferraro   York AC, Buffalo   87¼
John Gourgott   New Orleans AC   87
Joseph Lazarro   York AC, Buffalo   86¾
Alfred Souza   Pearle's Gym, Sacramento   82½
John Homola   Stern's, San Diego   82½
William Rubinski   Cal's Gym, L.A.   78½
Lewis Wolter Jr   Milwaukee HS   78
Seymour Koenig   MBWLC   76¼
Leroy Sava   Martin's, San Francisco   75
Andy Hernandez   El Paso YMCA   75
Walter Hunt   Doyle's Ranch, Arizona   73
Chester Yorton   So. Milwaukee HS   71
Arthur Fickling   7th Marine Reg Camp P   68½
Reed Phippen   Los Angeles   66¼
Stanley Noble   Vic Tanny   61½
Alfred Saladino   U.S.M.C.   61
Charles Pranke   Bruce Conner Gym, L.A.   60½
This was the first year of pre-judging and no advance planning or thinking had apparently been done. It was a little rough and ragged in procedure but this should be greatly improved by next year. Even so, I'm sure that competitors and judges alike agree that it is a great improvement over the previous confusion of judging at the contest itself. If someone could be appointed as head judge for a month or so ahead of time they would have time to organize the whole procedure and make a smooth running, efficient operation of it. There are several things that should be done at a pre-judging session. All judges ought to be briefed on the entire procedure and all contestants should also be briefed. Provision should be made for judging under normal light and also posing under a spot light. Provision should also be made for interviews and judges should be encouraged to mix with the contestants previous to the actual judging session and observe contestants as they are at ease, talk to them and observe them as they warm up. Actually, contestants should be encouraged NOT TO WARM UP. This does not impress the judges one iota. In fact, it might prejudice some judges. It is such an obvious attempt to show something you don't really possess.

I'm sure that although the pre-judging was not as well organized and planned as it might have been, it was still highly satisfactory and the judges did an excellent job. Much satisfaction was expressed among the judges over being able to view the men at close range and under normal lighting conditions and with no posing. This pre-judging was done at the Muscle Beach Gym and took about two hours. All the contestants, 27 of them, were stripped, and came before the judges for their interviews, in which they were asked about their education, athletic ability, and any other questions the judges wished answered in that particular case. During this period the judges observed how the man conducted himself, his speaking ability and his personality. Although there are no Points for all these items, the judges adjust their other points to obtain the total points they think the man deserves overall.

After these interviews the men were brought before the judges in two groups. (There were too many for one group.) There the judges compared them in relaxed front, side and back positions. They were then brought back individually and in small groups and eliminations began until there remained about 6 top men whom the judges inspected very carefully and discussed the merits of the various men. Some people feel that the judges should not be allowed to discuss the men during the judging but contention is that if you have judges you cannot trust, you ought to get different judges. I realize that you may have judges who will try to influence other judges during these discussions. This is only natural. If a judge likes some man in particular and thinks he ought to win then he will talk in favor of this man. This may have some influence on the other judges, but we must remember that the other judges also have the opportunity to talk for the men of their own choice. I realize that this feature of pre-judging has pros and cons and I would not be dogmatic about it. If the majority think that the judges should not be allowed to discuss the men then I will go along with the idea.

Here are a few things that the judges look for and some of the things they object to. I hope that physique contestants will observe these remarks for they are important to them. When you refuse to conduct yourself as the judges request you have just about ruined your chances of winning a title. In the. first place when the judges ask you to relax, they mean relax. Over 50 per cent absolutely refuse to relax. They think they can keep their lats spread, their abdominals tensed or other muscles tensed and the judges won't know it. Listen fellows, if you tense one little muscle these judges will know it. They are men with years of experience both as barbell men, trainers, and officials. I have never known a judge who expressed admiration for a man going around with his lats spread and his arms sticking out from his sides. This is not normal posture or normal appearance.

If this is an acquired habit that you're no longer conscious of, then you'd better break the habit. You do not help yourself or the game by going around like a bird ready to take off. Sure, big lats are admirable, but people can admire them without your spreading them all the time. I know what I'm talking about. I was a kid once and I went through the phase of lat spreading myself until I finally arrived at the conclusion that it was silly. The same goes for tensing the other muscles. Nearly all the judging is done from the relaxed athlete. In fact all the judging was done relaxed and under normal lighting this time. There was practically no posing done or requested.

In line with this we'd like to remark about the need for good posture. This is one of the most important features in a pre-judging session. Some of the fellows with the best development in the Mr. America contest had terrible posture. This dropped them much lower in points than their general physique would justify. It also brought up some men who had outstanding posture. So many fellows have been conscious of posing from the front that they have developed a habitual poor posture, a sort of round shouldered slump. This is very bad and if continued will probably defeat their chances of winning a top physique honor where prejudging is used.

Remember a judge can see your bulk and definition just as well when you're relaxed as he can when you're tensed because he is trained in this. Learn all you can about good posture and practice this. It will give you added points in a contest.

In addition to good posture let us offer a bit of advice to you on your approach to the posing platform at the show itself. Many men walk up slowly and slumped as if they were about dead. Approach the platform with pep, speed and spring in your step, and an erect posture. A smile is fine if you're right for it, but too much smiling during a posing routine can ruin your presentation. On some fellows a smile becomes a grimace because they are straining so hard. Do not strain in your poses; go through them easily and fast; do not hold a pose long enough for people to start picking out the flaws in your physique or your pose. Do not pose too long. Leave them while they still want more. Never completely satisfy your audience. Never strain until you shake in your poses as some men do. This is bad and the mark of an amateur. Never warm up so much that you're sweating and sweat is running down your body and dripping on the platform. Many top men never warm up at all for a posing routine.

We hope readers will pardon us for this digression from the main topic but we felt that this was the place to discuss some of these things for these boys do need help and are eager for it and I know the judges would like to get these things across to them somehow for they become a bit perturbed when their requests are ignored.

Most of the men competed in the Most Muscular contest the first night and it was a very difficult task to pick the best man. Many men with outstanding muscularity did not even place. Such supermen as Stathes, Saba, Lazzaro, Wolter, and Santiago, with very outstanding muscularity, were not even in the first four. Anyone could have been a worthy winner. It was a difficult task for the judges and they certainly were not unanimous in their selections. They found it difficult to select anyone for first place, and just as difficult to place the others.

Usually the announcement of the winner of the Most Muscular is held up until the second night so that both the Most Muscular winner and the Mr. America winner are announced at the same time.

This time the sponsors insisted that the Most Muscular be announced on Friday and Mr. Johnson reluctantly permitted this.

The winner was apparently a very popular selection with the crowd according to their reaction, for when Hugo Labra was presented as the winner the crowd raised the roof. He is certainly an outstanding muscular giant. Standing about 5'7" tall and weighing 182, he looks shorter because of his great breadth of shoulders and massive development. Hugo was Pan Am Games hammer throwing champ with a toss of 201 feet. He is from Mexico but became an American citizen on December 28, 1960 and is a draftsman at Douglas Aircraft. He is 31 years old and photos do not begin to do him justice. He is so full of pep, energy and sparkle, and so huge in physique that it can't show in a photo.

Second place went to Joe Abbenda, who has been competing for some years in these contests. He has an outstanding physique with a lot of definition.

There was a tie for third place between Franklin Jones, who had won one of the Jr. Mr. America titles, and Ray Routledge.

In the Mr. America contest the judges were still brought to the front and had to put on a show of voting etc. which I don't approve of. I feel the audience should have been told that the contest was prejudged and the judges should not be required to carryon a farce or pretense of judging.

The trophies were the finest I have ever seen, with the Mr. America trophy being nearly five feet tall. Ray Routledge won first place as mentioned previously, with a total of 97 points. Athletic points were still used this year but it is expected that this will be changed next convention so that points will not be given but qualifying totals will be required to assure that the winner is a good athlete.

Second place went to Joe Abbenda of New York City. Joe is 21 years of age and is presently working as a shoe salesman and has a B.A. degree in History and Government and plans to take a law course. He is 6 feet tall and weighed about 200 and has made an 850 total on the Olympics.

Franklin Jones won third place and is a finely built colored boy, 23 years of age. He works as a warehouseman and is 5' 6", weighs 180 and is an outstanding lifter.

Harold Poole who won 4th, had won the Jr. Mr. America title in Columbia. He is only 17 years of age and I believe it was agreed that he had the most outstanding physique there from the standpoint of shape, development, definition, and general overall proportion. Here is a colored boy who has good calves. He has a lot of time and will undoubtedly make great improvement. Here again is a fellow who doesn't show his best in photos. He has made great progress and become quite outstanding even tho fighting against considerable handicaps. You will hear a great deal of this boy in the future for he has the foundation for becoming the greatest physique his race has ever produced. He has a good posing routine and a nice personality.

William Golumbick came in 5th because of his outstanding posture. Of course he has an outstanding physique but his posture was the best of any of the contestants. It gave a beautiful effect to his standing and walking positions. I would go so far as to say that very few of the top men had good posture and I hope they will improve this in the coming year. Bill is an outstanding example. He has a very pleasing physique and looks best in relaxed poses -- very symmetrical and proportionate.

Bill Stathes, placing 6th, looked much better than last year for he was a little heavier and did not look overtrained. We expected him to place higher than he did for he has exceptional muscularity, excellent definition, and is a very good athlete. He is married and is on the San Francisco Police force. At 35 he has a lot of time ahead but believe he will spend more time at lifting at which he is very good, having an official 870 total at 198. He weighed a little over 200 this year as compared with 185 last year.

I do not like to point out the weak points of the fellows but if they are aware of them they might do something to correct them. I would say that the calves come in for a lot of attention when pre-judging is done. From a rear view you get a good comparison of calves. One of the weak points of Bill was his calves. Quite a number of the fellows were weak in this respect. This is seldom so noticeable from the front, especially when the men are posing on the platform. Some of them can show impressive calves when they tense and pose them but standing relaxed they do not look so good. I do know that this was one of the reasons Bill and several others did not place higher. Poor calves and poor posture were two major weaknesses of most of the contestants. Very few had really good posture, probably not over 4 or 5 of the 27. This has not been so noticeable before when the judges could only view the men when they were posing on the platform. Posture is usually noticed only in side poses and many of the fellows either don't know what good posture is or else they have deliberately used poor posture in their posing so long that they can no longer assume the correct positions.

Here are a few evidences of poor posture as we saw them that day. The shoulders are rounded and there is a pronounced hump in the upper back and the shoulder blades sometimes protrude; there is a sway in the lower back sometimes. The chest is flat rather than lifted and high, the head assumes a forward position and the hips sometimes have a forward set. You can imagine what this does to an otherwise fine physique that may look terrific under lights on a posing platform.

Elmo Santiago was 7th. Elmo has won many titles and looked better this year than he did last year. He is 30, married, has 2 children and is an excellent boxer and swimmer as well as totaling 750 as a middleweight. Elmo has nice, tho not perfect, posture.

Gail Crick, in 8th place, one of the smallest men in the contest was also one of the most perfectly developed. Here is a man who has such a fine physique that it is almost impossible to pick a flaw. Every muscle is in perfect proportion to the other with a very well balanced development. I would probably be safe in saying that he had the most perfect physique of any man there. At 5'4½" and weighing 150, he probably isn't big enough to suit most people or most judges but I do know that all the judges commented on the perfection of his flawless physique. He has excellent posture and a nice even tan, not too dark. He lives and trains in a remote mining area and has to train alone, but even so he is an outstanding lifter. He would make an ideal Mr. America. He will undoubtedly improve a lot yet and with a little more bulk he might hit the top.

Hugo Labra, in winning 9th place, was popular with the crowd. He Was quite happy with winning the Most Muscular, as some fellows consider this a more important title than the Mr. America. We've already told you about this fellow.

Mike Ferraro in 10th place is a former Teen Age winner and has also won many other titles. He is 22 and 5'8½", weighed 180 and is a bartender in his father's establishment.

Eleventh place man, John Gourgott, is another Jr. Mr. America winner and is 5'11" tall and weighs 195. He has a B.S. in Mathematics and is now a pre-med student. Here is a very well built fellow who will undoubtedly make a lot of progress.

Joseph Lazzaro in 12th place is a fellow who tries regularly and has won a lot of titles and continues to improve. He is well educated, handsome and would be a credit to the title and deserves a high placing. He is 30 years of age, married, and an Art Education teacher in Buffalo. He is also a Jr. Mr. America.

Ai Souza, in 13th place, has a nice physique of a little more slender type but perfectly muscled. He is a very good athlete, having won several lifting titles. He has made a 375 bench press and a 475 squat officially. He is 34 years of age, married, and has three children.

Bill Rubinski is another young man with a very outstanding physique. He is 22 and a good athlete. He has the broad shouldered, deep chested, slim hipped type of physique that the general public likes. A very nice personality, and he is good at broad jumping and judo.

Lew Wolter is another giant who has won a Jr. Mr. America title and ought to place higher. He looks very impressive when relaxed and has good posture. His arms and shoulders are exceptional, with huge biceps. He is 33 years of age, married, has three children and works at air conditioning. He has an excellent athletic career in his past. He has the physique to place high up with the best.

We would like to point out here that most of the men in this contest placed around 80 points and higher. This means that they are almost as good as the winners, and indicates how close this contest was.

Seymour Koenig, 27 years of age and a long time contestant is still improving and works in the movies.

Leroy Saba is, in my estimation, one of the finest built small men ever seen and deserves to place high. Very muscular, lots of definition and good shape, he is a regular little giant. He is 23 years of age and was second in Most Muscular last year. He is also exceptionally strong and a fine lifter.

May we point out that among the top men there is very little to choose between them. To illustrate this may we refer you to last year's contest when Lloyd Lerille won but Routledge was second, Lazzaro was 3rd (this year he was 12th but I thought all the men were equally as well built as last year) and Abbenda was 5th last year but second this year. Stathes was 4th last year but this year he was 6th tho I'm sure the judges would agree he looked better this year. This would seem to be a little fickle, but this year the judges voted twice on the top men; once by points and once by selection. They themselves did not know how their points came out or who they selected that way, but later the points were totaled and it was found that their votes tallied exactly with their point totals. That is, as a group they voted the same both ways. This was unusual and rather unexpected. Apparently this group of judges did the best they knew how and yet several of them were on the same panel last year. I would say that there probably isn't as much difference between these top men as their points would seem to indicate. Perhaps just one little flaw in their physique may put them down the list quite a distance. The public may never notice this flaw and they cannot understand it and probably the man himself never knows why he is placed lower than he expected.

Walter Hunt is a young married man of 29 who suffers so much from asthma that he could do no heavy leg work and yet has built a physique that placed him well in a Mr. America contest. We understand that he was the youngest Eagle Scout in the U.S.A.

Chester Yorton is a handsome, well built young fellow of 22 who works in a factory making steam shovels. He is a fine baseball and basketball player and ice skater. He was in a very serious auto accident not long ago and both his legs were shattered and he now has steel plates in his thighs. The doctors told him he couldn't walk for 3 years or more but with tenacity and barbell training he was walking in less than 6 months and soon developed a pair of outstanding legs, tho he still bears long scars on each thigh where the doctors opened them to operate.

Art Fickling is 20 and is an athletic director in the Marines. His football team won the all Marine title. He has a very fine physique, but like some of the others, should improve his posture. He is an excellent tumbler.

Reed Phippen, 23. and another shoe store clerk is a winner of the Most Muscular title in the Mr. Utah contest. Stanley Noble, with a nice V-shaped smooth type physique, was probably the best educated man there, having three degrees and having done considerable research work. Al Saladino is 26, married, and has one child. He is a fine half-mile runner. Charles Pranke has an excellent physique and is a good lifter. He got his start in gymnastics and thus has an excellent set of abdominal muscles. He is 25 years of age and is majoring in Biology.

This is a rather long report but we felt that you'd like to know something about the different contestants. You'll hear more of them in Iron Man as time goes by for they will profit by their experience and some of them will win next year. None of them should be discouraged by their placing for, as you can see, this fluctuates up and down. They should all keep the ideal of good health and efficiency uppermost in their minds rather than winning a title; for good health is the greatest prize they can win. We find in general that the Mr. America contestants are well educated men of high character. We stated their ages and family status for a purpose and you can see that most of them are married and have children and good jobs and professions. You are never too old to improve your body and just because you are married and have a number of children is no excuse for not having good health and a fine physique. Anything I have said regarding these men has not been as criticism but rather as suggestions that will help them in the future. We are proud to be associated with them. They are a fine group of men.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #480 on: September 22, 2021, 09:10:38 AM »
Mr. America Magazine, Vol 4, No 6, Page 36, November 1961

MR. AMERICA 1961...
Mr. America for 1961 was selected on the same stage of the beautiful new Santa Monica Civic Auditorium from which the 1961 movie Academy Awards television show originated.

But that was the only thing the two events had in common. All the fine organization of the show, the precise planning and the showmanship - especially the showmanship - in the Oscar Awards event were missing in the physique contest.

Here was a competition to select the strongest men with the finest physical development in America. Why was it not nationally televised? why was the auditorium only half filled with spectators? Why was it run off with less drama than a community dog show?

Obviously, the sponsors who have taken over the once glamorous Mr. America contest - the tired old men who are the petty tyrants of the AAU - must be blamed.

The Amateur Athletic Union was at its amateurish worst in this presentation.

Press relations were particularly badly handled.

Accredited photographers with their cameras and lights were informed at the main door that their press badges would only admit them through the stage door, whence they could find their way to the press section.

A newsreel photographer was brushed off even more bluntly. He was an accredited representative of one of the biggest newsreel organizations. But he couldn't even get into the auditorium.

He left angrily, and there went an opportunity to carry the physical training message to thousands of viewers.

It seems there had been an edict that there were to be no movies taken during the performances - except those taken specifically for the AAU.

But while an iron curtain had to be penetrated by the press and magazine photographers to take pictures during the contest, they were given no help and no protection whatever in taking the important pictures of the winners.

The instant the winner, Ray Routledge was named, the amateur photographers in the crowd were allowed to swarm into the press section and make it almost impossible for the newspaper and magazine men to do their job.

Thus, they could capture not one iota of the backstage drama which could help enormously to give flavor to their stories and help to popularize strength events.

The show itself was so badly organized that the Friday night section which consisted of the weightlifting in the 181-pound, 198-pound and heavyweight classes and the selection of the "Most Muscular" bodybuilder lasted from 7 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., or six hours and a half.

Through it all, the bored attitude of the AAU officials colored everything. The incredible accomplishments of the great weightlifting champions were passed off as routine. The athletes were given no identity, in either the weightlifting or the fine physique contest. They were presented only as names and numbers.

Then finally when awards were presented, the athletes in many cases were allowed to accept them in street clothes -- they type of clothing the boys might wear loafing around the gym before and after workouts.

Spectators who turned out to see supermen in action sometimes saw men dressed like bums receive the awards. Presentation of the awards was in an off-hand fashion, as bare tokens to men who had proved themselves the strongest in the nation.

"Shall we give the awards now?" one of the AAU brass asked, on stage.

"Might as well. We have some time to kill," was the reply, made into a live microphone by the master of ceremonies at the end of the weightlifting competition on Saturday afternoon.

The Mr. America contest which was the grand climax of the show was rushed through as if it were a painful duty. Practically no information was given about any of the contestant, except home town, height and weight, and the basis of the judging was inadequately explained.

More honor was paid to the judges than to the contestants .

