Muscle Builder, Vol 13, Num 1, Page 75, December 1971
One week before the 1971 IFBB Mr. America contest the phone rang. A weary Reg Lewis was on the other end of the line.
"Say, Dick," he said, "can you make it to a meeting on judging tonight?"
"A meeting on judging?"
"Yes, Lud Shusterich wants to discuss the judging for the Mr. America contest."
I told him I would be there and explained that I was sorry that I couldn't be of more help than I had been. If anything had ever been a one man show this was it. Reg had taken the burden of the entire production on his shoulders. While they are undoubtedly one of the best developed pairs of shoulders in bodybuilding, what they were being asked to carry would have been staggering even to the mighty Atlas. Yet, here we were one week before the contest with everything running smoothly.
After the judging conference was over I felt sure that we would have one of the most honestly judged contests in history - at least as fair as the mind of man could make it. how all that was left was the waiting.
1971 IFBB MR. AMERICA
The program had been printed and the tickets were in the box office. The barrel was loaded and ready to fire.
A few days before the show I went to the theatre where it was being held. Here in the heart of Hollywood stood an elegant relic from the past. In the 30's and 40's it was known as Earl Carroll's and was one of the in places to go during those glamour days of the movies. The greatest stars of the silver screen had planted their tootsies on the stairs that led to the mezzanine. The garish golden statues of the nude women in the lobby were still silently gazing on a parade of 40 years of history in Hollywood. They had seen this grand nightclub become a home for many of the old radio programs of the 40's. Then it became the stylish Moulin Rouge. Then for a while the golden ladies looked upon nothing as it sat for years as an anachronism in the midst of a modern building boom around Sunset and Vine.
Recently it played host to the West Coast version of the musical "Hair". For that the building was splashed with wild psychedelic colors like a carnival elephant. Now it was our turn. The building was painted a more conservative single tone but the golden ladies in the lobby remained the same. If their mouths could only speak of all the things their golden eyes were able to see.
I got to Reg's place early on the morning of the contest. He wanted me to help take some of the trophies to the theater. Looking at all that shiny metal made me realize that they were the best I had ever seen. These weren't catalog trophies - they were all especially made for this contest. Everything was traveling first class. We arrived at the theater before 10:00 A.M. and already some of the contestants were beginning to arrive. It seems that every contest brings out some new faces as well as it brings back some of the older and more familiar ones. We had a grand reunion in the lobby as the contestants eyed one another in the old "size up" bit. Soon Joe and Ben Weider arrived and quickly Ben and I were in a corner discussing IFBB business.
"let's get going," said Joe. He was eager for the prejudging to begin. No greater fan exists.
Before the judging began Ben got the judges together and spoke to use about future IFBB plans. Then it was Lud Shusterich's turn.
As the international chairman of the IFBB Judges Committee, he had the tough job of making sure the judging was carried out in the proper manner. No longer would the criteria for Mr. America be 25 inch arms alone. he was to have shape, symmetry, proportions, definition, separation and size. It was a pretty big order, but it had to be for the winner of the country's most important title.
To carry the burden of the judging were Bill Pearl, Larry Scott, Zabo Koszewski, Ernie Phillips, Eddie Sylvestre, Russ Warner, Seymour Koening, Arnold Schwarzenegger and myself. All of us were to be separated by several seats and none were allowed to converse. After the judging was over we were to hand our ballots to Lud Shusterich to be counted. As I write this now he is the only man I now of who knows how each of us voted.
The prejudging began with each of the contestants coming on stage and just standing facing to the front then to the side and finally to the rear. This was to be done without posing and the hands at the sides. That is as close as a semi-spread lats would let the hands go. This was followed by the posing done under the same conditions as the audience would see them that night. We were then able to call back anyone we wished to see again - either alone or in combinations. Nothing was left to chance. It was too important to those competing and to those shelling out the bread to see this once a year musculanza.
Because of the care taken in the balloting the judging ran overtime. We started at a little after 11:30 in the morning and weren't through till almost 3:00 in the afternoon. now it was time for the girls to rehearse. Soon it would be the witching hour.
After going home to freshen up and get dressed in my cloak and dagger I went back to the theater. It was early evening but already people were arriving by the busload. The lines waiting to get in made it obvious that a lot of people expected a lot of show. I was hoping that we had the muscle to give it to them. The hour before the show was spent talking with old friends and making new ones as we mingled in the lobby and talked of biceps and pec and delts.
The music of our National Anthem brought everyone to their feet and the show was under way. As the Life World President of the IFBB Ben Weider give some opening remarks which were well received. Formal presentations of the IFBB Certificate of Merit were then made to Eddie Sylvestre and Reg Lewis. This is the IFBB's highest award and you couldn't find two more deserving men. Reg added a nice touch by bringing his beautiful wife Sheri on stage to receive the award with him. he expressed the fact that his former Miss Americana wife deserved the award as much as he did because of all her years of devoted service to bodybuilding. That's nice.
The show began with an exciting roller skating act called the Di Jon's. The next order of business was a strength contest. Originally it was to be a handicap power match between the giant Jim Williams and Franco Columbu. Williams was unable to compete, however, which left Franco alone. David Dupre, himself a power lift champion consented to lift against Franco to give him some pushing. Franco weighted 176 lbs. of muscle and decided he would try to lift as much as he could in the bench press and the deadlift.
