Muscular Development, Vol 5, No 9, Page 32, September 1968

Highlights of the MR. AMERICA CONTEST

by Don Lehan and MD Staff

ANOTHER FABULOUS National Championships and Mr. America contest, sponsored by the York Barbell Club, has come and gone. Although this was the first time that hundreds of spectators had to be turned away because there were no more available seats, even the heat which usually plagues York every time a big championship is held here did not discourage the vast throngs.

The auditorium was filled to overflowing. Even the aisles and foyer were packed to capacity. Those lucky enough to get in were treated to a multi-record breaking performance something they'll never forget. The fact that 31 American, National and World records were broken and rebroken attests to the caliber of the lifting that took place, and this in spite of the great humidity that prevailed during the two day festivities. Yet very few if any people left during the contest. They remained in their seats sweltering but intrigued by the sterling performance.

The Mr. America contest was another great highlight of this two-day program. Of course most of the top AAU physique champions competed. The posing lights for this event were fabulous, and most of the contestants showed more muscle than they ever showed before. Even when the contestants lined up under the ordinary stage lights they all looked muscularly impressive. Judging such a caliber of men is not easy and some differences of opinion are apt to result.

After the line-up the contestants retired backstage and then came out and posed individually. The large crowd responded with hearty applause after each and every pose. This proved that the spectators enjoyed this fine performance and demonstrated keen interest by their applause.

The proceedings were somewhat delayed on the second day due to the proclamation by President Johnson to have Sunday as a day of mourning. Though things were delayed they could not be cancelled. Too many lifters and physique champions had traveled long distances and looked forward to this big event that only comes once a year. . . not to mention the spectators that came from every part of the country. Thus we were confronted with this decision and decided "the show must go on" even if we had to delay it.

Baseball games are played every day during the season so cancelling a game isn't much of a problem. But the Mr. America and National Championships come but once a year and cancelling them would deprive many contestants of an opportunity to compete. Then all the sweat, suffering and toil that is part of the preparation would go for nought. Postponing them for a week or two would also present problems, which includes the rental of an auditorium and whether the lifters and Mr. America contestants could come back. But we paid our respects by delaying the performance and then started things rolling . . . everyone seemed happy.

Boyer CoeLafayette, La.73½
Chris DickersonLong Island, N.Y.73
Kenneth WallerJeffersonville, Ind.69½
Charles CollrasLos Angeles, Calif.66½
Bill St. JohnYork, Pa.66
Gilbert HansenWaterloo, Iowa66
Will WhitakerChattanooga, Tenn.65½
Craig WhiteheadTampa, Fla.62½
James MorrisNew York, N.Y.61½
Tommy JohnsonColumbus, Ohio60
Curt HaywoodColumbus, Ohio59
Gene KuczinskiBaltimore, Md.58½
Robert MooreNashville, Tenn.55½
Ken CovingtonPhiladelphia, Pa.54
Daniel MilesSouthgate, Mich.53½
William GrantMorristown, N.J.51½
James HandleyBaltimore, Md.51½
Dennis YaklichAvindale, Colo.51
Lawrence GordonIowa City, Iowa51
William CollinsWashington, D.C.50½
Melvin MerriweatherMichigan City, Ind.48
David UpsonPhiladelphia, Pa.47½
Vince AnelloCleveland, Ohio46½
Pearson HinkleYork, Pa.45
Oscar HudsonButler, Ohio42
Lou KushnerNorristown, Pa.38

1st PlaceBoyer Coe
2nd PlaceCharles Collras
3rd PlaceChris Dickerson
4th PlaceKen Covington
5th PlaceGilbert Hansen

Best ArmsBoyer Coe
Best ChestChris Dickerson
Best AbdominalsCharles Collras
Best BackBoyer Coe
Best LegsBoyer Coe

The physique contest started around 9 P.M. the scheduled time. The top five who recently placed in the Jr. Mr. America contest in Milwaukee were on hand. These were Jim Haislop 1st, Boyer Coe 2nd, Chris Dickerson 3rd, Gilbert Hansen 4th, Robert Moore 5th, plus about two dozen more qualified to compete for this important title.