Franklin Jones, of the Los Angeles Y.M.C.A., a good lifter as well as a home town favorite, barely had time to take a bow before attention was shifted.

Then Joseph Abbenda, of New York City, competing unattached, was given his trophy, but only an instant to hear applause before the winner, Ray Routledge, Jr., of the U. S. Air Force, was allowed to take the stage.

Will he become a national hero, like so many of the "Mr. America" winners of the past, or will AAU domination cheat him of any real measure of new fame?


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #481 on: September 22, 2021, 09:11:34 AM »
1962 Mr America - AAU

1     Joe Abbenda
2     Harold Poole
3     Hugo Labra
4     Vern Weaver
5     Vic Seipke
6     Mike Ferraro
7     William Stathes
8     Bill Seno
9     Joe Lazzaro (1)
10     Kenny Hall
11     Joseph Simon
12     Joseph LaPorta
13     Ralph Kleiner
14     Tuny Monday
15     Billy LeMacks
16     Carl Stelzen
17     Steve Sakoulos
18     Norman Bedell
19     Jerry Doettrel
20     Gary Steuer
21     Chester Yorton
22     Robert Girard
23     Robert Herzong
24     Jack Allen

Most Muscular
1     Harold Poole
2     Hugo Labra
3     Joe Abbenda
3     Vern Weaver



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #482 on: September 22, 2021, 09:12:23 AM »
IronMan, Vol 21, No 6, Page 12, August 1962

Abbenda Wins "Mr. America"
As Twenty-five Men Compete For Title
By The Editor
IRON MAN cover man for last issue, Joe Abbenda, won the Mr. America title this year. (See his story in March, Vol. 21, No.4 issue of Iron Man.) Joe has been trying for several years and finally reached second place last year and won the coveted title by a narrow margin this year, being only two points ahead of Harold Poole, the young teen-ager who, incidentally, came through for a first place in the Most Muscular event this year. Hugo Labra, last year's Most Muscular Man winner, was pushed to second place in this event this year, and Abbenda came in third, tho he was second last year.

In the Mr. America event, Labra came in third this year. Vern Weaver was fourth.

I have been a judge at more Mr. America contests than any other man in America and probably have officiated as a judge at more physique contests, yet I never fail to be surprised at the placings of some men in these events. Each group of judges sees things a little different than others do. What constitutes a top physique is a matter of opinion; it is relative. No two men agree in every respect, and usually their opinions vary widely. I recall one minor contest in which one judge insisted on placing one man quite high because he had good legs, tho the kid had almost nothing above the waist. Some judges, on the other hand, almost fail to notice if a man has legs at all. Judges have a wide variation of ideas of what the word "muscularity" means. To some it seems to mean "most muscle" while to others it just means "most definition."

Quite frequently competitors or their friends will come to me and ask what they need to make them winners, or why they didn't win. I have no satisfactory answer for them as a general rule, unless it would be to pick the right judges and of course they have nothing to do with this. If a man is near the top, all I can do is tell him to keep trying and some time he may hit the right combination of judges who will give him the title.

Many men, of course, have some faults that are quite obvious, and these men can be given helpful advice. The top men who come in the first 6 places or so, generally are good enough to win if they have a little luck.

We have talked much about the need for uniformity in officiating lifting, but we are equally in need of uniformity of physique officiating. Very little is likely to be done in the USA in this respect as long as physique contests are supervised and controlled by the weightlifting association, for the lifters and lifting officials in general do not like physique contests and do not consider it worthwhile to make much of an attempt to improve them. Most certainly some clinics on judging a physique would make for much more satisfactory results. Much could be done to improve this phase of the game.

This part of the contest was held on the evening of June 2nd after the lifting. Not all the physique entries entered this, but most of them did and they really looked great. Each year the men seem to look better than the year before, but this is probablY just the result of the enthusiasm at seeing so many top men lined up again. Most certainly the men entered this year were just as good as in previous years. Many of them showed great improvement over past years. Young Harold Poole was considerably improved but he did not have an easy victory in the Most Muscular contest, as last year's winner, Hugo Labra, showed a great deal more definition and, I would say, he was a lot better than last year and had been training very hard for this event. Abbenda was improved over last year and quite a number of the others were much improved. Weaver, with his added bulk, showed good definition and excellent symmetry. Siepke, after being out of competition for at least six years, made a great comeback and looked better than ever. Ferraro was bigger and more muscular than ever, as was William Stathes.

Poole had just a little too much muscular size over all and excellent definition for the other boys, and so came in first for the Most Muscular title. Labra was so close it must have been difficult for the judges to place him second. Abbenda was very happy with third, I am sure, for he was the ultimate winner of the Mr. America title.

This event is the one that usually draws the crowds and thus helps finance the lifting events. There is something magnetic about the perfectly developed physique with a beautiful golden tan that everyone admires, and to see these men lined up for the Mr. America contest is an unbelievable sight to someone who has never had the privilege of seeing it before. You just can't believe that such perfection, size and magnificence can be attained, and it is so different from seeing them in photos.

Most of these men had trained extremely hard for this event, some of them spending hours a day at it for several weeks. Years of very hard work are behind most of these fellows, tho, and their most difficult period is just a few weeks before the contest.

Most of the fellows who enter these physique contests are among the finest in any branch of athletics. They are men who, above all, are interested in self-improvement, not just their physiques, but their minds and morals as well. They are fine, clean living young fellows with high ideals and ambitions and most of them are college graduates. A large share of them are married and have families. America would be a much better place with more such outstanding young men. I do know that occasionally someone will come along with poor character, and because the press wants sensationalism, this man's mistakes will be given publicity out of proportion to its importance and because of these few bad characters, many millions of fine bodybuilders have to hang their heads in shame. This should not be so, for bodybuilding is one of the greatest activities for building a greater America, and more emphasis ought to be placed on it, not for the sake of a fine physique alone, but also for the good health it fosters and the general overall character building qualities it stimulates.

I would like to take you with me on a little visit with each of the entrants and find out about these men; what they do for a living, how they live, how they train and what they can do. We will start with them as they were numbered for the contest.

BILLY LEMACKS of Florida was No. 1. This young man has been lifting and bodybuilding for several years and won Teen Age Nationals Lifting and Jr. National Lifting titles. He is a lightweight of 145 lbs., but has very good shape and exceptional definition as you will see by his photo. He will improve a great deal, and with more bulk ought to have an excellent chance at the top title. If be could weigh 170 witch his present shape and definition he would be terrific.

CHESTER YORTON had entered many contests and won many titles. He is a very handsome young man with a very outstanding physique. He has lots of bulk and fair definition and good proportions. As we have mentioned before, this man suffered a very severe auto accident about 3 or 4 years ago and shattered the bones in both thighs. One thigh now has a steel plate in it and the other a steel rod, but this man has developed amazing legs and can now squat with 500 lbs. Several judges jestingly remarked that they guessed they would get some steel rods put in their legs if they could learn to squat with 500 lbs. Yorton is a fine baseball and basketball player and expert on ice skates.

KEN HALL has been entering and winning physique contests for several years. he is 5'10½" tall and weighs 187. He is 32 years of age and has been training for 9 years. He migrated from the British West Indies 11 years ago and works as a foreman in a wholesale company. He is married and has one child. He has done some weightlifting and has made a 775 total. He has terrific definition and a very unusnal shape, with exceptional abdominals.

ROBERT GIRARD is a construction worker, has a nice physique and is married and the father of one child. He is 20 years of age, He trained 2½ hours per night 3 nights per week and has made 200, 185 and 250 on the Olympic lifts, He will do well with more training and experience.

MIKE FERRARO is well known to readers, having been our cover man on the March Vol. 21 No. 4 issue of Iron Man. We will have a full story on him with a lot of fine photos soon. He has won many titles, including the Teen age Mr. America and Mr. North America; altogether 13 physique titles. He is 23 years of age, married and has a little boy. Mike has been training 7 years and has made an Olympic total of 775 and a squat of 485, weighs 180 at a height of 5'8". Mike is managing a restaurant for his father and plans to finish his college training this winter, majoring in Physical Education. He has most exceptional thighs and shows unusual definition all over his body. He takes very heavy workouts.

JOHN SCHUBERT entered the contest for fun and had not trained really seriously for it, but has a very nice physique anyhow, which could have shown more definition with heavier training. He is an outstanding weightlifter, and operates the Olympic Health Club in Cleveland.

VERN WEAVER entered a number of contests several years ago and we took some color photos of him at the Mr. America contest in Los Angeles in 1958. We used one of these shots on the cover in December 1960. We were amazed to see the tremendous improvement in this man, and we were told that he had made most of it (gained 20 lbs. of shapely, solid muscle) in just two months while training in his basement at home. He would not divulge the training methods he had used, but expressed the thought that most bodybuilders and lifters train too hard for best results. All this improvement came after a layoff of 3 years. Altogether he has had 9 years of trainlug and presently is employed selling memberships for the Bacon Health Studio in York. He is 5'9½" tall and looks taller, so well is he proportioned, and weighs 200 presently, with 52 inch shoulders, 48 chest, 31 waist, 24 thighs, 16½ calf and 17½ arm, according to his own statements, and I would say that all tnese measurements are from one to several inches smaller than they actually are. Most weight men exaggerate their measurements, but from the looks of this fellow he is understating his measurements. We feel he should enter the Mr. Universe this year. He is 25 years old and an outstanding athlete. His shape and proportions are outstanding; he has good definition and fine skin tone. We feel he has one of the finest physiques in the world. He has made a total of 845 on the Olympics and plans to go to 220 bodyweight.

HUGO LABRA, last year's Most Muscular Man, looks better than ever, if that is possible, and had been training hard for this contest. We know he was disappointed at not placing higher and he really looked good, for he is a real little giant of 5'6¾" and 180 pounds of solid muscle. He is 32, single, and has been training 16 years. Hugo works for Douglas Aircraft and has had 2 years of engineering training and is finishing his education in a West Coast University. He came from Lima, Peru 9 years ago and is now a U. S. citizen and was the Pan Am champ in 1951 and has done 240, 225, 297 in the Olympic lifts at 148 pounds bodyweight. He also squats with 475 and bench presses 400 for 2 reps and curls 190. Hugo has one of the best physiques in the country for a short fellow, and will surely continue to improve. He was our cover man in the September issue and we have had other outstanding photos of him and have many more to show.

JERRY DOETTREL decided to take up weight training because the bigger kids picked on him. They don't do that any more. He is single, 21, and at the bodyweight of 148 he made 215, 175, and 270 on the Olympic lifts and was a star on his high school track team. He works as a stock broker and plans to further his education.

JOSEPH LAPORTE is 22, single, and has made a 425 squat at 180 bodyweight. He owns his own house painting business. He was an outstanding football star in high school and has a nice physique which will improve a great deal with more training.

WM. STATHES is one of our frequent Mr. America competitors and always impresses everyone with his outstanding physique. Bill is married, is on the San Francisco Police force and is exceptionally strong, having made a 910 total on the Olympic lifts. This year he weighed 215 as compared to 200 last year and 185 the year before. I know Bill wonders why he doesn't place higher (and I often wonder myself), for he certainly has an outstanding physique.

BILL SENO is a young fellow with a herculean physique. He has exceptionally fine legs and is very muscular everywhere. He is a good lifter and I believe he has pressed 290. He has done 320 with a lot of backbend. He has made an 815 total at 188 bodyweight. He excelled at football and wrestling and played football while attending Western Illinois University for 3 years. He is 23, single, and has trained with weights for 2½ years. He has a lot of natural possibilities both as an athlete and as a physique man. He will be able to improve his physique a lot in coming years to give it that finished look that the top men have. Bill is a Laboratory Technician at General Analine Corp.

GARY STEUER is only 20 but has developed a really outstanding physique and I was impressed by his great bulk and huge arms and shoulders. He said his arms measured 18½ and I know this wasn't an exaggeration, as they looked to me to be larger. For a man of such bulk he had excellent proportions and fairly good definition. With continued training he will take his place with the top men, for he is only 20 and has a wonderful start. He trains at home and has gained 100 lbs. in bodyweight in the 4 years he has been training. He weighs about 200 and has some good lifts to his credit. I was much impressed with this young man.

TUNY MONDAY recently won the Jr. Mr. America title in Columbia, Mo., and has a very unusual physique in that he weighs but 150 at about 5'5" height and has a most amazing definition. He had a dark tan from a lot of sun while water skiing, at which he is quite expert. Tuny is 38 years of age, married and has a family. He has his own business in neon sign work in Tulsa, Oklahoma, though later he would like to go into the health studio business. He now trains very hard and was training 6 hours a day in preparation for this and other recent contests. With a little more bulk he would be hard to beat. We would say that he would be tremendously impressive at 165 lbs. and with the same definition. He has already gained 30 pounds in bodyweight but could go on up. He has exceptional endurance and tells us that no matter how long hours he works or how much training he does, he never feels tired, and is always full of pep and ready to go.

CARL STELZEN is a top weightlifter of many years and enjoys getting into physique contests. He has an outstanding physique but if he is to continue in such contests he ought to do specialized bodybuilding. Weightlifting can give you a nice physique but without specialized bodybuilding you will not reach top quality and balance of physique. Carl is a great speed skater. He has his own floor waxing business.

JOE LAZZARO has won many physique titles and is an Art teacher in Junior High school. He has his BS degree and is working on his Masters degree at present. He is 31, has been training for 14 years and has won the Jr. Mr. America title and has made an Olympic total of 745 at 165 lbs. bodyweight. Joe is a real credit to the game and keeps trying year after year. A little more bulk and better definition would help him. He did not look in quite as hard a condition as we have seen him in the past and doubtless has had to curtail his training somewhat with his teaching obligations and his family - - ife and one daughter.

NORMAN BEDELL has been training for 9 years and was a track star in high school and has had two years of college. He has made a 750 Olympic total at 181 bodyweight. He ran the 100 yards in 9.9 in high school. He is a State Policeman in New Jersey and has a very nice physique which will improve greatly with further training.

HAROLD POOLE who has won a Jr. Mr. America title and many others, comes very close to the top each year and this year was much improved, being bigger and more mature looking. Harold is 18 years of age and is graduating from high school this year and we understand that he has three college scholarships. He will go to Purdue next year. This young colored fellow has an outstanding personality and certainly has a physique that it would be hard to find a flaw in. He is an outstanding athlete in school, especially at wrestling where the other high school athletes just don't stand much chance against him. He has made a 750 total as a 198 lb lifter though he has done very little lifting. We don't believe Harold will mind our mentioning it, but we feel that the only thing that keeps him from the Mr. America title is a slight speech difficulty. He has a slight stutter when he becomes nervous, and who wouldn't be nervous in a Mr. America contest? He is rapidly overcoming this though, and who knows, he may be the next Mr. America. I'm sure he would be a credit to the title.

JOE ABBENDA, the new Mr. America, needs little introduction to readers of Iron Man, for his photo was on the cover of last issue, and his story in a previous issue. Joe is single, 23 years of age, and trains at home most of the time. He is going to St. Johns University and is studying law. He has made a lifting total of 850 as a heavyweight and is one of the most enthusiastic workers for the game, always willing to go out and put on shows, talk about training and help the game in any way he can. He has a fine physique and a very attractive personality. We are sure that Joe will do much in the coming year as an ambassador for the barbell game. Joe has a very thin skin which gives him outstanding definition, and he has a rather unusual muscle shape.

JOSEPH SIMON, long a physique contender, is a man who has about the most outstanding definition of anyone there. In addition he also has good bulk and excellent shape. Joe is 28, married and has a son. He was an all-state football man and Bi-State champion in baseball and works as a crane operator. Joe gives a lot of fine shows around his area with his little son who enjoys working with Dad. When Joe tenses up his muscles you would swear they are going to jump out of his skin.

JACK ALLEN has had one year of training and has done wrestling, boxing and track in school. He has a nice physique and should improve considerably in the come year, with hard training.

RALPH KLEINER has won several top physique titles. His physique impresses one with the fine upper body. He has good shape and definition. He came from Austria in 1952 where he was a member of the state football championship team at 14 years of age. He is a Judo 2nd degree brown belt, has had 2 years of college at Rice and will be going back this fall.

ROBERT HERZOG has won the Mr. Michigan title, among others, and has a very rugged physique. He is an outstanding specialty skater and works as an interior decorator. He made the background designs for the Mr. America contest which you see in the photos with this article.

STEVE SAKOULOS has entered a number of contests a few years ago and was the Mr. Illinois in 1955. He works as a glass blower and has done some good lifts, making a total of 800 at 181 bodyweight.

VIC SEIPKE, last but not least by any means. Vic had not entered a contest for 6 or more years but had been working out regularly twice a week to keep in fair shape. This time he looked better than he did when he was entering contests years ago. He is a Fireman in the Detroit Fire Department, 30 years of age, married, 1 son. He also works as a dental lab technician in his off hours. We would like to see Vic continue entering contests as many feel that he is Mr. America material. You can't pick a flaw in this man's physique. He isn't as tall at some may like, and has a little longer than usual neck which is of tremendous size, and says he never did anything to develop it. It just grew that way along with the rest of his body. He had a beautiful tan and we took some color photos of Vic but believe they were rather badly scratched when removing them from the camera. However, if they come out well we will show one on the cover of Iron Man. Vic appeared on Iron Man cover in Mayor 1959. Vic has made an 805 total while weighing 190, and was outstanding in football and swimming in high school.

There then is the picture of these boys as the judges saw them and as the audience viewed them two nights.

These boys were pre-judged the morning of July 3rd and the decisions were made then, but nothing was announced before the evening performance after the lifting. The judges were asked to sit on the stage and make a pretense of judging again. Such a foolish farce to go through! Why not tell the audience that these men are pre-judged in the afternoon. No one will care. A judge feels embarrassed and foolish sitting there acting as if he were doing a job.

The lighting was good for the contest and the boys all showed up at their best and gave a good show. We believe that most people agreed with the decisions. It must be remembered that a lot of things other than the physique are taken into consideration when choosing a Mr. America. This isn't just a physique contest, for a man must have high moral standards and a good reputation and must be a good athlete, have a pleasing personality, and be able to present himself well to the public for the coming year.

The selections should therefore not be based only on the physique, though this is important. Most contests throughout the world are judged on physique alone and this makes quite a difference in the selections. A Mr. America should represent the ideal of American manhood in all respects as nearly as possible. A strict physique contest does not need to meet all these restrictions or requirements.

Here are the point totals as made by the first ten men: Joe Abbenda 89; Harold Poole 87; Hugo Labra 86½; Vern Weaver 86; Victor Seipke 84; Mike Ferraro 82; William Stathes 81½; William Seno 80; Joseph Lazzaro 80; Kenneth Hall 78.

Most Muscular: 1st Harold Poole; 2nd Hugo Labra; 3rd Joe Abbenda.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #483 on: September 22, 2021, 09:13:39 AM »
Mr. America Magazine, Vol 5, No 5, Page 36, November 1962

by Gord Venables
Twenty-eight of the best built men in the nation vied for the annual Mr. America title. The winner was a good-looking college student who we hope will inspire our youth and start others on the road to better health and perfect manhood through weight training.
I SAW THE FIRST MR. AMERICA CONTEST in Schenectady, New York on December 1st, 1938. The Mr. America contest was the brain child of John Hordines, sponsor and bodybuilding instructor. John had hoped to make Schenectady to Mr. America what Atlantic City is to Miss America. It was to be an annual event in that city but somehow the idea didn't jell.

