IronMan, Vol 27, No 1, Page 20, January 1968
THIS year's show makes the 5th annual IFBB run, Bud Parker produced physique show held in Brooklyn, New York, and if you've never attended one of these, they are difficult to adequately describe. Surely no physique show anywhere in recent years approximates the competition, excitement, eager noisy fans or adulation seen here; and the only possible shows ever to compete are the old Mr. U.S.A. shows run in the early 50's by Bert Goodrich in Los Angeles.
Once again this year a sellout crowd of almost 2500 packed the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see this competition-packed show, and once again they were rewarded with several contests and a variety of interesting acts with emphasis on the physical. Describing a show of this magnitude is difficult . . . to catch the excitement at high points or to sense the esthetic values of great posing performances is difficult to translate into words. Perhaps the best way is to describe the show as it happened and add comments as we go along.
Don Howorth, California
Short Class -
Most Muscular - Rock Stonewall (Ill.)
Best Arms - Don Howorth (Calif.)
Best Chest - Michael Katz (Conn.)
Best Back - Rock Stonewall (Ill.)
Best Abdominals - Zabo Koszewski (Calif.)
Best Legs - Frank Zane (Florida)
Rick Wayne (England)
Short Class -
Most Muscular - Elliot Gilchrist (Grenada)
Best Arms - Rick Wayne (England)
Best Chest - Vic Downs (Canada)
Best Back - Rick Wayne (England)
Best Abs - Jean-Claud Lepage (Canada)
Best Legs - Vic Downs (Canada)
Best Poser - Rick Wayne (England)
After a few opening words from master of ceremonies Bud Parker, and from Ben Weider, Ricky Wayne sang and performed, having a surprisingly good act. Ed Jubinville then performed his usual muscle control act, and the Miss Americana competition was on.
Although all five girls in the contest were good to excellent looking, the small number of entrants makes it a wonder why the IFBB continues this competition. No one seems much interested, but luckily at least 3 or 4 girls are exceptional every year, and this year was no different.
Winner was very lovely and poised Christine Harris of St. Petersburg, Florida, Frank Zane's girl friend. Frank didn't do as well in the Mr. America competition, but with a lovely girl like that, he certainly shouldn't mind waiting until next year for another crack at the crown. Second was recent winner of the IFBB Miss Western America crown, Johnine Lee of California, and a well-stacked and vivacious third was Janet Eshleman of Baltimore.
The Mr. America competition had over 40 contestants, and most were really top material. California cleaned up, as usual, with 5 contestants cleaning up the tall class entirely, 8 trophies between them, and Don Howorth a sensational and very deserving overall winner.
Other class winners were Rock Stonewall of Chicago and Frank Zane of Tampa, both looking their usual best, and close to Don. Next on the list was the amazing Zabo Koszewski; Zabo who, admits to 45, was tanned, cut-up, and posed sensationally. One of the real hits with the crowd, Zabo looked better than ever and just may outlast all other bodybuilders in search of future Mr. A wins. This was probably the closest he's come to the very top title in some years and just shows what determination, despite so-called age, can do for any bodybuilder. Another year or two of continued improvement may just well bring him the title that has eluded his grasp for so many years.
After Zabo, Ken McCord, Don Peters, Joe Nista, Al Keene all placed and looked well. Among non-placers, modest but massive Mike Katz, a New Haven, Connecticut former football player in the pros and a Dave Draper look alike, showed great size and promise. A hair cut and more weight Will make him a champ soon. Dave Sheppard of New York City, Warren Frederick of the Bronx and Vinnie Reno, 5 feet of power and posing grace, all looked very good, as did Roman Austin, Leon Brown and George Reo.
On reflection, even though Stonewall, Zane and Howorth were very close, the posing, crowd reception and overall appearance made Don a clear winner. He had obviously worked harder than ever before to win this contest, and he showed broad shoulders right down to deeply etched abdominals. His arms looked bigger and better than ever, and won the Best Arms title for him; see end of article for complete list of class Winners and best bodyparts awards.
The first half of the show ended with Jack Delinger's posing routine. Although Jack is a great all-time champion, recently out of retirement, it was obvious he was not in top shape compared to some of the others, and his posing was more of the 1950's than 1960's. He's such a great, unassuming and pleasant bodybuilder that many hope he'll get back into competition and show the Delinger who beat Bill Pearl and won all the titles available in the early 50's.
After a short intermission, the fans were treated to two of the greatest acts to come down the pike or the freeway or the yellow brick road or anywhere. First on were the hand balancers David and Goliath, fresh from an appearance on the Johnny Carson nationwide TV show. Bodybuilders Fred Randall and Jerry Howard make up this team, and it is no exaggeration to say they are the best in the U.S. and probably in the world now. Their act is flawless, totally polished, professional and just plain great. After several minutes of seemingly impossible stunts, their finale was a one-arm balance, with Jerry Howard coming from flat on the floor to standing, still holding Fred Randall overhead with one hand.
Next out was Chuck Sipes and his strongman act. Well, here again mere words certainly fail to describe the scene; you had to have lived it to fully appreciate it. In the past Chuck has been respected as a great man, good bodybuilder and exceptionally powerful strongman. How can one man, after years of training, so sensationally improve in just one year? Even under his costume his body bulged with deeply-cut, rockhard muscle, rippled with more power than any man should be allowed. A gauge of Chuck's present stature is the fact that he bench pressed 510 pounds for 5 reps, slow and steady, in the Mid-City Gym, day before the show. Read that over and digest it. Chuck says he'll do 600 within a year, and who can deny him?