After some excellent lifts Dupre moved aside for the steamroller power of the miniature juggernaut. The AAU official Bob Hise was the MC for this portion of the program and you could see his amazement as the Sardinian Samson pushed up a 455 lb. bench press.
The best, however, was yet to come. The deadlift is one of Franco's best lifts and he set out to show everyone why. After toying with the lighter weights he loaded the bar with 700 lbs!! That's an incredible 40 or more pounds over the listed record.
Here was a man, a bodybuilder, who was going to lift more in a lift that was to him merely an exercise for the low back muscles, than any man in recorded history. The audience grew silent and leaned forward. Then the battle was on. From the beginning it was obvious that no power on earth, much less a mere 700 lbs. would keep this superman from standing erect with this weight.
The audience went wild as he completed the lift. It wasn't "official" in the AAU sense because it wasn't done with the full complement of judges and in conjunction with all the power lifts. But be assured that on this night "official" or not, Franco Columbu mad strength history with a colossal display of power. (A complete pictorial sequence of this historic lift will appear in the next issue.)
By this time the audience was limp. Already they had given a standing ovation and the show had hardly begun. Now it was the girl's turn. What a delight to watch those bodybuilding girls strut around the stage. The Miss Americana is not like the usual stiff display of ice-filled lasses. These girls present a display that must be seen. I mean - how can you describe a bouncing 40" of you know what with mere words.
"Ah, yes. What pretty little fillies," as W.C. Fields would say.
Now it was time for the Mr. America contest. it was different than the morning. The audience and the music make the whole thing even more exciting. What an array of contestants! Each man was great in his own way. The cheers well up as Boyer Coe hit his fabulous arm shots. Art Peacock, Chuck Fautz and Pete Caputo looked better than ever. Don Peters was the picture of masculine perfection. Chuck Collras couldn't have had more muscle if he had his skin stripped off his body. On they came as the crowd roared their approval over the swelling music. Ken Waller almost had them in the aisles while Ed Corney, in his first IFBB contest, almost carried them away.
Later Reg had some of the contestants pose together at the same time. When the irrepressible Chuck Collras saw that he was paired with Boyer Coe, he decided to match him pose for pose. The results were almost as unbelievable as they were fun.
After the excitement of the contest, Franco Columbu gave a posing routine that proved he was not only one of the strongest men in the world but one of the most muscular - regardless of size.
At last came the moment that almost everyone had been waiting for.
"And now," said Reg, "one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time - Arnold Schwarzenegger!"
The cheers were deafening. The big man was here. But Arnold wasn't ready yet. I've come to the conclusion that most of the audience loves the anticipation of seeing one of their favorites almost as much as actually seeing him. When he finally did stride out to the posing platform, it was worth the wait. He never looked better. The place went wild. As Arnold walked off Reg yelled at me.
"See if Arnold and Franco will pose together."
After a small conference they walked out together and gave a dual posing routine that gave you goose flesh. Two of the greatest bodybuilders in the world posing in an artistic routine to the great music. It was almost like an adagio.
The only thing that could follow this was the results which are as follows: (see box)
The contest was over. Another fabulous IFBB night in the history of bodybuilding had come to a close. Another night in this Hollywood landmark had ended. As I walked into the lobby I thought for a moment I saw one of those golden ladies wink. Must have been that last can of Super Pro 101 I had.
- There's always been such a see-saw rivalry between Boyer Coe and Ken Waller, one was never sure which would be top dog today. Of course with Coe's recent string of victories he seemed the inevitable winner, but Ken's last few weeks of blastoff Weider advanced training turned the tables and he is our new IFBB Mr. America.
- Ken shows up to impressive advantage in this group lineup. His bigness and broadness placed him dramatically ahead of even such greats as Don Peters, just behind Ken.
- What the eye first notes about Boyer Coe's physique is the amazing volume of his muscles. He give the impression that by doing just a couple more sets he could blast them into even more astonishing size!
- This family has a monopoly on the muscles 'n beauty market! Art Peacock and his beautiful wife Jill. She's a long-stemmed beauty and Art has muscles honed to perfection.
- Chuck Collras has amassed a mountain of contest trophies, but here you can easily see his mind is on trophies of a far different kind. You might say that Chuck's all set to muscle up and make out!
- A dark horse! Little had been heard of Ed Corney but he walked off with the third-place trophy in the Mr. America event! Joe Weider, his proud trainer, was delighted to present Ed with this spectacular award.
- A quartet of champions. (Rear) Don Peters, Ken Waller, and Ed Corney. In the front: Peter Caputo.
- Nothing is left to chance in judging IFBB contest. Here president Ben Weider gives specific judging instructions to (from the left) Ernie Phillips, Bill Pearl, Russ Warner, Eddie Silvestre, Seymour Koenig, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zabo Koszewski, and behind him - Larry Scott.
- A dual study in Herculean power . . . the mighty physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu. For more photographs of this amazing duo - posing together - see next month's Muscle Builder/Power.
- "We're proud to present these trophies to such deserving winners!" say Joe Weider, Trainer of Champions, and his brother Ben - IFBB Life President. "And we're proud to win them!" reply Ken Waller, the new Mr. America, and Michele Matisse - Miss Americana.
- Reg Lewis, the contest director, and his wife Sherie are flanked by Mr. America and Miss Americana.
If you find these articles interesting and useful, please