That first Mr. America meet was held in "Pink" Gardner's Reducing Salon and Gymnasium. The place was too small to hold the crowds that jammed in to see what a perfectly developed male looked like. Bert Goodrich of Hollywood, Cal., managed to nose out Elmer Farnham of Shamokin, Pa. for the title.

While Schenectady didn't become the Mecca of muscle men, Hordines started the ball rolling and the following year the AAU got into the act and staged a Mr. America contest in conjunction with the Senior National Weightlifting Championships. A new idea was added - aspiring Mr. Americas had to compete in the weightlifting contest to prove their muscles were good for something else than just to look at.

The '39 affair was sponsored by Chicago Parks Department; was held outdoors and about 10,000 people saw Adonis-like Roland Essmaker of Richmond, Indiana crowned the winner.

The next contest was perhaps the biggest and best of all time. Under the guidance of AAU Weightlifting Chairman, Dietrich Wortmann, it was held in Madison Square Garden and John Grimek won that one.

I was sitting close to Bernarr MacFadden, one of the ten judges, and he took one look at Grimek and said, "Tat man is perfect!" He marked down 100 points on his score-card and didn't bother to look much at the other entrants. Unfortunately his enthusiasm did not benefit Grimek. Wortman had introduced a rule tha the highest and lowest scores were to be thrown out. It was a good rule for it prevented any judge from showing excess favor (or disfavor) to any one contestant. So MacFadden's 100 points didn't count on Grimek's score but he won anyway.

In 1941 Philadelphia hosted the meet and again John Grimek won, the only man ever to win twice. it can't happen again for after the meet a pow-wow was held among the powers that be and it was decided that a man could win in the title only once. They had the feeling that Grimek might go on winning forever!

Big Frank Leight of New York City took the 1942 crown in a very close contest in Cincinnati. Frank just edge out Dan Lurie, another New Yorker. Jules Bacon won in '43 and in those days he had incredible separation. That affair was held in Los Angeles. I saw Steve Stanko cop the title in Chattanooga in '43. Steve had injured himself weightlifting and turned to bodybuilding.

To refresh your memory let me give you a list of winners over the past 24 years.

1938 Bert Goodrich, Hollywood, Calif.
1939 Roland Essmaker, Richmond, Indiana
1940 John Grimek, York, Pa.
1941 John Grimek, York, Pa.
1942 Frank Leight, New York City
1943 Jules Bacon, York, Pa.
1944 Steve Stanko, York, Pa.
1945 Clarence Ross, Los Angeles, Calif.
1946 Alan Stephan, Chicago, Ill.
1947 Steve Reeves, Los Angeles, Calif.
1948 George Eiferman, Philadelphia, Pa.
1949 Jack Delinger, Oakland, Calif.
1950 John Farbotnik, Philadelphia, Pa.
1951 Roy Hilligenn, Johannesburg, South Africa
1952 Jim Park, Chicago, Ill.
1953 Bill Pearl, San Diego, Calif.
1954 Dick DuBois, Los Angeles, Calif.
1955 Steve Klisanin, McKeesport, Pa.
1956 Ray Shaefer, E. Chicago, Indiana
1957 Ron Lacy, Lexington, Kentucky
1958 Tom Sansone, New York City
1959 Harry Johnson, Atlanta, Georgia
1960 Lloyd Larille, New Orleans, La.
1961 Ray Routledge, Los Angeles, Calif.
It is interesting to note that the early Mr. A. contests were dominated by York trained men. From the time Clarence Ross won and newer training methods began to take hold, the winners have been predominately Weider trained men.

Clarence Ross is a member of the Weider writing staff and has contributed many bodybuilding articles to both Mr. America and Muscle Builder. Stephan, Reeves, Delinger, Pearl, Shaefer and Sansone have all contributed articles to both magazines. Eiferman is at present our West Coast editor and Farbotnik is a feature writer.

I recall a few sidelights of past Mr. America contests. Leight and Lurie were actually tie in '42 and both were called out on the stage for final judging. Leight won because he was a much bigger man.

Steve Reeves and Eric Pedersen were tie in '47. A closer examination by the judges gave Reeves the nod as Pedersen's skin was marred by a few pimples probably picked up in his last few days of training. Reeves and his clear skin went on to fame and fortune while I haven't heard from Pedersen for a long time.

Roy Hilligenn was the only foreign entrant to ever win the Mr. A. Ttitle. No Canadian has as yet won although there have been many fine entrants. So much for the past, now for the present.

THE 1962 EVENT was held at the Highland Park High School Auditorium. Highland Park is a separate community inside the city limits of Detroit. The Most Muscular Man contest was staged on Saturday, June 2nd. In the past there were awards for the best arms, best legs, best chest, best back, best etc., etc. and there were also height division awards. They had Mr. little America, Mr. medium sized America and Mr. big, economy sized America. It was all too confusing. To streamline the contest now only two events are held - the Most Muscular Man and Mr. America. While the contests are not dragged out as they were in the past this new method deprives the audience of seeing more of their favorites. However, the 1962 event went off well.

Immediately after Joe Puleo of Detroit won the middleweight weightlifting title with a Clean and Jerk of 340 pounds, the stage was set for the judging. The posing dais was made by one of the contestants, Bob Herzog of Iron Mountain, Michigan.

There were 28 entrants and each man gave a series of his best poses. No one man gained advantage over his competitors through superior posing ability. Actually all the posing routines were amateurish but that's the way it's supposed to be in an amateur contest.

Of the 28 posers, Harold Poole of Indianapolis, Kenneth Hall of Brooklyn, Hugo LaBra of Los Angeles, Joe Abbenda of Long Island and Joe Simon of Sewell, N.J. received the most applause from the audience. I felt sure one of these five men would win the Most Muscular title. So who won? Ah, there was the rub! Who won?

The Master of Ceremonies announced that the winner's name would be given the following night - the night of the Mr. America contest. There were some sighs of despair, some boos, some catcalls and general dissatisfaction among the audience at being kept in suspense one night later and three bucks more.

ON SUNDAY NIGHT, right after Schemansky's unsuccessful attempt to clean 440 came crashing to the platform, the contestants lined up for the judging. The judges were seated at one end of the stage making it impossible for them to see the men at the other end of the line. It was then that I learned that the men had been "pre-judged" that afternoon. The winner had already been selected!

There is nothing wrong with this method, both Ben and Joe Weider employ it in their contests. It is virtually impossible for the judges to judge a man correctly in the few minutes he is on the posing dais so "pre-judging" is the way to compute points. Furthermore, the calibre of the contestants was so high that only split points separated them. It requires a lot of time and close study to properly evaluate a man's physique. Joe Raymond of Cleveland was in charge of the judging. He is an old hand at it and always does a good job.

The panel of judges were: Dave Matlin, AAU Weightlifting Chairman; Joe Raymond, Lake Erie area Chairman; Bob Hise of Georgia; Rudy Sablo of the Metropolitan District; John Terpak of York; Owen Olsen of Minnesota and Perry Rader, editor of Iron Man magazine.

The stage was not large enough for the entire 27 entrants so they came out in two groups. (All the contestants who entered the Most Muscular entered the Mr. A. with the exception of Floyd DeSirito of Union, N.J.) I saw two line-ups of the most perfectly developed men in America. Picking a winner from such an imposing array of physical perfection was a well-nigh impossible task. I was most anxious to learn who the judges had chosen. (No one except the judges knew the winner).

The black velvet curtain was lowered and a brilliant spotlight hit the posing dais placed in front center of the stage and one by one each man came out, mounted the dais and went through his posing routine. The first man up to flex his muscles under the bright light was Billy Lemacks of Johnson's Health Studio, Chicago, a weightlifter who placed fourth in the lightweight class with a 720 pound total.

Chester Yorton of Milwaukee, the biggest man in the show. He stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds. He had both legs broken and has steel plates in his thighs!

Kenneth Hall of Brooklyn, the most popular man with the audience. Ken was willing to pose for any amateur photographer and gave several exhibitions of muscle control off stage.

Robert Girard of Windsor, Ontario, only Canadian in the meet although there was a large contingent of Canadians in the audience. Bob can run 100 yards in 11 seconds!

Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, N.Y., a lifter who made a 775 pound total and a very muscular young man.

John Schubert of the Olympic Health Studio of Cleveland, very symmetrically proportioned with a good posing routine.

Vern Weaver, York Barbell Club, of Dover, Pa., a big man who can run 100 yards in 10.3 seconds. Extremely handsome, a fine poser and an actor by profession. (He has played "Lil Abner.")

Jerry Doetrell, Buffalo-York A.C., Buffalo, massively built with a cheer raising posing routine.

Hugo LaBra of Los Angeles, one of the most muscular men in the contest. He was born in Peru, South America. Hugo has terrific trapezius muscles. From the applause he received I knew he would be right up there at the top.

Joseph LaPorte of Connecticut YMCA, a former football player with a whole backfield of muscles.

Lewis Wolter, Milwaukee Health Studio, Milwaukee, a man with good separation and very deep pectorals.

Henry Koehler of Milwaukee, a favorite of the Wisconsin fans in the audience.

Bill Stathes of San Francisco YMCA, a policeman and the oldest man in the meet. If there were more cops like Bill there would be a lot less juvenile delinquency. Bill was terrific.

William Seno, Sayre Park W. L. Club, Chicago, a former weightlifting champ who has totalled 815 pounds as a light-heavy. He had very good definition, won Most Muscular Man title at Jr. Mr. A. contest.

Gary Stever of Cincinnati, Ohio. There were plenty of Ohioans in the audience and Gary got a good hand.

Tuny Monday, Tulsa YMCA, Tulsa, Okla., winner of a Junior Mr. America title and a water skiing champ. Tuny is 37 but looks better than most 21 year oldsters.

Carl Stelzen, Bates Barbell Club of Paterson, N.J., one of the best light-heavyweight weightlifters in the country. He has totaled 850!

Joseph Lazzaro of Buffalo, N.Y., definitely one of the most muscular men in the meet. Joe is working on his M.A. degree.

Norman Bedell, Bates Barbell Club, Paterson, N.J., a former football player and now a police officer.

Harold Poole, Hofmeister's Studio, Indianapolis, who received the loudest ovation up to this point. This all-round athlete is only 18 years old and had the most phenomenal musculature I have ever seen. I knew he was going to be darn close to winning.

Joe Abbenda of Long Island, N.Y., who was very good looking with amazing symmetry. His applause was equal to Poole's and I marked him on my score as being right up there at the top.

Joe Simon of Sewell, N.J., a baseball player with the most incredible separation in the thighs I have ever seen.

Jack Allen of National Health Studio, Washington, D.C. A bodybuilder with a routine that was well praised.

Robert Herzog, Iron Mountain, Michigan, performs at winter ice carnivals and can handbalance on ice skates. He's a speed skater and a good jumper. He made the posing stand and did the art work on it.

Ralph Kleiner, Triumph Health Studio, Chicago, winner of Mr. Illinois title and an instructor of bodybuilding. About this time there were shouts from the audience of "We want Shaefer" and "is Ray in the audience?" Ray had a lot of buddies from out Chicago way but there was no Ray.

Steve Sakoulos, Irving Park, YMCA, Chicago, 36 years old and former Central AAU weightlifting champ.

The last man to take to the posing dais was popular Victor Seipke of Detroit. Vic, as a light-heavyweight lifter made an 830 total. He is a fireman.

By having the afternoon "pre-judging" there was no time lost in the first elimination. The 27 competitors were narrowed down to 10 and presented in this order:

Kenneth Hall of Brooklyn; Mike Ferraro of Buffalo; Vern Weaver of Dover, Pa.; Hugo LaBra of Los Angeles; William Stathes of San Francisco; William Seno of Chicago; Joseph Lazzaro of Buffalo; Harold Poole of Indianapolis; Joe Abbenda of Long Island, N.Y., and Victor Seipke of Detroit.

Each man was greeted with rousing cheers and it sounded like Harold Poole and Vic Seipke getting the most with Joe Abbenda and Hugo LaBra only a few decibels behind.

The judges then made their second .elimination, reducing the field to five. The five men presented were:

Vern Weaver, Hugo LaBra, Harold Poole, Joe Abbenda and Victor Seipke.

While the judges were confering (or pretending to confer) the long awaited announcement as to who was the Most Muscular Man came. Joe Abbenda was called to the posing dais and there were loud cheers. Had Joe won? No, it was then announced that he had placed third! (The M.C. was coy, he was keeping the suspense right up to the bitter end.)

Next man called to the dais was Hugo LaBra and to him went the second place trophy for most muscles. Then came the great moment. The Most Muscular Man was - Harold Poole! Boy! he deserved it. I have never seen a man with such amazing shoulders. He was the winner beyond a shadow of doubt. Everybody was pleased with the verdict.

Now to find out who would be the 1962 AAU Mr. America. Again the suspense of introducing the third place man first. Hugo LaBra was third place! Hugo has an enormously powerful upper body but he is not very tall. I had a feeling that, in spite of his terrific musculature, his height would make it difficult for him to take the title. Hugo was well pleased and gave the crowd a short muscle control routine.

The second place trophy went to Harold Poole. Perhaps the audience thought Harold should have won but actually he has too much muscle if such a thing is possible. His arms, shoulders, pectorals and upper back are beyond compare for sheer muscularity.

A hush fell over the hall as the M.C. was about to pronounce the new King of Muscle Men.

"Will Joe Abbenda come to the stage?" Cheers, cheers and more cheers. Joe Abbenda of Long Island was the new AAU Mr. America! This young, good looking college boy took the center of the dais amid a brilliant burst of a hundred flash bulbs. Every photographer pressed forward to get his picture. Soon the stage was overrun and it was with difficulty that order was restored.

A lovely young lady, Miss Highland Park, crossed the stage with the big Mr. A. trophy and presented it to Joe. From the crowd came a dozen shouts of "Kiss her, Joe, kiss her." The young lady giggled and Joe blushed. But Joe is a man and a man that couldn't resist a beauty like the trophy donor. He kissed her. Harold Poole and Hugo LaBra looked on in envy. The cheering was terrific but I don't know whether they were cheering Joe's gallantry or his muscles.

Harold and Hugo left the stage to Joe and again there was the mad rush of photographers, friends and fellows who just wanted to shake the hand of Mr. America. Joe took it all in good stride. He shook hands with everyone who could get to him and he really appreciated their congratulations. Somehow Joe's father managed to get on the stage and through the crowd and he gave sonny a bear-hug and looked as pleased as though he had won the title himself.

JOE ABBENDA is a Law student at St. John's University and passed his first year's exams with honors.

He started out as a weightlifter when he was 15 years old; he wanted to be bigger and stronger and have a better physique. Then he was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. After competing in a number of lifting meets around the New York City area he switched to bodybuilding because, as he put it, it offered a greater challenge.

In 1958 he entered his first physique contest, the Mr. Junior Metropolitan, and won it. Last year he was second in the Junior Mr. America and that, more than anything else, spurred him to train harder. This year Joe won both the Junior and Senior AAU Mr. America titles.

Judges at the AAU Mr. America shows allow additional points for athletic ability. Joe was awarded the maximum 5 points for his performance on the Three Olympic Lifts. He can press 280 pounds!

Joe normally trains three times a week but worked out every day for three weeks before the Mr. A affair. To achieve all-round muscular perfection he follows an all-round bodybuilding program and does not specialize or try to over-emphasize any particular part of his body. Joe has superb symmetry.

Joe Abbenda is a swell guy. He speaks effectively and has a million dollar smile. I doubt they could have picked a better man to wear the mythical Mr. America crown for the year 1962.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #484 on: September 23, 2021, 11:56:39 AM »
1963 Mr America - AAU

1     Vern Weaver
2     Harold Poole
3     Craig Whitehead
4     John Gourgott
5     Bill Seno
6     Hugo Labra
7     Randy Watson (1)
8     Mike Ferraro
9     Val Vasilieff
10     Elmo Santiago
11     Gene Wells
12     Joe Lazzaro (1)
13     Julian Jackson
14     Fred Schutz
15     Arthur Turgeon
16     Norman Bedell
17     Don Howorth
18     Joseph LaPorta
19     William Collins
20     George Joseph
21     Steve Sakoulos
22     Robert Scholl
23     Robert Cameron
24     Joe Sgroi
25     George Sheffield
26     Carlos Rodriguez
27     Leo Maryck
28     Sal Miccio
29     Richard Radich
30     Gregory Moyer
31     Don Abramowitz
32     John Leach
33     Richard Slavik
34     Joseph Schiavo
35     Benjamin Serrano
36     Charles Fautz
37     Abraham Lucas
38     Frank Popp
39     Russell Carroll
40     Robert Nathans

Most Muscular
1     Harold Poole
2     Bill Seno


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #485 on: September 23, 2021, 11:57:26 AM »
IronMan, Vol 22, No 6, Page 29, August 1963

Vern Weaver wins Mr. America
Harold Poole Wins Most Muscular
By the Editor
EACH year it seems the physiques entered in the Mr. America get better and better but I'm reluctant to emphasize this as it is reflection on past winners and contestants but certainly those lined up for the judges' study and approval were as good as any we have ever seen on any stage before.

On Saturday morning the judges interviewed the entries to determine their athletic points and most of them had satisfactory proof of their athletic accomplishments. Unlike the Junior Mr. America this year, where all the men but two had the full five athletic points, only 19 out of the 40 men entered had the full five points for athletic ability, with many of the men getting the minimum of 2 points. This is not a very good comparison and leads one to wonder why the Jr. Mr. America entrants were all outstanding athletes while the entries in the Mr. America were so uniformly poor in this respect. This is an unfortunate situation and is the prime reason that athletic points are required in the Mr. America contest-to assure that a man will be an athlete as well as look like one.

The judges had already had a preview of the men as they posed in the Most Muscular Man contest on Friday night and the men came out for their interview stripped. The judges therefore did their prejudging at this time and retired afterwards to total up their points.
1.   Vern Weaver, Dover, Pa.   92½
2.   Harold Poole, Indianapolis, Ind.   89½
3.   Craig Whitehead, New Orleans   89
4.   John Gourgott, New Orleans   88½
5.   William Seno, Melrose Pk. Ill.   86
6.   Hugo Labra, L.A., Calif.   85½
7.   Randy Watson, Nashville, Tenn.   84½
8.   Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N.Y.   83
9.   Val Vasilieff, Sickerville, N.J.   82
10.   Elmo Santiago, Bronx, N.Y.   81
11.   Gene Wells, Phila., Pa.   79
12.   Joseph Lazzaro, Buffalo, N.Y.   78
13.   Julian Jackson, New York, N.Y.   77
14.   Frederick Schutz, Chicago, Ill.   76½
15.   Arthur Turgeon, Harrisburg   76
16.   Norman Bedell, Columbia, N.J.   74
17.   Donald Howorth, Mont. Park   73
18.   Joe LaPorta, Southington, Conn.   72
19.   William Collins, Wash. D.C.   71½
20.   George Joseph, Allentown, Pa.   70½
21.   Steve Sakoulos, Chicago, Ill.   69
22.   Robert Scholl, P. Park, N.J.   66
23.   Robert Cameron, Kokomo, Ind.   65½
24.   Joe Sgroi, Detroit, Mich   64½
25.   George Sheffield, S. Monica, Calif.   64½
26.   Carlos Rodriguez, Hoboken, N.J.   63½
27.   Leo Maryck, Detroit, Mich.   63
28.   Sal Miccio, E. Patt., N.J.   62
29.   Richard Radich, Warren, Ohio   60½
30.   Gregory Moyer, Allentown   59½
31.   Donald Abramowitz, Trenton, N.J.   59
32.   John Leach, Camden, N.J.   56
33.   Richard Slavik, Lorain, Ohio   55
34.   Joseph Schiavo, Cecil, N.J.   55
35.   Benjamin Serrano, Phila., Pa.   54½
36.   Charles Fautz, Union, N.J.   52
37.   Abraham E. Lucas Jr., Trenton, N.J.   51
38.   Frank Popp, Steelton, Pa.   50
39.   Russell Carrol, Lombard, Ill.   49½
40.   Robert Nathans, Statford, N.J.   45
There was considerable discussion about various aspects of judging and eligibility of various kinds, and the question of morality and character came up. After a considerable period of discussion the judges voted 5 to 2 that even if a man's past was not all that could be desired, if he had shown satisfactory evidence that he had corrected his habits and mended his ways, he should be given credit for this and he would be voted on equal terms with the others. This will undoubtedly come up again as it has been a bone of contention for years and there are arguments for both sides.