After all the men posed individually, the subdivisions were announced and the winners were presented their awards. The man receiving the most trophies was Boyer Coe . . . who should have gotten another title, Mr. Trophies. . . because he got so many. He got one for Best Arms, Best Legs and Best Back. Chris Dickerson took Best Chest, and Chuck Collras won Best Abdominals.

Though each man was well-deserving of the honor bestowed on him, some wondered why the Best Legs award went to Coe instead of Dickerson who's been winning this award in the past. And why Dickerson got the Best Chest trophy when Boyer Coe has been winning that award. Many of the regular spectators wondered whether it was an error because of the switch. . . but it wasn't. The judges felt each man merited the award they gave him.

Though Boyer Coe had a massive back, a few thought that either Will Whitaker or Bill St. John should have gotten this trophy. Certainly the back display of St. John was not only impressive but showed sharper and greater muscularity than any of the others; and the terrific spread of Whitaker's back deserved some notice. However, none could top the massive arm development of Coe, though Ken Waller was a close second.

In the Most Muscular Man Contest St. John did not place, although he showed more muscular delineation than any other contestant. All this, however, is only a spectator's point of view, and it must be mentioned here that long before the men appear on stage the awards have been decided during the prejudging. This is the purpose of the prejudging. It is done backstage without the benefits of lights, and this is where so many of these men "lose", because they look well only under favorable conditions. The men appear several times before the judges and the judges are able to study and form an honest opinion, much better than the audience who sees them but once or twice and then under the most favorable conditions. Thus, some dissension is apt to occur occasionally but physique judges have rarely been wrong and eventually everyone agrees that the man the judges pick was the right and logical choice.

By now everyone awaited the winners. The announcer called Chuck Collras out for 5th place. Next came Ken Waller for 4th. Then Chris Dickerson was announced for 3rd, and then Boyer Coe for a close 2nd. Just about everyone knew who the winner would be as the announcer Rudy Sablo said, and now we give you Mr. America for 1968, JIM HAISLOP, and out came the handsome, blond adonis with a wider V-shape than any Mr. America ever showed. Flashbulbs flashed everywhere for some time as the tired contestants picked up their trophies and retired to the shower.

So ended another Mr. America contest and another year for some of the contestants to work harder and try again. And no matter who wins the people enjoy the show and they look forward to the next one with always the same question in mind: Who Will Win It Next Year?

Well, if you stick around you'll find out . . . we'll see you there!


- Part of a group line-up. Left to right: Curt Haywood, Chris Dickerson, Jim Haislop, Chuck Collras, Dave Upson, and Boyer Coe.

- Another group of contestants turned to give the judges and the audience a view of their backs. All photos in this series by Fritshe and Bachtell.

- Two leading Mr. America conteders: Will Whitaker (left) and Boyer Coe. Boyer won most tropies of the meet.

- Contestants waiting to be interviewed by the judges

- Judges interogating onf of the Mr. America contenders.

- WINNERS OF THE 1968 MR. AMERICA CONTEST Left to right: Ken Waller 4th, Jeffersonville, Indiana, Boyer Coe 2nd, Lafayette, La. JIM HAISLOP, MR. AMERICA, Chris Dickerson 3rd, Long Island, N.Y., Chuck Collras 5th, Los Angeles, Calif.

- MOST MUSCULAR MAN WINNERS Left to right: Ken Covington 4th, Philadelphia, Pa., Chuck Collras 2nd, Los Angeles, Calif., BOYER COE, MOST MUSCULAR MAN, Chris Dickerson 3rd, Long Island, N.Y., Gilber Hansen 5th, Waterloo, Iowa.

- One selection of the auditorium during the afternoon's lifting. That evening the place was jammed to overflowing! Below: Boyer Coe, Chuck Collras and Jim Haislop ose during the prejudging.

- (Below) some of the contestants vying for the Best Arms award.

- The panel of judges that made all the decisions, left to right: Charles Cschwind (barely visible), Joe Paul, Colon McMath, Bob Bendel, Len Bosland, Ralph Countryman and Don Haley. Bob Crist, not in picture, is the chairman.

- Three views that shows contestants performing during the prejudging which took place early that afternoon.

If you find these articles interesting and useful, please