As the curtains parted dramatically, Sipes was there, grasping a heavy tire chain, pulling it apart with pure power. No gimmicks, no tricks, just the strength of his almost-greater-than-mortal body. In this business where the character of quite a few are suspect, it's another tribute to Chuck that he'd never even think of gimmicks, he just pulls with all his power, shakes, quivers, persists when you think he's going to bust. The chain was unusually stout, resisted for long seconds, but finally power triumphed, and as his whole body shook with effort, it burst apart with the roar of the spectators deafening everything.
Loud as it was, it increased as Chuck threw the broken pieces out to the fans, as you would meat to the lions. They loved it, and the emotional intensity of the moment was one of those things rarely seen. After a few words about the strongmen of the past, and some other feats, such as easily bending two spikes together and bending a re-enforced steel bar with his teeth, Chuck retired to prepare for the Mr. Olympia event.
Next was the Mr. World contest, with competition good but not as world-wide as in the past. With the exception of Rick Wayne of England, all the place finishers were from Canada or the West Indies. Speaking of Rick, the contest was clearly between him and Vic Downs of Canada, that amazing bodybuilder who never touched a weight until after 30, and now at 38 looks 25 and power-packed. Downs had gained about 20 pounds from last year, and looked great, but the field was clearly Wayne's. Rick had cut down in bulk, was razor-sharp, and posed so well that he won the Best Poser trophy for the overall competition. Rick was not greatly noted for his posing in the past, but his graceful routine this time was perfection. Rick said it took a lot of practice and hard work, and mentioned some valuable posing tips from Jon Twitchell, former editor of Mr. America. Twichell said Rick should saw his posing trophy in half for him, but we doubt Rick will part with any of that hard-won silver!
Looking well in the competition past the two top men were Elliot Gilchrist, Conrad Laframboise, Denis Gauthier, Chris Forde and big Tony Carroll.
Arm Wrestling followed. Rather difficult for the fans to follow, this entailed some matches and a final winner emerging, Marc Korman of New York. As the past champ didn't bother to show up to defend his crown and there are so many arm wrestlers around, just what good this title is is anybody's guess.
After the awarding of the many trophies, some happy smiles, some bitter disappointments, it was time for the grand finale, the Mr. Olympia competition for $1000 and supremacy in the bodybuilding world. The first two Mr. Olympia contests had been won by Larry Scott, but this year, Larry, who had announced his retirement last September, after winning, did not appear. The more vocal and uncouth fans complained about this and the fact Scott had been scheduled to pose, but Bud Parker, after attempting to fend them off, told them off as they deserved. Scott, whose wife had just had a baby, was not there, but even if he had been, how he would have placed was anybody's guess, and after viewing the Mr. Olympia contestants, the guess was down on the list.
As Wayne and Howorth declined to enter, Dave Draper was first out. Dave, to his everlasting credit and although he had not been able to train properly due to his movie commitments and constant travel, entered and lost, and took his lumps like a man. Joe Weider who has pushed, shoved, elbowed, ballyhooed and promoted Dave along, wanted him to be a "guest poser," but a cop-out is a cop-out no matter how you look at it. Dave was not up to his last year's form, but the bitterness of his first defeat should make him more determined than ever to show up and win next year.
Next out was Chuck Sipes; here I must again stop a mo' and collect my literary breath before going on. The improvement this man has made in the past year is truly amazing. The arms -- over 20 if an inch -- the incomparable forearms, the chest, abs, shoulder, even the tree-trunk thighs and huge calves made your eyes pop. Here was a real man, not a blond-bleached beauty, but surely what bodybuilding is meant to be, to show to others. Even his posing, traditionally Chuck's sore point, was greatly improved. Now only thigh cuts and more back stand in the way of the very top of the bodybuilding heap. Chuck is but one step away, and if he improved in another year as he did in the past, he'll be the very greatest in all ways, without controversy or detraction.
But. . . as great as he was, next out was Sergio Oliva. Sergio had trained an entire year, harder than ever before, had developed deeply-etched abdominals and intercostals like never before, was bigger, better, more amazing and more out-of-this-world than ever. Some may object to him as "freakish" but that's because he's so far ahead of the average bodybuilder. Sergio has the first perfect body structure in all ways for bodybuilding, and his amazing development and graceful posing show it at its best.
Last out was Harold Poole. With amazing symmetry and deep determination, Harold's type of body is admired by many. Poole, great as he is, had not shown the improvement the two others had in the past year, and while many of his loyal fans proclaimed him number one to them, others placed him third behind Sergio and Sipes.
The decision, after much time and additional judging backstage with the three top men together, was for Sergio. An amazing physique but one much greater than last year and one that will have to improve in the next year again to stay ahead of Sipes.
Full credit should go to Sergio Oliva for being the greatest in the world; Chuck Sipes for his amazing body and power and manliness; Don Howorth and Rick Wayne for hard-won, long-overdue, well-deserved win, and most of all, to Bud Parker, for once again setting up and running almost single-handedly, the best shows in bodybuilding.
- A dramatically lighted shot of Sergio Oliva who took the Mr. Olympia title. He continues to improve.
- Another shot of Oliva showing his fabulous physique.
- Don Howorth, after trying many years, finally got into the best condition of his life and won the IFBB Mr. America title.
- Rick Wayne won the Mr. World title over stiff competition.
- Zabo Koszewski, at 45, was one of the top men in the Mr. America event sponsored by the IFBB. He continues to improve with age, a most remarkable man, since he has small bone structure.
- Frank Zane, looking great, did not place as high as had been expected, but has the foundation to become one of the world's greatest, with more improvement.
- Chuck Sipes was tremendously impressive and many thought him to be the best man there. Certainly he will be hard to beat in the future.
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