As usual there were many men who were tops and anyone of them would have made a very good Mr. America.

The final choice of Vern Weaver brought cheers from his supporters, but jeers from the supporters of some of the other athletes, and same of the other men themselves seemed very unhappy about the decision. The judges had a very difficult decision to make and I believe they did what they believed was right whether or not anyone agreed with them.

We hope to give you more details on the different men in future issues, as well as stories on many of them, along with more photos, but our space is limited this issue.

Vern Weaver seemed greatly improved over last year, heavier and bulkier, with excellent definition and shape. He is undoubtedly one of the best built men in the world today. He is 26, weighed 205, and has huge arms and shoulders. He has made a 900 total in the Olympics and at present works as a salesman for a Health Club in Harrisburg. He came in third in the Most Muscular contest.

Harold Poole had an amazing physique and there was no doubt in most peoples minds that he would win the "Most Muscular." He looked unbelievable, with great size, excellent shape, and terrific definition, with every fiber seeming to stick out. I felt that Harold might win the Mr. America title this year, for his physique was greatly improved and his speech defect was likewise improved when I talked to him before the contest. We hope he will enter the Mr. Universe contest, as he has a magnificent physique. We hope he does not become discouraged because he didn't win this year. We have some color photos of him we hope to use soon. Just as last year, he was second again. We understand he is entering the Teen Age Mr. America and should have no difficulty winning this title.

Dr. Craig Whitehead came into third place with a nice physique. We look for a lot of improvement from him in the coming year and he ought to be right up at the top. He has the very well balanced type of build where nothing stands out above the other, but is pleasing, symmetrical and well proportioned. He is an eye surgeon in the Air Force. He weighs 196 and has made an 815 Olympic lift total.

Our fourth place man, John Gourgott, also of New Orleans, is another fellow who has the well balanced symmetrical type build. He also won the trophy for best built weightlifter in the lifting section. He went to Tulane and has a B.S. in Math and is now attending the LSU medical school. It is strange that both Gourgott and Whitehead have very similar types of physiques. Both are medical men and both are good Olympic lifters and both are from the same general area of the U.S.A. Gourgott made a 900 total at the Nationals for 5th place in the 198 lb. class.

Fifth place went to Bill Seno, the man who won the Most Muscular in the Jr. National Mr. America event and also made a world record in the bench press of 447¼. He also shares our cover this issue with Jr. Mr. America, Randy Watson. Bill looked very good and has the heavy muscular type development with exceptional chest muscles. See Bill's story in this issue.

Hugo Labra, the very muscular, broad-shouldered fellow from California, came in 6th. Hugo looked great, as he has every year. He has a tremendous back development; in fact, Hugo is tremendous any way you look at him. He is a former champion lifter and hammer thrower in the Pan Am Games. It is hard to see how Hugo could add much to his present development.

Randy Watson probably had the most pleasing build from the point of view of the average public, at the show. He has a perfection of symmetry and balance and shape that would be difficult to exceed and photos seldom do him justice. He looks great when he is relaxed, for then his fine proportions and muscle shape show up the best. I heard people mention that they thought he was the best built man in the whole entry list. Randy is a minister of the Chnrch of Christ, and mentioned that he had married a couple just the day before, in answer to a question from one of the officials. See Randy's story in this issue. He will certainly do real credit to the Jr. Mr. America title and if he continues to compete he may win the Sr. Mr. America title in due time. He lacks the height that many people prefer, but makes it up in physique perfection.

Mike Ferraro looked better than ever at this show. He has an unusual physique and a really fine posing routine that brings cheers from the audience. We thought Mike would place higher than eighth. He had been trying for a good many years. His parents and wife were there. In fact, many of the fellows (both lifters and physique men) brought their parents and families.

Val Vasilieff did very well and came in 9th. He has a very rugged type of physique -- more bulky than some of the fellows, but with very good proportions and shape. He will improve a lot in the future and should place very high. He is a good lifter, with a 900 total to his credit, and claims a dead lift of over 600.

We would like to bring you details of more of the fellows but must leave this for later issues due to lack of space. We also have a lot of photos of the various fellows to show you.

Our general opinion is that physiques are getting better all the time. The men have learned how to add more bulk and still maintain their shape and how to get unusual definition. Many of the fellows take these new drugs for tissue building but we still recommend against it. There have been reports of serious side effects since some of the fellows have used them to excess. Special feeding of regular foods and food supplements will give the same results and safely. There was a time when it seemed that only the easy gainers had a chance at a physique title but now with advanced methods of muscle culture and feeding we find that the average man has a chance, even if he is a so-called hard gainer, to win a title. Of course, shape is something you're born with or without, but we must realize, too, that within certain limits, different types of physiques can win titles. I would say that physique men are generally more interested in overall self improvement, physical mental and spiritual, than the lifters, and with a few exceptions, they are nice, clean fellows. Most of them are college men. We can look forward to their being outstanding, worthwhile citizens, considerable above the average after their competition days are over.

Following is a listing of the men as they placed, and their points. I'm a bit surprised at some of the placings myself. I can point to certain men that ought to have placed much lower than they did and vice versa. This was not deliberate on the part of the judges but just the way it sometimes works out. I think our system as used in the U.S.A. is very faulty in many respects. The judges certainly don't have time to do a fair job of judging of 40 men as entered in this contest. They may give attention to the first three or so, but the others don't get a fair placing because there isn't time to consider them comparatively. It should take at least two days to do much of a job, instead of 2 hours. Tho I did not agree with the final decision of the placings, even tho I was a judge, still I feel the judges did the best they could under the circumstances. My own decisions are seldom the same as the others make, for we all see a physique a bit differently and, depending on our past experience, a perfect physique means something different to each of us. If a man is very outstanding above all others, then it is easy, but seldom is a man ever that outstanding. We found several men in this contest who were very clcse for first, second and third places-much closer than the points would indicate.

MC for the Mr. America was Bob Callahan. Judges were Joe Paul, Rudy Sablo, Clarence Johnson, Don Haley, Dr. You, Peary Rader and Jack Lipsky. John Terpak sat in on the final judging in place of Dr. You, who did not arrive in time. Joe Raymond was chairman of the Physique Judges.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #486 on: September 23, 2021, 11:58:29 AM »

1964 Mr America - AAU

1     Val Vasilieff
2     John Gourgott
3     Randy Watson (1)
4     Bill Seno
5     Craig Whitehead
6     Mike Ferraro
7     Sergio Oliva
8     John DeCola
9     Joe Nista
10     Arthur Turgeon
11     Bob Gajda
12     Charles Estes
13     Paul Wachholz
14     Bill St John
15     Steve Sakoulos
16     Floyd Despirito
17     Robert Cameron
18     Jerry Doettrel
19     Gilbert Hansen
20     George Wojnowski
21     Steve Kotis
22     Gary Neu
23     Anthony Tisovec
24     Charles Kutzer
25     Henry Vega
26     Kent Kuehn
27     Edmund Cook
28     Dean Elery
29     Francis McFarland
30     Dominick Duche

Most Muscular
1     Bill Seno
2     Val Vasilieff
3     Sergio Oliva
4     Mike Ferraro
4     John Gourgott



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #487 on: September 23, 2021, 11:59:07 AM »
IronMan, Vol 23, No 6, Page 11, September 1964

"MR. AMERICA - 1964"
By Peary Rader
A Mr. America event is always very exciting and so many people are there pulling for their favorites and when they do not win there are some unhappy people, but usually the majority are happy with the decision of the judges.

This year there was no certainty as to who might win. The field was very close. There was Dr. Craig Whitehead who was third last year, John Gourgott who came in fourth and who had improved a great deal; we had John Decola, the Junior Mr. America winner, and Val Vasilieff who had come in third in that event just a half point behind the winner. Bill Seno was another, who, with his great muscularity, was a threat; Ferraro, former Teen Age Mr. America, and always up high -- these well known men and others, many not so well known. Sergio Oliva of Chicago, formerly of Cuba, of whom we had heard great things and who proved to be quite a physique, certainly amazed everyone. Randy Watson with ten pounds added weight was sure to come in high.

1   Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N.jJ.   94
2   John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.   90
3   Randy Watson, Manchester, Tenn.   89
4   Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.   87½
5   Craig Whitehead, USAF, Texas   87
6   Mike Ferraro   86
7   Sergio Oliva   83½
8   Jon Decola   82½
9   Joseph Nista   80½
10   Arthur Turgeon   78
11   Bob Gajda   77½
12   Charles Estes   76½
13   Paul Wachholz   74½
14   William St. John   73
15   Steve Sakoulos   73
16   Floyd DeSpirito   73
17   Robert Cameron   72½
18   Jerry Doettrell   72
19   Gilbert Hanson   70
20   George Wojnowski   66½
21   Steve Kotis   65
22   Gary Neu   64½
23   Anthony Tisovec   64½
24   Charles Kutzer   62
25   Henry Vega   60½
26   Kent Kuehn   59½
27   Edmund Cook   59
28   Dean Elery   59
29   Francis McFarland   57½
30   Dominick Duche   57
1   Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.
2   Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N.J.
3   Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill.
4   Mike Ferraro, Buffallo, N.Y.
John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.
All these were top men but no one was outstandingly great as has been the case in some past Mr. America events. None of these men stood out above the others so much that people could say, "here is the winner; he has it in the bag."

As the judges looked the men over and interviewed them at the gym of the Irving Park YMCA on Saturday morning, June 13th, the lighting was rather poor and, generally speaking, the boys did not look as good as was expected. That night under good lighting, however, the picture was changed and the men all looked very good.

The selection of Val Vasilieff as the Mr. America seemed a fairly popular one with the audience, as was the selection of Chicago's Bill Seno for the Most Muscular title.

Most of the men participated in the Most Muscular contest Saturday evening and this gave both the audience and the judges a chance to see the men under the lights and together. After this preview they were better able to make the selections Saturday night. Altho the men were generally selected at the prejudging Saturday morning, the judges were permitted to make changes in their ballots if they so desired until late Sunday.

In the Most Muscular contest Saturday night there were several men who were really good. Bill Seno, of course, has great muscularity and exceptional pectoral and deltoid muscles. His abdominals are exceptionally good with not only size but good definition and shape. His legs are herculean. Bill would find it easy to win the Mr. America title if he were just a little taller and with a little better proportions. Now don't ask me what I mean by this, for it is difficult to describe. Now that he has won the Most Muscular title he could probably shape up better for the Mr. America by working for a little better back and shaping up a little all over and perhaps letting his pecs shrink just a little. Of course the bench press is one of his favorite exercises and he would like to make 500 lbs. one of these days.

We would say that Sergio Oliva is one of the most muscular men we have ever seen, yet it is not his muscularity which impresses us so much as his unusual shape. His shoulders are very, very broad and tremendously muscled, and he tapers down to an unbelievably small waist. His legs are very outstanding as are his arms. One of his back poses is just unbelievable. He has a physique which is sure to win him the top titles in the world. We would suggest that he work the backs of his deltoids more, to balance them with the sides and front. This man placed third in the Most Muscular event.

With Bill Seno first and Oliva third, Val Vasilieff squeezed into second. Val is considerably improved over last year and looked very good but we were surprised to see him come into second place in this most muscular event. Mike Ferraro and John Gourgott tied for fourth place in the Most Muscular.

Ferraro looked better than ever and in spite of disappointments he still keeps right on competing. Mike has one of the must remarkable physiques to be found anywhere and his posing routine is unduplicated by anyone else. Some of his poses are his alone-his trade mark. Mike works very hard at his training, each year seeming to improve. I know that Mike, like several of the other fellows, wonders why he doesn't place higher. It is difficult for me to tell them. All I can say is that they just didn't have what the particular judges doing the job were looking for. In another contest they might place higher or win. Different judges look for different things. I've seen men who impressed me as having among the finest physiques in the country and yet they couldn't win contests. Ferraro has a very exceptional physique with a "different" type of shape than most men. We hope he will keep working and trying.

John Gourgott is another who has improved a great deal. Much of his time is spent working with the power rack and he has bulked up some and perhaps was not quite at his best due to working hard at lifting and it is just about impossible to be your best at both lifting and physique. He did exceptionally well to place so high in both events this year. He looked better than last year. I believe the final decision was to place Ferraro fourth, Gourgott fifth in the Most Muscular. No other placings were made by the judges in the Most Muscular event.

The Mr. America contest got under way Sunday night after an exciting heavyweight class lifting. All the 30 competitors marched out on the stage together. Due to the stage being a little small this was rather difficult, but it did give the audience and the judges a chance to see all the men together and they faced the front in a relaxed position then turned their sides to the audience, and then their backs.

When you see the men in this type of lineup together it is amazing how many different types of physiques you can see. It is here that the better physiques begin to show up and 6, 8 or 10 can be chosen as the top men. This was no easy task in this contest as there were so many outstanding men.

After this initial viewing the men were brought out individually and allowed to assume three poses under the lights, tho most of them usually use more than this. The lights seemed to be good and all the men looked very good on the lighted posing platform. Later the top ten men were brought out together again for comparison and thus it is reduced down to just two or three very good and outstanding men. As mentioned before, the top men this year seemed so close that it was very difficult to pick the first place man or even place the others properly. The point spread certainly doesn't give an indication of how close these men were.

The final choice was Val Vasilieff with 94 points. Val has been working hard for this title for about 7 years and has won a lot of lesser titles-about 40 I believe he said, and was third in the recent FIHC Mr. Universe. He has a very good upper body and unusually developed thighs.

John Gourgott came in second with 90 points and possesses one of the finest physiques in the country and is one of the top 198 lib. lifters in America. He has a very symmetrical development, well balanced in every respect. He has a fine abdominal formation and he shows a well knit shoulder formation from his lifting training. We would say that his chances for a title in the future are very good. We thought he might even win this year. John is studying to be an M.D. -- don't believe he is quite through yet.

Randy Watson, last year's popular Jr. Mr. America, has put on ten pounds more, but unlike many men who put on that much added bodyweight, Randy has maintained his superb definition or "cuts" as the fellows now prefer to call it. He has a terrific posing routine and looks good in every position. He has the finest shaped deltoids I have ever seen on anyone. It is impossible to find a fault with his body. We can reach only one conclusion as to why he did not win-as one judge remarked-"he is a little too short." However this has not mattered in past contests where men as short as 5'6" have won the title, and we feel that Randy has an excellent opportunity to win in the future. He has all the attributes for a great Mr. America. He is very handsome, with a dynamic, sparkling personality, is well educated and has fine character. He is a minister in the Church of Christ in Manchester, Tenn. He has a gym in the church basement where he trains some of his parishioners. There has been a rumor that Randy has taken tissue building drugs. Randy wants it known that he has never taken such drugs and has no intention of ever doing so. More about this in Roundup. Randy was third with 89 points.

Bill Seno, who had won the Most Muscular title, was fourth with 87½ points for his terrific physique. Bill, of course, has had to work for his massive physique but we are told that he is a "natural" and gains much easier than many fellows. He has a great future ahead of him. He had just graduated from college and will practice teach at Carl Sandberg college this fall. He has been training for about four and a half years, weighed about 175 when he started and has bulked up to 210 and has made 960 total in the 198 class.

Dr. Craig Whitehead came in 5th with 87 points. We expected him to place much higher and possibly win this year since he was third last year, but he did not appear to be in as good a condition as we have seen him in the past-at least he didn't look as good. We hope he will get back at this training and do better next year. He has what it takes to win this title. He gave a very good talk at the Lifters Clinic held during the meet.

Mike Ferraro was 6th with 86 points. As mentioned earlier in this article he looked outstandingly good. He has one pose in which he displays his very flexible rib box to great advantage. Several of his poses are quite "different," perhaps "too different" for the judges who seem to prefer the straight, standard poses.

Sergio Oliva in 7th place with 83½ points as mentioned earlier was very outstanding. We really expected him to place higher --much higher. He was one of the lifters with the Cuban team who "defected" while on a tour (I believe it was in Mexico) and finally escaped to this country. He is now working as a TV repairman. !He had made an 885 total in the 19!8 lb. class. He certainly has a bodybuilder's physique rather than that of a lifter. Continued training should put him at the very top but whether or not he ever wins a title, he is still one of the greatest.

John Decola who came in 8th place seemed to be a victim of very unusual circumstances. John bad beaten Vasilieff for the Jr. Mr. America title a short time previously, yet here Vasilieff was winning the Sr. Mr. America title and Decola placing way down in 8th place. Tho he had received 5 athletic points in the Juniors he received only two here, then later it was changed to three. Some suggested that because he did not use direct back poses that his back was not good. However, his back appeared exceptional to me. I also heard it mentioned that he has a bad leg but this I could not see. He did say that he had a bad back which prevented him from doing Olympic lifts but this was an admission made by many competitors, and quite legitimate. He certainly has a marvelous physique. I could see no weak points. I do believe his posing routine could be polished up a bit but then I could say this about nearly every man in the contest. Many men use poses; they should not if they are interested in winning a contest. One great fault with nearly every man is a sort of nervous bouncing in placing the feet for each pose. Master posers do not do this, but seem to flow smoothly from one pose to another with grace, ease and precision. The posing of nearly every man in this contest was a bit rough in this respect.

Joe Nista coming in 9th showed an outstanding physique. He is a bit short in stature and not as heavily built as the other top men but what marvelous definition and excellent shape and too, he has some very impressive poses. He operates a bowling alley in California, I believe. He was one of the older ones in the contest.

Arthur Turgeon has a very fine physique and has been training 12 years and gained 80 lbs. in bodyweight. At 5'9" he weighs a rugged 186.

Bob Gadja in taking 11th place, showed a nice physique with very good pecs and shoulders. His calves were exceptional and measured 17½. He is a black belt in Judo. You know, one notices a man with such fine calves, for I noticed that so many of the fellows were very deficient in this respect.

Charles Estes in nth place has a very fine physique and is quite tall, being 6'2" and weighing 217. He has a very small waist and powerful shoulders and arms. He, too, has exceptional calves, measuring 18½ inches. He played football in the Marine Corps and has done 100 yards in 10 seconds. He has bench pressed 385 and works for the Gates Rubber Company in Nashville.

Paul Wachholz of Denver did well in coming in 13th place. Paul is a great lifter in his area and excels at power lifting as well as Olympic lifting. Paul has a very responsible position in 11 bank in Denver. He is a real inspiration to all who know him. He is married, has two children, and has been working out about six years.

St. John has a nice physique and has a good athletic background. He gained 40 lbs. bodyweight since taking up barbells. Steve Sakoulos has been entering physique contests for a long time and is a likeable, rangy type fellow. perhaps the oldest in the contest at 38, he is a salesman of beauty parlor equipment.

DeSpirito looked very good this year with great muscularity and fine definition. Floyd lifted in the 165 lb. class taking third place.

Cameron, with a nice physique, weighing 206, has done 100 yards in 10:7, which is not bad at all! He attended Purdue on a football scholarship.

Doettrel, who competed last year, is a husky fellow of about 5'5" and 148 lbs. bodyweight and has made a 690 total. He has been working out about 7 years and works as a cook. Hanson is a handsome blonde fellow of 29 who has been training for four years and is a police officer in Iowa. He looked very good. Wojnowski is another blonde of about 165 lbs. bodyweight and 33 years of age. He has been training for 13 years, has six children and another on the way. He works as a marble cutter. Kotis looked good, with fine definition but needs more bulk. This is something I could say about a lot of the fellows. Steve has very good shape but needs more posing training. His abdominals. back and shoulders are exceptionally good. Gary Neu has a nice body with very broad shoulders. He trains at home, and weighing 195, has done a 380 bench press. He, too, has very good calves and works as a printer. We could sure use a good printer here at the Iron Man plant! Tisovec has fine legs but not enough definition. He has been working five years and is a refinery operator. Kutzer has nice shoulders and is about 6' tall and works as a truck mechanic. Vega has a very outstanding body for a short man and he could have placed higher. He has a lot of definition. He is 36 years of age. Kuehn is Mr. Michigan and 28 years of age and a YMCA worker. Cook has a very fine body to my way of thinking and should have placed much higher. He has a heavily developed waistline with unusual abdominals and obliques. Perhaps a little more bulk would help him. Ed works for General Tire Co and is 33 years old. Too bad we no longer have a Best Abdominals title.

Elery is on the way up and looks good. He works as an Addressograph service man. He has a nice upper body. McFarland has a very nice upper body. His legs need more work but he has a bad knee from a motorcycle accident. He has done a 350 bench press at 195 bodyweight. He looked very good on the posing platform and recently won the Mr. Hawaii title. We thought he would place much higher than he did. Duche who was a boxer in the service has very nice arms and shoulders, is 26 and rather short in stature.

Many of the boys were disappointed in their placings and I know some times these things are a bit difficult to understand. I believe the point scores do not give a true picture of some of the follows physiques and I'm afraid that judges sometimes give too little attention to careful scoring of the men below the first eight or ten men and thus do an injustice to the men lower down, for they do not use these point scores as a guide to their competitive positions. A point spread of from 94 to 57 is just too big a spread between competitors in a Mr America contest. We hope these boys will not become discouraged. A title is not worth as much as the health, vitality and fine physique which is theirs--titles or positions in contests are just by-products.

Very nice trophies were given to the place men and the big meet was over for another year and the question comes to mind-who will win next year?

Judges were: Morris Weissbrot, Bob Blundell, Steve Stanko, Joe Joseph (Joe did not arrive and Dave Mayor substituted), Jack King, Peary Rader and Joseph Paul


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #488 on: September 23, 2021, 11:59:44 AM »
Muscular Development, Vol 1, No 10, Page 10, Ocotober 1964

1964 MR. AMERICA & Most Muscular Man CONTEST
By John C. Grimek
THE MR. AMERICA CONTEST, as usual, proved to be the main event of the National Championships this year, and this in spite of some very good lifters making some very fine lifts. yet the question that was on the tongue of everyone was - who will win the Mr. America title?

Several of the competitors this year were strongly favored, and although there was the usual exceptional entries, it was difficult for any judge to "give 'em the once over" and then make his snap decision . . . which can be done if you're prejudice and favor some particular individual. But judging the Mr. America contest requires more thought and deliberation before the final decision is made.

This was the third consecutive year that the contestants were judged behind the scenes, that is, the winners were selected backstage hours before the actual contest takes place. This is done to save time and keep the program from lagging, during the time it took to tally up the scores, so it is a very good idea.

1.   VAL VASILIEFF, Sicklerville, N. J.   94
2.   John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.   90
3.   Randy Watson, Manchester, Tenn.   89
4.   Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.   87½
5.   Dr. Craig Whitehead, USAF, Texas   87
6.   Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N. Y.   86
7.   Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill.   83½
8.   John Decola, Framingham, Mass.   82½
9.   Joe Nista, Jr., Downey, Calif.   80½
10.   Arthur Turgeon, Harrisburg, Pa.   78
11.   Bob Gajda, Chicago, Ill.   77½
12.   Charles Estes, Nashville, Tenn.   76½
13.   Paul Wachholz, Englewood, Colo.   74½
14.   William St. John, Glassboro, N. J.   73
15.   Steve Sakoulos, Chicago, Ill.   73
16.   Floyd Despirito, Union, N. J.   73
17.   Robert Cameron, Kokomo, Ind.   72½
18.   Jerry Doettrel, Buffalo, N. Y.   72
19.   Gilbert Hansen, Waterloo, Iowa   70
20.   George Wojnowski, Franklin, Wisc.   66½
21.   Steve Kotis, Chicago, Ill.   65
22.   Gary Neu, Deer Park, Ohio   64½
23.   Anthony Tisovec, Wilowick, Ohio   64½
24.   Charles Kutzer, Chicago, Ill   62
25.   Henry Vega, Chicago, Ill.   60½
26.   Kent Kuehn, Saginaw, Mich.   59½
27.   Edmund Cook, Waco, Texas   59
28.   Dean Elery, Indianapolis, Ind.   59
29.   Francis McFarland, Honolulu, Hawaii   57½
30.   Dominick Duche, Warren, Mich.   57
1.   BILL SENO, Melrose Park, Ill.
2.   Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N. J.
3.   Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill.
4.   Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N. Y. (tie)
John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.
On Saturday June 13th all the Mr. America contestants were requested to appear at the Irving Park Y for the interrogation and prejudging. A panel of seven judges, including a chairman, presided. This included Clarence Johnson, Peary Rader, Steve Stanko, Dave Mayor, Morris Weissbrot, Joseph Paul, Bob Bendel and Joe Raymond. These men began their interrogation quite early in the morning and stayed at their post until well past the noon hour before completing their thankless job. Of course others were involved in keeping things moving. John Terpak, Norman Zale and some AAU and Irving Park Y members keep the contestants moving along rapidly and smoothly. Terpak called out the name of the next contestant who would then appear before the judges for some background material and physical appraisal. When this was done he was told to step back 10 or 12 feet and go through some of his poses. This posing, I might add, was done without the benefit of any arranged lights. Only the regular overhead lights were used. Nevertheless it gave the judges a chance to look each man over carefully without the benefit of special lighting effects. And even though the winner was known hours before the actual contest, the chairman of the judges, Joe Raymond, did not reveal the name of any winner (even to the men who did the judging) until only a short time before the contestants appeared on stage for the Mr. America contest. This kept each competitor in suspense and when they came out to vie for the Most Muscular Man title the first night, they gave their best.

In this contest, the Most Muscular Man award, impressive Bill Seno took the title, Val Vasilieff was given the 2nd, and Sergio Oliva placed 3rd.

Even before the events of the first night were finished the scores of the prejudging were tabulated and the place winners were known to but two men. But as the time for the Big Event drew near all the contestants were lined up, and this was followed by each man going through his posing routine. From this group 10 final contestants were selected. And from this group the 5th place winner, Dr. Craig Whitehead, was called. There were those who favored him and with him in 5th place, it was anyone's guess who would be the winner. Another favorite was Bill Seno. He was called out for 4th place. Then Randy Watson was called up for 3rd place, and when Dr. John Gourgott was called for 2nd, this narrowed the field considerably. Then a long pause followed. This kept the crowd in great suspense. There were still a couple good men left and the question that obviously raced through everyone's mind was: Who will it be? Then slowly and very deliberately, Rudy Salbo who was doing the announcing, almost shouted out the name of the winner -- Val Valilieff, Mr. America! For a few seconds pandemonium reigned! Then almost as quickly as it started, the din ended, while photographers were flashing away and snapping pictures of the five winners on stage.

There didn't seem to be any disgruntled contestants, although who could say how they felt emotionally. Many of them shook hands and congratulated each other, thus ending another year and bringing to the spotlight another Mr. America . . . Val Vasilieff, Mr. America for 1964.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #489 on: September 23, 2021, 12:00:24 PM »
Strength & Health, Page 40, September 1964

The 1964 Mr. America Contest
The new Mr. America is the People's Choice -- Everyone was Happy in the Selection of This Year's Monarch of Muscles.
By Bob Hoffman
Member of the International Physical Culture Committee
THIS YEAR'S MR. AMERICA CONTEST WaS a worthy one from the standpoint of the number of entrants (there were 30 of them) and from the high caliber of the contestants. Although many of last year's musclemen were missing, there were a lot of new faces to take their places.

The most important part of any Mr. America contest is the quality of the officials who make the selections. Their knowledge and experience; their honesty and integrity must guarantee that the best man wins.

Summary of the 1964 Mr. America Contest
1.   Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N. J.   94
2.   John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.   90
3.   Randy Watson, Manchester, Tenn   89
4.   Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.   87½
5.   Dr. Craig Whitehead, USAF, Texas   87
6.   Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N. Y.   86
7.   Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill   83½
8.   John Decola, Framingham, Mass.   82½
9.   Joe Nista, Jr., Downey, Calif.   80½
10.   Arthur Turgeon, Harrisburg, Pa.   78
11.   Bob Gajda, Chicago, Ill.   77½
12.   Charles Estes, Nashville, Tenn.   76½
13.   Paul Wachholz, Englewood, Colo.   74½
14.   William St. John, Glassboro, N. J.   73
15.   Steve Sakoulos, Chicago, Ill.   73
16.   Floyd Despirito, Union, N. J.   73
17.   Robert Cameron, Kokomo, Ind.   72½
18.   Jerry Doetrrel, Buffalo, N. Y.   72
19.   Gilbert Hansen, Waterloo, Iowa   70
20.   George Wojnowski, Franklin, Wisc.   66½
21.   Steve Kotis, Chicago, Ill.   65
22.   Gary Neu, Deer Park, Ohio   64½
23.   Anthony Tisovec, Willowick, Ohio   64½
24.   Charles Kutzer, Chicago, Ill.   62
25.   Henry Vega, Chicago, Ill.   60½
26.   Kent Kuehn, Saginaw, Mich.   59½
27.   Edmund Cook, Waco, Texas   59
28.   Dan Elery, Indianapolis, Ind   59
29.   Francis McFarland, Honolulu, Hawaii   57½
30.   Dominick Duche, Warren, Mich.   57
Summary of the
Most Muscular Man Contest
Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.
Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N. J.
Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill.
Mike Ferraro, Buffalo. N. Y. (tie)
John Gourgott, New Orleans, La. (tie)
AAU Chairman Rudy Sablo appointed Joe Raymond who is Weightlifting Chairman of the Lake Erie Association, as Chairman of the Judges. Joe has served in this capacity before. He has been a weightlifter and a physique man for 35 years. It was his task to appoint the judges and supervise the contest. Here are the men who served through:

Captain Joe Paul of the Central AAU District, a man with four decades of experience in weightlifting and judging physique contests.

Perry Rader of the Iron Man magazine and Weightlifting News, who has been a judge many times and is one of our most qualified officials.

Morris Weissbrot, Chairman of the Metropolitan AAU and an active weightlifter.

Clarence Johnson, International President of the Weightlifting and Physical Culture Federation and a member (as is your reporter) of the International Physical Culture Committee.

Bob Bendell of New Jersey AAU, Delegate at Large to the National Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Committee.

Dave Mayor of the Mid-Atlantic Association who was a member of the 1936 Olympic Team, former national champion, Immediate Past President of the AAU and identified with this sport for more than 30 years.

Steve Stanko of York, former Mr. America and the first Mr. Universe. He was the first to total 1,000 pounds as a weightlifter and is a former world's record holder.

In all, it was a very good panel of experts.

The competition was expected to be very keen. There were so many good physiques that it would be a job of the first magnitude to evaluate their relative merits. How well they did this was proved by the fact that there was not a single boo, whistle or other sound of disapproval when the winners were announced. (This was a marked difference from some of the past contests.)

Naturally, many felt their disappointment when the winner was selected but most recognized that they were seeing crowned one of the greatest Mr. America's. They saw a man of the Steve Reeves type who will go on to even greater fame.

I have long recognized the merits of this young man and thought well enough of him to take him to Paris a few weeks ago where, in spite of nationalism and politics, he placed third in the World Physique Championships--just one point away from second place. He was the big favorite of the audience for he has much of what people who attend the physique contests like.

The record which Clarence Johnson compiled for us will show how all the contestants placed. The choosing of the first ten was very difficult. Prejudging and interrogation took place on Saturday morning, the Most Muscular Man contest on Saturday night and the final scoring of the Mr. America on Sunday night.

The Most Muscular Man contest went to Bill Seno of Melrose Park, Ill. He was featured on the August cover of Muscular Development magazine. Second was Val Vasilieff of Sicklerville, N.J. Third, Sergio Olivia of Chicago, a refugee from Cuba. Fourth, Mike Ferraro and John Gourgott--a tie.

The contestants were in a dither, a state of nervousness and excitement for three full days. They knew that they were under observation for all this time and it was indeed a strain.

During the prejudging and interrogations I was invited to be an observer--to see all and hear all but I had no vote and could not say a single word as to merits of the contestants.

Every contestant had to pose at the prejudging. This was where the judges could form their opinions as to the merits of the men as they walked around, pump up their muscles and stood at ease. The judges had a good opportunity to study the fine points of all the contestants.

As the result of their efforts, ten men were selected finalists. None of the judges knew the standing for each judge had made his own score and turned it over to Clarence Johnson for the totalling of the points.

Arthur Turgeon of Harrisburg, Pa. It was his first time among the top ten after many years of trying.

Joe Nista, Jr., a recent Strength & Health coverman from Downey, Calif.

John Decola of Framingham, Mass., who just won the Junior Mr. America title.

Sergio Olivia. He is a sensational muscle man and one of the weightlifters who absconded from the Cuban team at the Central America Olympics in Jamaica. He is now living in Chicago.

Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, former Teenage Mr. America and winner of the Mr. North America title.

Dr. Craig Whitehead, a captain in the US Air Force, who was third in, last year's contest. He went with me to Paris for the World Physique Championship and finished fourth.

Bill Seno. Bill really had his admirers, partly because he was a Chicagoan and partly because he is one of the best. He is a powerful weightlifter and a record holder.

Randy Watson of Manchester, Tenn., who was last year's Junior Mr. A. He is an ordained minister and a great gymnast.

John Gourgott of New Orleans. Third in last year's World Physique Championship, fourth in last year's Mr. A. and a former Teen-age Mr. A.

Val Vasilieff, who placed third in this year's World Physique Championship, has won over 40 trophies but never the real big one. Decola just beat him out in the Jr. Mr. A. In this contest however, Val had the advantage - Decola did not have the maximum in athletic points for the Mr. A.

The audience were now just as excited, impatient and in as much of a dither as the contestants. The judges had completely tabulated all scores and so we called out the winners. One of them would be Mr. America.

Fifth place - Dr. Craig Whitehead - a surgeon who can remove cataracts from your eye or transplant a cornea.

Fourth place - Bill Seno - the Most Muscular Man in the meet.

Third place - Randy Watson - small, mighty, handsome and symmetrically developed.

Second place - John Gourgott - one of America's best lifters - a student at LSU now and maybe a doctor next year.

And now who would be the '64 Mr. America? Still standing on the stage and only one of them the new Mr. America were: Mike Ferraro, John Decola, Sergio Olivia, Randy Watson, Joe Nista and Val Vasilieff. -- Six supermen and anyone of them worthy of the title. Then came that moment of breathless silence as the announcer took the microphone and said, "The 1964 Mr. America -- Val Vasilieff!"

The crowd roared its approval. Here was a man they really liked. A handsome man of the Steve Reeves type. A muscular man with a 53-inch chest and a 3O-inch waist. A strong man who one arm curled a 135pound dumbell. A hard man whose muscles feel like they are carved from oak.

He has everything.

He will certainly be one of the greatest.

The judges made a good selection. He is good now but he will get better from day to day.

He will be a great Mr. America, one of whom we can be proud. I need but one word to tell you how good he is -- WOW! What a man!

Val Vasilieff is 25 years of age. He deserves special credit for he was orphaned at three years and has had to make his own way all through life. He has sold papers and shined shoes. He has had to help his brothers and sisters and educate himself too. He is not rich but he and his brother now do well in the business of selling new and used cars. Val drives a Corvette Stingray and when he starts off -- have your safety belt fastened.

He is handsome, he is symmetrical and best of all he is strong. At one of our Muscletown picnics he deadlifted 600 pounds without a warmup. Although he rarely practices the Three Lifts, he recently pressed 305, snatched 270 and clean and jerked 350.

Val takes part in Power Lift contests and a few weeks ago he won the 198-pound division with a 200-pound curl, a 400 bench press and a 575 squat. At a bodyweight of 214 he curled 220 and bench pressed 440. At the World Physique Championships he weighed 204 and one arm curled 135 - a feat of strength that was the talk of the contest!

That he was second to Bill Seno in the Most Muscular well illustrates that he has what it takes--handsome appearance, great strength and unusual muscular development.

Val Vasilieff, 1964 Mr. America, will be a great inspiration to all bodybuilders.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #490 on: September 23, 2021, 12:03:09 PM »
1965 Mr America - AAU

1     Jerry Daniels
2     Bob Gajda
3     Randy Watson (1)
4     Sergio Oliva
5     Charles Estes
6     John Gourgott
7     Von LaMon
8     Craig Whitehead
9     Dennis Tinerino
10     Mike Ferraro
11     Ralph Kroger
12     Nick Spano
13     Will Whitaker
14     John Kanter
15     William Parker
16     Bill McArdle
17     Bob Oliver
18     Paul Wachholz
19     Leroy Saba
20     John Corvello
21     Ken McCord
22     Charles Amato
23     Eugene Dickerson
24     John Homola
25     John Balik
26     Millard Williamson
27     Andrew Burpee
28     Joseph Townsell
29     Roger Millette

Most Muscular
1     Sergio Oliva
2     Bob Gajda
3     Mike Ferraro


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #491 on: September 23, 2021, 12:03:52 PM »
IronMan, Vol 24, No 6, Page 9, September 1965

Jerry Daniels Wins Both Jr. & Sr. Mr. America Titles
By The Editor
VERY seldom does a man ever win both the Jr. and Sr. Mr. America titles in the same year, but a very fortunate young fellow by the name of Jerry Daniels from down in Chattanooga, Tennessee, accomplished this unusual feat, and not only that, but he had won the Teen Age Mr. America title in 1963.

This year there was a formidable lineup of 29 superbly built young giants assembled in Los Angeles for the Mr. America contest which was held at the Embassy Auditorium June 11th and 12th. Each year it seems things get a little tougher, and each year some of the top men stay out of the competition because they are afraid they cannot win. This is a very poor attitude, for they can never be sure where they will place, and it does some men more good to have a loss or so and learn how to take it than it would for them to win.

The Most Muscular Man contest was presented the night of June 11th, and some tremendously muscled men came on the posing platform to vie for the title and all of them were good, but one man stood out above all the others so much that the judges had no trouble at all in picking the winner. This Sergio Oliva from Chicago, is one of the most amazing physical specimens that we have ever seen and he has a posing routine that is outstanding, and displays his physique to greatest advantage. This fellow has very unusual muscle shape. His arms are tremendous, his shoulders are broad and his waist is very small. More about him later. Second in Most Muscular was Bob Gajda of Chicago. He is one of the best built men in the country and has excellent definition and fine shape. Mike Ferraro, who seems to improve a little all the time, and looks very good, was third in this event.

The men were first brought out in two groups for the judges to look at under normal lighting (there wasn't space on the stage for all of them to come out at one time as the stage was rather small). They were then brought out one at a time to pose under the spot light.

I was acting as MC land so was in a poor position to see them at their best, but had been at the pre-judging and so knew pretty well what they looked like.

George Bruce brought on some of his beauty queens and introduced them and explained their titles. Then during the intermission while the judges were tallying their ballots, Zabo Kozewski came on and gave a posing exhibition to show what good shape a man can maintain at the age of 43. He is very popular on the west coast and looked very, very good.

Presentation of the trophies and announcement of winners was then made. This was a different procedure, for it has been the custom to present the winners of both the Most Muscular and the Mr. America on the second night. This was the way the organizing committee felt it should be done to please the audience.

On the second night the audience was given another opportunity to see all the men going through their poses again and with George Bruce doing the emceeing, I had an opportunity to sit with the judges and get a good view of the men under the spot lights. The men came on in the same order as the previous night to pose under the lights.

The first man out to pose before a full house of enthusiastic fans was Bill Parker of Atlanta, Georgia. Bill is not very tall, being just 5'4" and weighing 148 pounds, but when he comes out and starts his posing routine, you forget about his height, for he certainly has perfection of development. He is not huge like some of them, but has good size and wonderful shape and fine definition. He knows how to pose for best display of his physique. He later gave a superb exhibition of muscle control and probably is one of the best in the country at this. If you need a man at your show who can entertain and please the crowd, Bill is your man. He has won many titles, such as Mr. East Coast, Mr. South, Mr. Southern States, and has also won the 148 lifting title in the Southeastern Championships. His best lifts are 210 press, 210 snatch and 260 clean and jerk, with 320 squat, 300 bench press and 375 dead lift. He was outstanding at football, track and swimming, having won first place in the city swimming championships. He is a student at the University of Marietta.

Von LaMon is another fellow who is short in stature, being 5'5" tall and weighing 152. He certainly is one of the best built men on the west coast, or anywhere for that matter. He is 29 years old and has a really magnetic personality and is liked everywhere he goes. Von has a fine posing routine which displays his fine symmetrical physique to advantage and he has very good definition. He is an outstanding lifter, having done a press of 230, snatch of 215 and jerk of 270, a squat of 410, bench press of 300 and dead lift of 500 for 2 reps, and has won many lifting and physique titles including the Mr. Pacific Coast. He works for a gym as a salesman and bookkeeper.

LeRoy Saba is 27, and has been appearing in the Mr. America contest for some years. He was the third man on the posing platform and is extremely bulky and muscular. He was second in Most Muscular in the Mr. America contest in 1960 and was trying again this year. He has excellent shape but I don't believe he had quite as much definition this year though my memory might be poor on this. He too, is only 5'4½" and weighs 165 in very hard condition, so you can see how bulky he really is. He is a professional drummer, but at present is working as manager of Martin's Health Studio. He is very strong, having made a 500 squat, 325 bench press, dead lift of 455 and a press of 240. He has won many titles--at least 7 major ones including the Mr. Western America.

John Kanter Jr. was the fourth man up. John is 24 and has been training 6 years. Many fellows ask how long they must train to get good enough to enter big physique contests. Most of these men have been training from 5 to 15 years. John is from Phoenix, but attends West Virginia University. He is very good in track, having won the Outstanding Track Athlete award for Western Penn., in 1959. John is 5'6" (seems like we had an unusually large list of short men this year) and weighs 185. He is a very strong man, having done 280 press, 240 snatch, 330 clean and jerk, 550 squat for 3 reps, bench press of 440 and dead lift of 585. He is married and has one child and works as an assistant grocery manager. He won many honors as a football player.

Randy Watson was again competing for the title and this time weighing 180 lbs. at a height of 5'7". Randy looked good but we felt that he did not show the definition that he had the year before. He just didn't look quite as good and we feel the extra bulk had not been consolidated long enough to permit him to shape up and get the definition he needed. We hoped Randy would win the big title this year. Randy is a minister and has been training for 8 years. In addition to serving his church as a minister, he also attends David Lipscomb College, working on his masters degree and we wonder how he has time to train. He also trains some of his parishioners and other ministers of the town, so he is a very busy man. He was the Jr Mr. America in 1963 and third in the Mr. America last year; the same position he finally attained this year. I really feel that with sharper definition he would have placed much higher--probably the top. He is an expert gymnast and power lifter, having done 445 squat, 365 bench press, 500 dead lift, 250 press, 230 snatch, 280 clean and jerk and he can curl 175.

John Balik Jr., had been training for 5 years and has a very nice physique at 5'7" height and 170 lbs. bodyweight. He is an engineer by occupation, and a good lifter, with 250 press, 215 snatch and 300 clean and jerk to his credit.

Roger Millette was the 7th man to pose and is 29 and from Santa Clara, California. He is 5'7½" and weighs 178. He has won several titles and has a very nice physique but will improve a lot.

Nick Spano at 23 has been training 7 years and stands 5'9" tall and weighed 180. He is going to school as a graduate student, has won several titles including Mr. East Coasts; has lifted 235 press, 215 snatch, 285 clean, and jerk, 420 squat and 360 bench press.

Mel Williamson is 29, and has returned to physique contests after an absence of several years. He has very broad shoulders and trim waist and his chest is very flexible and balloons up when he flexes it. He has accumulated about 35 trophies for various contests and was Mr. Muscle Beach in 1956, and then several years later won 3rd in the Mr. Western America in 1963. He has squatted with 470, bench pressed 355 and dead lifted 440. He works as a food technologist, is 5'8½" and weighs 187.

John Homola is another who has been competing for many years. He is 28 years old, 5'9" tall and weighs 185. His is not a broad physique, but very well developed and proportioned. He is an engineering programmer. You may recall that he has had his photo in Iron Man a number of times, illustrating his favorite exercises. He is a very good power lifter, with a 420 squat, 340 bench press and 620 dead lift. He has curled 180 and his clean and jerk is 330. He has fine skin texture and a beautiful tan, as had most of the fellows.

Mike Ferraro at 25 looks his best. Mike has been training for 10 years, is 5'9" and weighs 196, which makes him quite large, but he has superb definition. His posing routine is very outstanding and brings gasps from the audience. Mike seems to have attained the maximum of development for his type of physique. He operates two restaurants and is very interested in Thoroughbred training. He is a good lifter and has powerful legs; squats with 505, he bench presses 340 and dead lifts 550. He has also made a 320 press, 250 snatch and 305 clean and jerk.

Charles Amato, at 23, is a new star from Sam Loprinzi's Studio in Portland, At 5'9' and 190 lbs., he displays one of the finest physiques and recently won the Mr. Western USA title. He squats with 450, bench presses 340 and dead lifts 490. He is a student at Portland State. He is an excellent artist and won first in his state three years in succession in the Fisher Body Design contest promoted by General Motors. He shows great possibilities for the future.

Bob Gajda, who won second in the Most Muscular and second in the Mr. America, has a very outstanding physique and should do well in future Mr. America contests. Standing 5'9" and weighing 193, he has plenty of bulk and really outstanding definition and shape. He has won a number of titles and is quite strong, having done 255 press, 235 snatch and 295 clean and jerk. He is a student at George Williams College and probably was the happiest young man there, about taking second in both events.

John Corvello is only 21 but already has a superb physique and has been training 7½ years. He is 5'9½" tall and weighs 200. He won the Mr. California title this year, among others he holds. He has a very symmetrical physique and presents a very pleasing appearance on the stage.

Bill Whitaker is 25, 5'10", and weighs 196 pounds. He is from Hammond, Louisiana, has won two titles, was an outstanding athlete in school, and at present works in his mother's store. He ran the 100 in 9.9, and has made a 450 squat, 500 dead lift and 390 bench press.

Paul Wachholz is a vice president of a bank in Englewood, Colorado. He is 5'10" tall and weighs 196 pounds. He has won a lot of physique titles including the Mr. Central USA, Mr. Iron Man, Mr. Midwest, Mr. Rocky Mt. and others, and has held the dead lift record in the 198 class at 630, squatted with 470, bench pressed 340, pressed 285, snatched 255 and clean and jerked 335. These are all official records, not training poundages as are so often given. He has won many lifting titles and is probably the most versatile and outstanding in athletic ability of all the contestants.

Sergio Oliva of Chicago was the outstanding physique of the meet, according to the opinion of many, and easily won the Most Muscular. Had he been a citizen, and able to speak English fluently, he probably could have won the Mr. America title. He is also an outstanding lifter, having formerly been the Cuban champion in the 198 class, and made a press of 300, snatch of 305 and clean and jerk of 400. He has a squat of 550, bench press of 500, dead lift of 600 and curl of 230, which makes him by far the strongest man in the contest. He won second in the Jr. Mr. America. His legs are very very powerful looking and his calves are very good--a generally weak area for most colored men, but Oliva has a different ancestry than the colored people of the USA, with a mixture of European blood, and this gives him certain physical advantages of each race and he has made the most of it. His physique reminds us much of Steve Reeves but there seems to be more of it. He should be able to win the Mr. Universe contest if he competes. We see the York group are looking for someone to send over and Sergio would be a good choice.

Dr. Andrew N. Burpee of Santa Monica has a nice physique and is 5'10" tall and weighs 188. He has won many lifting and physique contests, presses 245, snatches 225, clean and jerks 285, has a squat of 420, bench press of 375 and dead lift of 505. He has curled 195; 175 with his back against a post.

Dr. Craig Whitehead was the oldest man in the contest at 30, though several were 29, He is 5'10" and weighs 200, with a very attractive physique, very symmetrical and well balanced. He has been training 9 years and has competed in the Mr. America contest several times. His best poses are the relaxed ones; he has such a pleasing physique in these poses. He is also a champion lifter, with a press of 295, snatch of 265, clean and jerk of 350, squat of 425, bench press of 365 and dead lift of 575. He placed 5th in last year's event, but I believe he looked just as good this year.

Ralph Kroger of Solana Beach, California, looked very good. He is a salesman-bookkeeper for a health studio and certainly is one of the outstanding physiques of the country. He is also a great lifter and with limited lifting training has done 315 press, 285 snatch and 365 clean and jerk. He has also made a 540 squat, 400 bench press and 525 dead lift. He was 5'10½" and weighed 198, though he sometimes goes way up in bodyweight.

Bill McArdle who trains at Vince's Gym, is 23 and has been training 14 years, since 9 years of age-that is starting young, and he shows the results of it, for he has a very outstanding physique. He recently won the Mr. Los Angeles and Mr. Southern California titles. He is 5'11" tall and weighs 205. He has good shape and excellent definition. He has pressed 275, snatched 230 and clean and jerked 305, with a 410 squat, bench press of 275 and dead lift of 465. He works as an illustrator and draftsman.

Dr. John Gourgott usually lifts in the meets, but this year decided to concentrate on the physique contest alone. He looked very rugged at 5'11" and 204 pounds. He placed third in the Sr. National lifting championships last year and second in the Mr. America. He has been training 9 years and has lifts of 340 press, 300 snatch and 350 clean and jerk to his credit along with a 500 squat, 390 bench press and 525 dead lift. He did not look as if he had quite as much definition this year as last, tho this is hard to determine. He did look in very hard condition. He is a practicing physician.

Dennis Tinerino from Brooklyn is only 19 but has an outstanding physique and you will read elsewhere that he won the Mr. Teen Age America title this year. Apparently the organizers planned it this way, the short men appearing first in the lineup and then the tall ones. Tinerino was the first six footer, and he weighs a husky 210 lbs. He has won many titles, including Mr. Eastern America, Mr. Region 1 and Mr. Atlantic Coast. He does a 430 squat, a 380 bench press and a 450 dead lift. He has a very fine physique with exceptional definition.

Bob Oliver is 6'1" and weighs 194 and was once a very fat boy, weighing 260 lbs. He has a very nice build now and has tossed the shot 50 feet and made a 425 bench press, a 400 squat and 500 dead lift. He has trained at the Pasadena Gym for 3½ years and has won the Mr. Pacific Southwest title.

Another six foot, 215 lb. man, Ken McCord, is quite strong, having done a 425 bench press, 550 squat and 475 dead lift. He has a very fine physique and looks as strong as he is. Though a college man, he now works as a hair stylist and barber. He is active in church and youth organizations. He has won the Mr. Western America title.

Jerry Daniels is an even 6 ft. and also weighs 215 lbs. Jerry is 21, and we have previously mentioned a few of his titles. He attended Gordon Military College and was an outstanding football player and was voted most outstanding player in city and county all star game and ran 95 yards to a touchdown. He has a bench press of 410 and dead lift of 515. Now working as a clerk, he is very big, and has good shape and good definition.

Joseph Townsell, age 27, is from San Jose YMCA. He is 6'¼" and 219 lbs. He does a squat of 450 and bench press of 400. He is a good Olympic lifter, with 260 press, 250 snatch and 300 clean and jerk. He works as an electronics technician.

Gene Dickerson, also 27, is 6'1" and weighs 215. He does a squat with 525 and a bench press of 360. He was Mr. San Diego in 1965, among several other outstanding titles. He is also the president of the San Diego Weightlifting Association.

Charles Estes, the last but by no means the least, for he was the tallest and heaviest man in the contest at 6'2" weighing 230 and is certainly very outstanding. From Nashville, Tennessee, he has been training 9 years and recently had his story and photos in Iron Man and was on the Iron Man cover. He has made a 100 yard dash in 10 seconds during high school, and does 475 squat, 423 bench press and 500 in the dead lift, which is good for a man stretched out like he is. He has tremendous development and very good definition I expected him to place much higher than he did.

After watching all these fine physiques pose under the lights, the judges had quite a task to pick one to wear the Mr. America crown. Unfortunately the prejudging was very brief and almost no opportunity to look the fellows over, and about all they had much time for was to ask some questions about athletic accomplishments. This should be corrected next year if plans for a full day for the Mr. America contest materialize. Here is a question that often puzzles judges: should a man be judged as he looks under normal light and unposed, or as he looks under the spot and posing.

Frequently a man is completely transformed when he steps under a light and poses. We have seen men you would hardly give a second look to on the beach, look terrific on the posing platform and under lights. Usually, of course, a man who looks good under spot lights will look good under normal lights too. Judges frequently feel like making changes in their ballots and, I might say, often do, after they see the men posing under lights. Is this good or is it bad? Where should the decision be made. We hope that when complete pre-judging is instituted the judges can have the men pose in both normal light and under spot lights.

We have discussed the publishing of point scores and placings for all men-as to whether it is good or bad, and have decided not to use any score below 10th place and it is possible we should not go below this. You see, the judges do most of their work on the top men and the men lower down the scale get less attention. This means that most of these men in the lower brackets are probably not properly placed, and publication of the full point score certainly doesn't give an accurate presentation of the true position of the men relative to the others.

Here then, are the first ten: Jerry Daniels 90½; Bob Gajda 88; Randy Watson 87½; Sergio Oliva 84½; Charles Estes 82½; John Gourgott 82; Von LaMon 78; Mike Ferraro 77½; Dennis Tinerino 77½; Craig Whitehead 77½. In spite of the points these men have, I believe any one of them could be Mr. America. As a matter of fact, my score sheet often ties several men, and I then have to go over it, even though I dislike to, and change the points, because only one can win. The final choice is seldom even unanimous either with the judges or the audience.

Judges this year were: Joe Raymond, chairman, John Terpak, Karo Whitfield, Frank Bates, Herb Lucy, John Scott and Peary Rader.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #492 on: September 23, 2021, 12:04:34 PM »
Muscular Development, Vol 2, No 11, Page 32, November 1965

By Gene Mozee
MORE than 1500 enthusiastic spectators crowded their way into the Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles on June 11th and 12th to witness one of the greatest Mr. America and Most Muscular Man contests ever held.

Months before the big event it was anyone's guess who would come out on top. All of last year's top contenders (except Bill Seno) were expected to compete, so West Coast bodybuilding fans came prepared to see a great contest. They were not disappointed as twenty-nine truly outstanding competitors paraded under the lights to display their muscular developments to both the judges and spectators.

The caliber of the contestants was simply amazing! Never have I witnessed a finer group of Mr. America contenders as were present for the 1965 contest. Vern Weaver, Mr. America 1963, shared my opinion when he said, "This is definitely the best group of Mr. America competitors I have ever seen." Other physique champions present who shared similar opinions were Mr. Americas Bill Pearl ('53), George Eiferman ('48) and Ray Routledge ('61). Larry Scott, Don Howorth, John Tristram, Chet Yorton and Joe Nista -- who are all among the world's best developed men -- also commented to this writer on the high level of competition.

1.   Jerry Daniels
Chattanooga, Tenn.   90½
2.   Bob Gajda
Chicago, Ill.   88
3.   Randy Watson
Manchester, Tenn.   86½
4.   Sergio Oliva
Chicago, Ill.   86
5.   Charles Estes
Nashville, Tenn.   82½
6.   John Gourgott
New Orleans, La.   82
7.   Von LaMon
Pasadena, Calif.   78½
8.   Craig Whitehead
Lackland AFB, Texas   77½
Dennis Tinerino
Brooklyn, N. Y.   77½
Mike Ferraro
Buffalo, N. Y.   77½
11.   Ralph Kroger
Solano Beach, Calif.   76½
12.   Nick Spano
Atlanta, Ga.   76
13.   Will Whitaker
Hammond, Ind.   75
14.   John Kanter
Phoenix, Ariz.   74
15.   William Parker
Atlanta, Ga.   72
16.   Bill McArdle
Studio City, Calif.   70
17.   Bob Oliver
Pasadena, Calif.   69
Paul Walchoholz
Englewood, Colo.   69
19.   Lee Roy Saba
Oakland, Calif.   67
20.   John Corvello
San Jose, Calif.   66½
21.   Ken McCord
San Leandro, Calif.   63
22.   Charles Amato
Portland, Oregon   61
23.   Eugene Dickerson
San Diego, Calif.   60
24.   John Homola
Santee, Calif.   59
25.   John Balik
Monterey Park, Calif.   57
26.   Millard Williamson
San Jose, Calif.   55½
27.   Andrew Burpee
Santa Monica, Calif.   55
28.   Joseph Townsell
San Jose, Calif.   53½
29.   Roger Millette
Santa Clara, Calif.   53
After the magnificient posing displays by all of the contestants, score cards completed and totaled, the 19-inch arms of Jerry Daniels held the Mr. America trophy. Daniels captured the coveted award in a sweeping upset that saw many of last year's favorites fall by the wayside. As with all important contests, emotions ran high. It was difficult for some of the competitors to hide their disappointment.

At the age of 21, Jerry Daniels shares honors with Steve Reeves for being the youngest man ever to win the Mr. "A" title. Jerry stood out by virtue of his massive size and symmetrical proportions. At 220 pounds, he is one of the heaviest men ever to win the Mr. America contest.

Second place went to Chicago's Bob Gajda, a tremendously muscular and impressive bodybuilder who moved up almost to the top spot after finishing 11th in 1964. Gajda was perhaps the most surprising contender because he was completely overlooked in the prejudging by all the real dyed-in-the-wool muscle fans present. He has terrific calves, and his rock-hard appearance won for him a great many fans even, perhaps, the role as favorite for the '66 Mr. "A." (He also placed 2nd in Most Muscular.)

The veteran campaigner Randy Watson matched his '64 effort by again placing 3rd. Randy, who hails from Manchester, Tennessee, is extremely well-proportioned and symmetrical and he looked very good. With improved definition, he could be the man to beat in '66.

Sergio Olivia was the overwhelming choice for the Most Muscular title but finished only 4th in the Mr. America. He was really the sensation of the meet as far as the audience was concerned. The majority of spectators felt that Sergio should have won. Based upon muscle alone, it would be hard to deny him the title, for his muscular development is truly amazing. He is one of the most impressive physique stars of all time. He must be seen to be believed!

Fifth place went to big Chuck Estes, a 228 pound muscular giant from Nashville. He was quite impressive, combining good size, nice shape and sharp definition. He has made tremendous improvement during the past year and if he continues to improve he's going to be very tough to beat.

Dr. John Gourgott of New Orleans, who placed 2nd in '64 slipped to 6th this year, just a half point behind Estes. He had a great many supporters who felt he should have placed considerably higher, perhaps even taking the title himself. He looked very good and was well received by the audience. He is muscularly thick, and has a fine, well-balanced physique.

Seventh place went to Von La Mon of Pasadena, California. Von looked terrific and had the distinction of being the highest placing California bodybuilder. He is extremely muscular, has well-balanced development and is a smooth poser. Due to a dispute over his eligibility, he was not judged for the Most Muscular Man event. He would have been a strong contender in that category. He received one of the biggest ovations of all the contestants.

Eighth place saw three men sharing the honors with an identical total of 77½ points. Dr. Craig Whitehead of Lackland AFB, Texas; Dennis Tinerino of Brooklyn; and Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, N. Y.

Three notches below his 5th place finish in '64, Dr. Whitehead was a strong contender all the way. He had made a noticeable reduction in bodyweight and was actually much improved over last year. It puzzled more than a few people why he didn't place higher.

Young 19-year old Dennis Tinerino looked very good. Youth is on his side and with continued training he should someday capture the nation's most sought after physique crown. His definition was particularly impressive.

Mike Ferraro has one of the most startling physiques in the world. He has tremendous muscle size, particularly the lats, pecs and thighs. His leg biceps are about the best anywhere. His deep muscular separation and great muscle tone made him standout. He should have definitely placed much higher. He deservedly captured 3rd in Most Muscular.

Ninth place went to Ralph Kroger of San Diego. "Red" impressed everyone with his tremendous size and definition. He will positively be one of the top men in next year's Mr. America contest.

Tenth place was awarded to Nick Spano of Atlanta. He was impressive and his symmetry and proportions were among the best. Additional size and continued training will undoubtedly see him placing much higher next year.

In general, the contest was very well run. The contestants were all of outstanding caliber and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the show. As always, there was a great deal of disagreement among the spectators over the winners but this was due to the fact that they (the audience) were judging on muscle alone rather than the present Mr. America point system which also includes athletic points, general appearance and intelligence, etc. The Most Muscular Man outcome was very popular as Olivia, Gajda and Ferraro took the prizes.

In conclusion, it should be pointed out that Jerry Daniels is an excellent representative of the Mr. America title and I'm sure he will set a fine example to the world and help bodybuilding gain wider public acceptance.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #493 on: September 23, 2021, 12:05:20 PM »
Muscular Development, Vol 2, No 10, Page 32, October 1965

IT WAS A GREAT DAY FOR THE SOUTH. Not only did Jerry Daniels of Chattanooga capture the crown but two other Tennesseans were in the first five. Third, fifth, sixth, eight, twelfth and fifteenth places went to Southerners! Chicago came in strong for second and fourth places.

Handsome Jerry Daniels has a 51½-inch chest; 32-inch waist and 19-inch biceps. He started training at the age of 17 at Dave Collier's Colonial Health Studio in Chattanooga. Four years later he won his first big contest - the Teen-age Mr. America.

Jerry takes a three-hour workout four times a week, doing his chest, shoulders and back on Tuesday and Saturdays; his legs and arms on Thursdays and Sundays. (His complete training routine was given in the August '65 issue of MD.)

He east four times a day favoring plenty of fruit and lean beef which he supplements with Hi-Proteen and Vitamin-Mineral tablets.

In 1962 Jerry was voted the Most Valuable Player award in the Chattanooga All-star football game. A good all-round athlete, he is well educated and well spoken.

In the big '65 America contest we expected that California would get a man in one of the first three places, perhaps two men, but the best position one of their native sons could make was seventh. We expected California men like Bill McArdle of Studio City, Von LaMon of Rosemead, John Corvello of San Jose or Ken McCord of San Leandro to make the first place battle a hectic one but it just didn't turn out that way. A Tennessean, one of the youngest men in the contest, took the coveted crown.

There were other upsets; Sergio Oliva, the muscular superman from Chicago who placed second in the Junior Mr. America, placed fourth. His winning the Most Muscular Man award however, was a foregone conclusion. There is no one who can compare with his massive musculature.

We thought that Dennis Tinerino of Brooklyn, third place man in the Juniors, who had been showing great promise, would be right up in the first five but he dropped to ninth place. Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, holder of the Mr. United States title, was another who found the going tough and was forced into tenth place.

The first ten men were: - Jerry Daniels, Chattanooga, Tenn., the winner - 2nd, Bob Gajda, Chicago, Ill. - 3rd, Randy Watson, Manchester, Tenn. - 4th, Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill. - 5th, Charles Estes, Nashville, Tenn. - 6th, John Gourgott, New Orleans, La. - 7th, Von LaMon, Pasadena, Cal. - 8th, Craig Whitehead, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas - 9th, Dennis Tinerino, Brooklyn, N. Y. - 10th, Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N. Y.



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #494 on: September 23, 2021, 12:06:02 PM »
1966 Mr America - AAU

1     Bob Gajda
2     Sergio Oliva
3     Ralph Kroger
4     Randy Watson (1)
5     Jim Haislop
6     Dennis Tinerino
7     Will Whitaker
8     Charles Estes
9     Tom Helms
10     Bill St John
11     Eugene Dickerson
12     Eugene Kuczinski
13     Gene Wells
14     Nick Spano
15     William Parker
16     Steve Johnson (1)
17     Charles Fautz
18     Tom Hutson
19     Jim Dorn
20     Kent Kuehn
21     Jerry Doettrel
22     Jose Lopez (1)
23     Steve Sakoulos
24     Ken Covington
25     Dan Howard
26     Robert McNeill
27     John Kaczynski
28     James Kowalski
29     Flaubert Peltier
30     Ray Melendez
31     George Papp

Most Muscular
1     Sergio Oliva
2     Bob Gajda
3     Dennis Tinerino
4     Will Whitaker
5     Ralph Kroger


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #495 on: September 23, 2021, 12:06:47 PM »
IronMan, Vol 25, No 6, Page 38, September 1966

Bob Gajda -- Mr. America 1966
Sergio Oliva -- Most Muscular
by The Editor
AS most readers are aware, we have been pushing for changes in the Mr. America contest for many years, trying to get a fun day for it, and complete pre-judging. Finally this has come to pass, and the improvement is so great that we are sure the Mr. America contest will take on new life and mooning.

The pre-judging was done in the afternoon in a large gym in the rear of the stage, and this long period of observation by the judges permitted them to make a much more accurate decision. It also gave them time for selecting body part subdivisions for which awards were given this year.

The staging was the best we have ever seen at a Mr. America, with good background curtains and columns, statuettes and plants to lend atmosphere. The lighting was excellent, and orange lights were used, which gave the skin texture of the athletes a golden glow. John Grimek had worked hard in setting this up and I'm sure he was proud of the effect.

Another excellent service provided at both the Junior Nationals and the Senior Nationals was space for setting up background and lights for the legitimate photographers at the meet. This will enhance the quality of the photos to appear in the magazines and hence bring better publicity to the Show in general.

This was the first time in the past 15 or 20 years that your editor hasn't been on the judging panel and it was a welcome relief not to have this heavy responsibility and to be able instead to visit with the athletes and others around a show. I remarked to one judge that now I was in a position to criticize. However, frankly, I found nothing to criticize in the selections. I think they did a fine job.

I will have much more to say about the Mr. America contest in general in future issues. Just now our shortage of space will crowd us to get the report of this great show adequately covered.

Because of the almost unlimited time for presenting the show since it was given the whole day and evening, it was possible to include some special vaudeville acts, which greatly improved the whole presentation.

The show started with everyone standing for the Star Spangled Banner, then the curtains were drawn to show all the contestants standing at attention on elevated staging of different heights. This was an impressive opening. Then the curtains were drawn and the men came out one at a time and posed for the subdivisions. This gave the audience an excellent view of the men, tho not all of them were entered in the subdivisions.

Following this, two boys, Mike Stevens and Lyle Crim, came out and gave a demonstration of the clean and jerk. Mike is 11 and weighs about 80 lbs. and Lyle is 8 and weighs 68. Mike made 100 lbs., and Lyle about 80. Both boys showed wonderful style and excellent control in these lifts, both having been carefully coached by their fathers.

A girls' tumbling team called the Mannettes, came on and presented some excellent tumbling. They ranged from tiny little girls of about 50 pounds, up to older girls weighing perhaps 120 or so and all went through the difficult tumbling stunts, all dressed in flame red suits. They were very good.

The Mr. America contestants now came forth and posed individually on the posing platform for the Must Muscular title and this brought amazed gasps from the audience as they viewed some of the unbelievable physiques.

Following this, there was a Karate exhibition, or rather a stone slab breaking exhibition, by one of the Mr. America contestants, Steve Johnson. He broke 2 inch slabs of marble with blows of his hands.

The Mannettes now appeared for a fine exhibition of the parallel bar exercises and this was followed by the Mr. America competition in which all the men participated and all posed individually and were allowed 60 seconds on the posing platform. A 10 minute intermission followed.

After the intermission, Ken Sherbourne, a most remarkable juggler, gave a display of balance and juggling. He seems to be one of the best. Karen Nyce, a contortionist and balancer, then gave an unbelievable performance as she proceeded to do a one finger balance on a ball on a table. There must have been a gimmick somewhere, for she balanced almost on the tip of the index finger of one hand in a slight depression in the ball and the finger and hand were held at an odd angle. Even considering this possibility, it is the most remarkable balancing feat we have ever seen a woman perform, or for that matter, anyone else. She wore gloves and later took them off very carefully, and even though there might have been a finger support in the glove it was still an unbelievably feat of balance, Among other things, she also bent over backward and reached at least two feet below her feet to pick up a flower with her teeth and stand erect with it while standing on high pedestals under each foot.

It was now time to announce the Most Muscular contest winners and the crowd waited in great anticipation for the judges' decisions. The men were called out in reverse order, with Ralph Kroger getting 5th, Bill Whitaker 4th, then Dennis Tinerino 3rd, Bob Gajda 2nd, and it was no surprise that Sergio Oliva was first again this year. This man certainly is fabulous and it would be hard to visualize anyone being more muscular, no matter what your definition of muscular might be. It was a popular decision with the audience and surely the contestants could not complain, at least as far as first place was concerned. The other places were so close that it could have gone any way.

Billy Parker, one of the Mr. America contestants, now came out and put on his muscle control routine and muscle dance. He is very good, and provided the crowd with a lot of entertainment and humor. We were then treated to a beautiful posing tableau of 5 fine bodybuilders gilded in gold and silver, with Gene Kuszinski in gold and his attendants in silver. This was a very impressive presentation. I can imagine the difficulties they had in getting this gold and silver washed off. The attendants were Ray Dotterwich, Mel Long, Rick Sargent and Chick Schiesser.

Body Parts Winners were announced, with Sergio Oliva winning best arms and best back. No one could argue about this. Will Whitaker won best chest and he certainly had a good one. Best legs went to Ralph Kroger, a man who not only has good looking legs, but powerful legs, as he is a very good lifter. Best abdominals went to Dennis Tinerino.

It was now time for the big announcement -- the winner of America's top title for bodybuilders, the man who would proudly wear this title for the coming year was about to be announced. The announcer and MC, Bob Callahan, who had done a fine job all evening, brought out the 5th place man first to present his trophy (these trophies were certainly beautiful this year). Fifth place man was James Haislop, a wonderfully built young fellow, and last issue's cover man on Iron Man, and a man who with a little more shaping up will be one of our greatest Mr. America's (we predict). Fourth place was another great bodybuilder, a small man, but one of physical perfection, Randy Watson. Third place man was another with a great future, Ralph Kroger, current Mr. California. The last two men were the ones that everyone was wondering about. Two top men were in everyone's mind. Which one would take the title? When Sergio Oliva's name was called for second place, everyone knew that none other than Bob Gajda could be the winner of the coveted title for this year, and the MC wasted no time bringing him out. Judging from the applause, this was a popular decision. A few seemed to feel that Oliva had a slight edge, but they should remember that a Mr. America ought to be a citizen and must be able to speak English fluently, so that he may keep speaking engagements, etc., during the year. Sergio is trying to take care of the citizenship business and is also attending night classes studying English, and has already made much progress, so if he will continue he should win the coveted title in time. We have some photos taken by Bob Gajda which are marvelous and we will show some of them to you in next issue. When you see them you will know why everyone raves about Sergio Oliva. As most of you know, these two men are good friends and training partners at Duncan YMCA in Chicago.

So ended a great show and a very satisfying one for the public, I'm sure. John Picard accompanied the show with music played on an accordion hooked up to some electrical devices that made it sound like a big pipe organ. He did a wonderful job and added much to the presentation.

We would like to try to squeeze in a few facts about the different contestants-31 in all. We have already given you the facts and figures on some of these men in the report on the Jr. Mr. America contest, so will not repeat them here.

We will begin in the order in which they appeared at the contest, with Will Whitaker being first. Win has trained 4 years and won several important physique contests. He played baseball, football in Southeastern Louisiana college, is 5'10½" tall, weighing 198, with 18½ arms, 50 chest, 31 waist, 26½ thighs and calves of 17½. He has bench pressed 385, squatted with 475 and dead lifted 515.

Incidentally, the measurements and the lifts given here are those stated by the contestants, as we took no measurements, or required no certification of lifts. We assume they are accurate and truthful.

John Kaczynski was No. 2 man out on the posing platform and he too has trained for 4 years and attends the night school of Baltimore University. His favorite sport has been basketball, and he is 5'10" tal1 and weighs 190 with measurements not given.

Ray Melendez came from Puerto Rico 19 years ago and has been training 9 years. He likes gymnastics, for which he is well built, being 5'4" tall and weighing 164, with 16½ arms, 46 chest, 30 waist, thighs 23½ and calf of 14.

Randy Watson is a minister in the Church of Christ, a man of sparkling personality and a real credit to the game. He has trained 9 years, is married and has a two year old son. He has won outstanding honors in gymnastics and the rings. He has bench pressed 360, squat 450, dead lift 500. He is 5'7" and weighed 170. He won the 1963 Jr. Mr. America title and was 3rd in the Mr. America in 1964 and 1965. We have carried Randy's story and his schedules in Volume 22 Number 6 Iron Man.

Gene Kuczinski has trained for 4 years and is in the Navy, working as an aviation electrician. He is 22 and weighs 205 at 5'9" and has bench pressed 375 and squatted with 450. He has 18 inch arms, 50 chest, 31 waist, 27 thighs and 17½ calves.

Jerry Doettrel has been training. 8½ years and is 5'4" and weighs 178, with 17½ arms, 45 chest, 25 thigh, 31½ waist and 17¼ calves. He is a cook by trade.

Flaubert Peltier has been training 8 years, is married and has a 14 month old daughter. He is a machinist and is 5'9" tall, weighs 180, no measurements were given, but he does a dead lift with 585.

Charles Fautz has trained 7 years and is 5'11" tall, weighing 220. He has a General Business Degree from Monmouth College and works as a purchasing agent. He has done a 440 bench press, 450 squats and 600 dead lift at 215 bodyweight.

Gene Wells has trained for 18 years and seems to improve all the time. He will be a cover man on Iron Man soon. He possesses outstanding chest and abdominal development -- we don't know why he didn't enter the abdominal subdivision. Gene is married, has a four month old daughter and works as a building contractor. He has done a press of 260, snatch of 220 and clean and jerk of 290 for a 770 total.

Kenneth Covington has trained 4 years and is 5'11½", weighs 190, with an arm of 17, chest 45½, waist 29, thigh 24 and calf 15. He has done olympic lifts of 230, 205 and 250 and power lifts of 310, 400, 540.

Ralph Kroger has trained 8 years and at 5'10" weighed 200, though he has weighed as much as 240, we understand. He has made a 1,000 pound total as a heavyweight lifter. His training consists primarily of power work, and he gives little thought to measurements. He works as a business manager and we hope to feature him in Iron Man soon.

Thomas Hutson has trained 5 years and at 22 years has an arm of 19, chest 49, waist 31, thigh 26, calf 18½, and stands 5'9", weighing 188. He works as a bottler for Anheuser-Busch.

Kent Kuehn has trained only 3 years but power lifts 340, 385, 530 and does 240, 215 and 290 in the olympic lifts. He was a gymnast at Central Michigan University. He is marred and has a 6 month old son.

Bill St. John has been training 3 years and does 250, 220, 290 in the olympic, lifts at 181 bodyweight, though he now weighs 210 it a height of 5'11. Bill is 23 years old and doesn't know what he measures as he doesn't consider measurements of any value. He was a high school wrestling champ in the 175 lb. class. He works for the Government as a draftsman.

Thomas Helms has been training for 6 years and was a Jr. Mr. America and was an outstanding wrestler and Delaware Olympic Lift Heavyweight Champ in 1963. He weighs 210 at 6'1" and has an arm of 18¼, 50 chest, 32½ waist, 26½ thigh and 17 calf. He works as a meat supervisor.

James Kowalski has trained 10 years and has won awards for track and field as well as marksmanship awards. He is a Pantagraph-Ultragraph machine operator, is married and has two children.

Wm. Parker has been training 8 years and is now a college student and 22 years of age. Standing 5'3" tall, he weighs 150 and has won many titles. He has done 200, 200, 250 in the Olympic lifts. He is a muscle control expert and much in demand for this activity at various shows.

Jim Dorn has been training a good many years and was formerly one of the top lifters in the 181 and 198 class, having done 315, 285, 360, 965 in the Olympic lifts. He developed sore knees and had to give up lifting. He is known to have one of the broadest backs in the country. He plans to go back to lifting when his knees will permit. Jim owns his own variety store, stands 5'7" and gives the following measurements 19 arms, 50 chest, 30 waist, 27 thigh and 17 calf.

Steve Johnson has trained 4 years and is a Karate expert and a member of the Philadelphia Police Department. He is 5'7" tall and weighs 182. He is a black belt in Karate.

Dennis Tinerino has been in the limelight for several years, having started training about 5 years ago, and later, in 1965, winning the Teen Age Mr. America title. Dennis attends the RCA institute and hopes to begin lifting soon. He is 6'1½" tall and weighs 217, with 19¼ arm, 50 chest, 33 waist, 26½ thigh and 17½ calf. We hope to carry his story soon. Dennis trained at Bill Pearl's gym for a few weeks prior to the Sell or Nats, and made great improvement over his condition at the Juniors. We talked to some who thought he should have won the Mr. America title this year.

Bob McNeill has trained 10 years and has won quite a few titles, is a Karate expert and does some lifting. He works as a receiving clerk and is 6' tall, weighing 210, with 18¼ arm, 50 chest, 29½ waist, 25 thigh and 16 calf, He is 30, married, and has two sons.

Charles Estes has trained for 10 years, is 6'2" and weighs a hefty 235 lbs. He is an inhalation therapist at the Nashville Hospital and has had a very good athletic history in most fields of athletics. In the power lifts he has done 450, 475, 525, and he measures: 19¼ arm, 51 chest, 32 waist, 27½ thigh.

James Haislop has been training for only 3 years but already has one of the most pleasing physiques with great possibilities. He is now a machinist for the Honeywell company and has already won many top titles. He is 6' tall and weighs 223 with 18¾ arm, 51 chest, 31 waist, 27¾ thigh and 17½ calf. See his story in last issue of Iron Man.

Gene Dickerson has his details in the Jr. Mr. America report in this issue. Please refer to it.

Bob Gajda also has his details in the Jr. Mr. America report. More will appear about Bob in future issues of Iron Man.

Nick Spano has been training 8 years and has made continual improvement. Nick is 5'8½" tall, weighs 185 and has won many titles. He is a teacher of social studies and was Jr. Middleweight wrestling champ of Georgia, and high school shot put champion. He has totaled 735 on the Olympic lifts and his measurements are 18 arm, 47 chest, 31 waist, 25 thigh and 16¼ calf. He has recently been on the Blair program and says he has made great progress.

Jose Lopez is a student at the University of Puerto Rico and has been training for 4 years, stands 5'11" and weighs 198. He has boxed in the Golden Gloves and also made 275, 240, 325 in the Olympic lifts in the 198 class, and this is good.

Sergio Oliva, who has been training 7 years, has details in the Jr. Mr. America report. Here is an added detail our reporter Don Wilson picked up. We didn't know Sergio was married, but according to this report, his wife is coming from Cuba via Spain.

Dan Howard has been training for 3½ years and is 6'2¼", weighing 222 lbs. He was honorable mention for All American football and is a sky-diver and is working on his doctorate at the University of Tulsa in Zoology and Physiology. He has an 18½ arm, 51 chest, 31 waist, 26½ thigh and 17½ calf.

George Papp has trained for 10½ years, was a boxer in the US Air Force, and is a steel worker. He is 5'11" and weighs 181. At 41, he was the oldest man in the contest.

Steve Sakoulos had been training the longest--22 years, and is the second oldest in the meet at 40. This is the 6th Mr. America contest he has appeared in. He is a glass blower but owns a company that manufactures hospital supplies. Steve is also an Olympic lifter, having made 250, 245, 320 while weighing 181. He is 5'11" and weighs 185.

We did not say much about the training methods of the above men. Most of them train pretty much on the general programs of several sets of about 8 repetitions and perhaps about 12 to 20 sets per body part for three to five workouts per week, most of them using the split system of upper body one day and lower body the following, thus getting in 5 workout days per week. Most of them follow very good nourishing diets, keeping their protein high and carbohydrates low. Most of them use some form of supplements such as protein, vitamin-mineral and wheat germ oil, as well as liver tablets. They all agree that dedication to a regular schedule, careful living habits and hard work are the secrets of their success. They are all dedicated to their programs ahead of all else.

We will carry stories of many of the above men in future issues of Iron Man.

We are indebted to the industrious activities of Don Wilson, the hard working Chairman of the Pacific Association this past year, and my wife, Mabel, for much of the information contained in the above remarks.

Judges for the Mr. America were: Steve Stanko, Karo Whitfield, Frasher Ferguson, Bob Crist, Frank Bates, Bob Hise, Morris Weisbro


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #496 on: September 23, 2021, 12:07:14 PM »
Muscular Development, Vol 3, No 10, Page 32, October 1966

THE 27TH ANNUAL MR. AMERICA CONTEST took place in York at the William Penn Highschool on June 19th and was sponsored by the York Barbell Club. It was indeed the finest extravaganza of strong and muscle men ever presented. The unusual throng that witnessed this gala spectacle agreed that it was a colossal display of America's finest developed men. Of course the entire National Weightlifting Championships were truly superb, with strong competition to the very last lift. All in all the three-day event was something to remember and will be long talked about.

In the past the Mr. America contest was an important but relatively small part of the National Championships, but this year, for the first time, an entire day was devoted to this physique event. When this contest is "squeezed in" at the end of the championships, the time is usually late and everything has to be rushed. York Barbell Club, having more Mr. America winners than any other club, felt that these men have trained hard and long and deserve to have more time and more consideration, so an entire day was devoted to this annual occasion. In this way no one was rushed and the show finished by 10:30 that evening, making it still rather early for out-of-town visitors.

The day after the National Championships started early. The lifting platform, scoreboard and other equipment had to be removed so the stage could be set for the Mr. America contest that evening. John Terlazzo, who accepted the burden of organizing the meet, had everything well-planned and allocated certain jobs to different men who were willing to share some of the tasks. The whole stage setting was superb, and John Grimek with the help of capable electricians arranged the lights to complement the unique stage setting. The whole arrangement took several hours and was completed just about the time the prejudging started, which began at 12:30 P.M.

Since these men (the officials, who perform a thankless and difficult job), were not hurried this time, they looked over each contestant carefully and gave him every consideration. Though this was a prolonged affair, the information these men gathered was most noteworthy in making their decision.

Each contestant was interviewed and asked for valid proof of his athletic ability. It might be emphasized here and now that many a Mr. America contender "gets lost in the judging" when he fails to provide some evidence of his athletic ability. For anyone who gets a low score for his athletic ability automatically loses his chance of winning. This will explain WHY a muscular, well-proportioned fellow fails to win . . . simply because HE DID NOT have enough athletic points to back up his muscles. Dennis Tinerino, for example, placed sixth not because he lacks any phase of muscular development, but primarily because he fails to bring along sufficient evidence to back up his athletic accomplishments. Others, with outstanding development, fall into the same category. Future contestants should remember this and bring along ample proof of their athletic ability.

Months before some discussion was made to hold the contest in three height classes: short, medium and tall, and three extra trophies were bought. During the prejudging as each man was being measured to determine his height category and just when things were running along smoothly, the officials get word from the National Weightlifting Chairman that the height classes would not be permitted on stage but the trophies could be presented backstage. This decision was accepted only to learn later that even this idea was boycotted, consequently all the contestants who were looking forward to seeing who would win the different height classes were truly disappointed when this event failed to materialize.

This, MD feels, is a gross error on the part of all AAU officials who opposed this decision, because if the Mr. America contest is held in various height divisions, the whole event will become bigger than it was ever thought to be. Smaller men who seldom have any chance when they are competing against 200-pounders or heavier men, will at least try to win their own height category, and this to them will be just as satisfying as if they won the overall title . . . these small men should be given that chance. Several officials, however, endorsed this idea wholeheartedly and no doubt this will be a big issue at the next AAU Convention. It seems rather certain that the next Mr. America, scheduled for Columbus, Ohio, will hold the Mr. America in two or more height classes, and if it is, it will be for the "good of the game!"

After prejudging of the athletic ability the men returned to be judged for the various subdivisions; arms, chest, back, legs and abdominals. In the past, due to the lack of time mostly, these events were omitted, but since a whole day was being devoted to the Mr. A contest these subdivisions were reinstated. Most of the winners and runners-up in these events were well-judged and deserved their victories, although two contenders, Charles Estes and Gene Wells, should have placed in the Best Back award. Both these men displayed impressive backs. However, when there are so many fine looking physiques it really is a job to pick them all to please everyone, and as said before it's a thankless and difficult job. . . and very few want it.

Winner like Bob Gajda, Sergio Oliva and Ralph Kroger placed in most of these subdivisions, indicating that these men were in top form and deserved the positions they rated.

The prejudging took around five hours to complete, then a tie between Sergio and Kroger was noticed. This was resolved by, adding each man's high and low score, which is normally tossed out, and in this way Sergio forged ahead without any difficulty. However, less than a month before Sergio won the Jr. Mr. America title in San Jose, California, beating Gajda by one-half point. These results were listed last month. Randy Watson, whose been in a few of these events, finished fourth this year, and Jim Haislop, who is excellent Mr. America material once he trains down to finer muscularity, was a fifth favorite. The crowd approved the entire decision with hearty applause.

It's not surprising but most of the contestants were evenly matched, and if you refer to the list of contestants in last month's MD you'll notice how close the points were in almost every case, and in some cases the lack of athletic points made the difference.

The show got underway promptly at 7:30 PM. Bob Callahan, the MC for the show, did an excellent job of keeping the audience informed about each category and about the men as they stepped upon the posing dias. Of course besides the Mr. America. Most Muscular and subdivision events, several outstanding acts - were featured. A clean & jerk demonstration by two youngsters; Mike Stevens and Lyle Crim, make a big hit with the crowd. The Monnette, a fine tumbling and acrobatic group from Philadelphia did a great job. And right after intermission an extraordinary juggler, Ken Sherburne, thrilled the audience with his amazing stunts. But the act that was hard to believe even though you saw it right before your eyes was the balancer extraordinary, Karen Nyce. Her unbelievable one-finger stand and back-bending ability held the crowd breathless. The muscle control by Billy Parker was superb, and Gilded Artistry was another impressive act. So with all the fine posing and display of muscles, the show had enough variety to interest everyone. . . and it did.

As the final 10 men were called up to give their final posing demonstration, somehow Bob Gajda must have learned that he was the winner, because when he came out to pose he overstayed his time. He just continued to stay up on and on, and this premature exhibition was not popular with the officials or most of the audience. Some of the judges wanted to disqualify him, and they would have had they not already turned over their score sheets. "Jumping the gun," so to speak, rubs people the wrong way and several of the officials voiced their disapproval over this. No doubt it will be considered and brought to discussion at the next Mr. America contest during their meetings. Even some of the contestants felt this was in bad taste yet felt that it was this exhibition that may have won the title for him. It did not. The winners were known two hours or so BEFORE the actual contest began that evening, although the MC did not get the names of the actual winners until each category appeared on the program. He should have waited until he was announced the winner and then his exhibition would have been appreciated by everyone. Nevertheless, Gajda was a popular winner and many enthusiasts came backstage and milled around him for a long time after the show ended.

Thus ended another Mr. America contest but more fabulous than any previous Mr. America show. . . it was the greatest! It will be long remembered, even after a score of other winners have been chosen, but the Mr. America contest of 1966 will be remembered by all who saw it as the very best. . . and they will be right. It was the BEST!


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #497 on: September 23, 2021, 12:07:51 PM »
Strength & Health, Page 22, September 1966

1.   Bob Gajda   Duncan YMCA   69
2.   Sergio Oliva   Duncan YMCA   66½
3.   Ralph Kroger   Coast Health Studio   66½
4.   Randy Watson   Atlanta, Ga.   65½
5.   James Haislop   tampa Health Club   65½
6.   Dennis Tinerino   Brookylyn, N. Y.   64½
7.   Will Whitaker   Parkview Health Club   64
8.   Charles Estes   Cosmopolitan HC   64
9.   Tom Helms   York Barbell Club   58½
10.   Bill St. John   York Barbell Club   57½
11.   Eugene Dickerson   Lea's Gym   56½
12.   Eugene Kuczinski   Eastern Health Studio   56½
13.   Gene Wells   Fritsh's Gym   56
14.   Nick Spano   Physical Fitness HC   55
15.   Wm. Parker   Bel Air Health Club   55
16.   Steve Johnson   Fritsch'e Gym   53
17.   Charles Fautz   Surf Breakers AC   52½
18.   Tom Hutson   St. Louis, Mo.   52
19.   Jim Dorn   York Barbell Club   52
20.   Kent Kuehn   Lansing, Mich.   51
21.   Jerry Doettrel   York, AC, Buffalo   50
22.   Jose Lopez   Roberto Santana HC   49
23.   Steve Sakoulos   Irving Park YMCA   49
24.   Ken Covington   Boodley's Gym   47
25.   Dan Howard   Univ. of Tulsa   46½
26.   Bob McNeill   Don's HC   46½
27.   John Kaczynski   Eastern Health Studio   46
28.   James Kowalski   Pittsburgh Boys' Club   46
29.   Flaubert Peltier   Boston YMCA   44
30.   Ray Melendez   Fritshe's Gym   41½
31.   George Papp   Buffalo, N. Y.   38

Sergio Oliva
Bob Gajda
Dennis Tinerino
Will Whitaker
Ralph Kroger

Best Abdominals - Dennis Tinerino
Best Arms - Sergio Oliva
Best Legs - Ralph Kroger
Best Back - Sergio Oliva
Best Chest - Will Whitaker
The 1966 Mr. America show was a huge success in all respects. John Terlazzo, the show director, and his organizing committee are certainly to be cogratulated for making this the "best ever". For the first time in the 27-year history of the Mr. America Contest, the competition was conducted on a separate evening from the lifting contest. The show was not only attractive to bodybuilding enthusiasts, but to all persons, regardless of their interest or ages. Besides the subdivision, most muscular, and Mr. A posign competition there were numberous variety acts for young and old alike. Tumbling, karate, acrobatics, juggling, muscle control, hand balancing, and gilded artistry performances added greatly to the contest. As someone said as they left the York High School Auditorium, "This will be a tough acto to follow."

Bob Gajda, the personable Chicago YMCA worker, captured the top honor in the Mr. America competition. He has everything that it takes to be a great Mr. America. Needless to say, he has the muscles, but he also creates a fine appearance and has an interest in the game that rfew others have possessed. Sergio Oliva was the runner-up for Mr. A and won the Most Muscular title as well as two subdivisions: "Best Back" and "Best Arms". Ralph Kroger was a very close third place finisher. He also won the "Best Legs" award and was fifth in the Most Muscular contest. Randy Watson and James Haislop were next in the top five. A full report on the competition and the show will be in next month's issue.

(In the event of a tie the hight and low scores of the judges were totaled to determine the winner.)



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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #498 on: September 23, 2021, 12:08:24 PM »
Strength & Health, Page 22, October 1966

by Bill Starr
The 27th Annual A.A.U. Mr. America Contest was more than a physique contest -- it was a tremendous variety show as well. Mike Steven and Lyle Crim put on a fine clean and jerk exhibition. The Mannetts thrilled the crowd with their tumbling, acrobatics, and parallel bar exercises. Steve Johnson demonstrated his skill in karate in between appearances in the Mr. A competition. Ken Sherburne delighted the audience with his juggling performance and Karen Nyce made the most flexible viewers feel very humble indeed after watching her contortionist act. Bill Parker, who was also a Mr. A contestant, treated everyone to a fantastic display in muscle control The variety part of the show was toppped off with a gilded artistry presentation. Gene Kuczinski posed in gold with Rick Sargent, Ray Dotterwich, Mel Long, and Chick Schiesser in silver.

The entire show was MCed very expertly by Bob Callahan and John Picard at the organ gave the entire affair a professional touch.

Strength & Health presents an exclusive "first" -- the judges scoring for the 1966 Mr. America Contest. We have long felt that the individual scores of the judges should be made public as they are in any other athletic activity such as: figure skating, diving, boxing, gymnastics, etc. This would eliminate any behind-the-scenes "hanky panky" on the part of the officials. We feel that if the judges are aware that their decisions are going to be publiczed, then they will be less biased and more discreet in their decision making. We recommend that this be a required practice in future physique competitions.

contestant   Whitfield   Stanko   Hise   Bates   Weissbrot   Crist   Ferguson   Sub-Total   Athletic
Points   Total
1. Will Whitaker   15   12   11½   12   19   11½   12   59   5   64
2. John Kaczynski   9   10   9   9   9   8   7½   44   2   46
3. Ray Melendez   8   8   9½   8   8   7   7½   39½   2   41½
4. Randy Watson   15   12½   13½   11   10½   11   12½   60½   5   65½
5. Gene Kuczinski   10   12½   10½   10½   8   10½   10   51½   5   56½
6. Jerry Doettrel   10   8½   10   9½   7½   9   9   46   4   50
7. Flaubert Peltier   7   9   8   12   7½   7½   6½   39   5   44
8. Charles Fautz   9   11   9½   11   9   9   7   47½   5   52½
9. Gene Wells   12   10½   11   9½   10   10   9½   51   5   56
10. Ken Covington   9   9   9   8½   7   8   9   43½   3½   47
11. Ralph Kroger   14   12   12½   12½   11½   12   12½   61½   5   66½
12. Tom Hutson   10   12½   9½   9   9   9½   9   47   5   52
13. Kent Kuehn   8   7½   10   9   10   10   9   46   5   51
14. Bill St. John   12   10½   10½   11½   10½   10   10   52½   5   57½
15. Tom Helms   12   12½   10½   9½   11   9½   10½   53½   5   58½
16. James Kowalski   9   10   9½   8½   9   8   7   44   2   46
17. Wm. Parker   14   10½   11   9   8   10   9½   50   5   55
18. Jim Dorn   9   10½   11   8½   7½   9   10   47   5   52
19. Steve Johnson   12   10   10½   8½   8½   10½   8   48   5   53
20. Dennis Tinerino   13   14   11½   12   11½   12½   12½   61½   3   64½
21. Bob McNeill   8   8½   8½   8½   7½   8½   8   1½   5   46½
22. Charles Estes   14   14   12   10½   10½   11   11½   59   5   64
23. James Haislop   14   9   11   11   12½   13½   12½   60½   5   65½
24. Eugene Dickerson   12   14   11   10   6½   9   9½   51½   5   56½
25. Bob Gajda   14   10   13½   13½   12½   11½   13   64   5   69
26. Nick Spano   14   9   12   10½   9½   9   9   50   5   55
27. Jose Lopez   9   9   10½   10   9   9   10   47   2   49
28. Sergio Oliva   15   11½   13   12   12   12½   12   61½   5   66½
29. Dan Howard   9   9   12   9½   7½   8   9   44½   2   46½
20. George Papp   6   9   8   9   6   7   6   36   2   38
31. Steve Sakoulos   10   9   9½   9½   7   7   9   44   5   49
Judgint the Mr. America Contest is done by the point system. The judges can give a maximum of 5 points to each contestant for: symmetry, muscular development, and general appearance for an overall maximum of 15 points. A panel of seven judges vote for Mr. America. The high and low scores for each contestant are eliminated to prevent bias and the remaining five scores are totaled. This give the sub-total. A five point maximum for athletic ability is allowed for each contestant and this is added in after the sub-total. This gives the final total for the contestant. In cases of ties the high and low scores are added to determine the highest man.


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Re: AAU Mister America - Discuss the AAU History
« Reply #499 on: September 23, 2021, 12:09:05 PM »
1967 Mr America - AAU

1     Dennis Tinerino
2     Jim Haislop
3     Will Whitaker
4     Ralph Kroger
5     Boyer Coe
6     Chris Dickerson
7     Gilbert Hansen
8     Charles Estes
9     Craig Whitehead
10     Kent Kuehn
11     Melvin Meriweather
12     Philip Smeja
13     Ronald Schiavoni
14     Dominick Duche

Most Muscular
1     Dennis Tinerino
2     Will Whitaker
3     Jim Haislop
4     Chris Dickerson
5     Boyer Coe