Muscular Development, Vol 13, No 5, Page 34, September 1976
THE BICENTENNIAL EDITION of the Mr. America contest is now history, and after all the smoke had cleared three young Californians occupied the top spots. Like last year at Culver City, Philadelphia featured a surprise winner in the sensational young Kalman Szkalak, current Mr. California from Gold's Gym in Venice.
There were several notable highlites at this contest, but also a couple low points. Let's get the bad out of the way first so we can concentrate on the good. When compared to the top five from last year's Mr. America, this year's winners were equally outstanding, but the overall depth was a bit shallow. I can think of a minimum of 15 very good American bodybuilders--many of them Easterners--who failed to show. Can it be that they're afraid to risk their carefully nurtured reputations in the big national competitions?
MR. AMERICA CONTESTANTS
Best Arms - Kalman Szkalak
Best Back - Kalman Szkalak
Best Chest - Kalman Szkalak
Best Abdominals - Ron Teufel
Best Legs - Joe Jeans
The Top 10
The second problem is one I still can't believe. There was absolutely no posing light at the public presentation. The contestants were forced to pose under normal house lighting, which showed very little in the way of muscularity. For many of the entrants this was a disaster, and anyone who missed the prejudging under a spot actually missed the contest. To compound this problem, a camerman from some local television station zapped on his floodlight unit every time someone looked good to him, causing a total washout of muscularity. I always like to portray my favorite sport in its best "light," but I'm afraid that the organizing committee blew a fuse on this one!
The light of the contest was provided primarily by the great young Kal Szkalak, overall Mr. America, tall class winner, second in Most Muscular, and winner of Best Arms, Chest and Back. For a 23-year-old competing in only his third contest, this was a sensational triumph!
You can read a lot more about Kal in my interview in this issue, but let me say that he made absolutely sensational improvement in the six weeks between his Mr. Californiaand Mr. America victories. He'd dieted longer and hit his legs harder, so his cuts were improved and his lower body much more in proportion to his upper body. Kal told me he felt about 25 percent improved, and I'd have to agree with him.
I don't think that anyone in the audience after the contest had a doubt that Kal's going to be one of the real greats very soon. His shape is outstanding and his symmetry almost flawless, He has that rare ability to look good from any angle, a quality that he shares with his predecessor Dale Adrian. Combine these qualities with steel hard definition and massive size like 20-inch-plus upper arms and you have something very special.
A smiling second to Szkalak was Dave Johns, runner-up to Kal at the Mr. California contest but who won the current Jr. Mr. America. Dave has superior symmetry, a tribute to his perseverance and to the guidance of his trainer Bill Pearl. Dave once had big arms and little else, but he's gradually built up each lagging bodypart until nothing stands out over any other bodypart at this point. At 220 pounds, Dave was the biggest man in the contest with any kind of physique at all. He was very impressive in his fine display.
Third was Clinton Beyerle, also of Pearl's Gym. Clint was much improved--indeed, he weighed about eight pounds more than last year, but with equal cuts--but he dropped a notch from his finish last year. Many less mature bodybuilders would have stormed off the stage at this result, but Clint took the decision with consummate dignity, a tribute to his sportsmanship. It is really a pity that we can't have more than one AAU Mr. America each year, because Beyerle would make a very good one, as would Johns, Means and the amazing Pat Neve.
At this point, I'd like to go class by class through the individual contestants, giving a bit of biographical information on each. Like last year, I'm indebted to Master of Ceremonies Len Bosland for much of this data. And like last year, Len did a great job of running the public presentation of the show.
Bob DePalma -- Bobwas first up in the 5'7" and under class. He hails from Waterbury, Connecticut. Bob's 26, 5'4" and weighs 170. He works as a hospital supervisor and is single. He had a nicely balanced build, and with a little more work he should be in the money.
Niam Deb -- Niam was at the prejudging, but he didn't show up for the final. He had rather strange definition, with startling arm cuts and fair legs, but a relatively smooth upper body.
Steve Borodinsky -- A finalist in last year's Teenage Mr. America, Steve is from Bridgewater, New Jersey. He is studying political science at Rutgers. Still only 19, Steve's 5'5½"tall and still single. His side chest pose is pretty remarkable, but he needs better definition.
Ron Teufel -- A definite crowd favorite from Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, Teufel was quite a surprise to me. Even though he was last year's Teenage Mr. America and a recentM D coverman, Ron showed me far more muscle than I'd expected. Indeed, Ron was avery close second to Neve in this class, as well as the Best Abdominal winner. Ron is also 19, 5'5½", and still single. He told me he's benched 430 at 185 and has never lost a bench press contest.
Tom Hicks -- Tom's Pat Neve's training partner at the Phoenix, Arizona YMCA. He is 5'6" tall, 168 pounds, 29 years old and works as a machinist. Tom showed a light, but very hard physique. I found him to be a quiet guy, but very easy to get along with.
Pat Neve -- The Phoenix superman was also a recent M D coverman, but he was showing the effects of his tragic auto accident several months ago. Rear-ended at a stop sign, Pat suffered a cracked cervical vertebra and was confined to a neck brace for several weeks. Despite the lost training, Pat had improved his overall symmetry and was a finalist for Best Arms, Chest, Back and Abs. Had it not been for the missed training time from his accident, Pat could very well be wearing the Mr. A crown today. This is especially tragic, since Pat is thinking of retirement now.
Jim Davis -- Jim traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to compete. He's 25 and weighed 180 at 5'7". He manages a health spa and is single. I thought he had great proportions, but Jim could use more size and sharper definition.
Larry Gordon -- Flying all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, Larry made a commendable showing with his hardness and good proportions. He weighed 185 at 5'7" and works as an administrator for the Anchorage parks system. He's 35 years of age and single.
Tom Platz -- Tom was the last contestant up in the short class, and he ended up with the third place trophy in that division. He hails from Troy, Michigan and weighed a massive 200 pounds at 5'7". A 20-year-old, Tom attends college as a physical education major. We talked during the prejudging and he came across as a very dedicated bodybuilder. He has phenomenal thigh development, come by honestly via parallel squats like his recent 27 reps with 405.
Paul Santos -- Paul kicked off the 5'7" to 5'10" class. Traveling from Hartford, Connecticut to compete, Paul was an S&H coverman about this time last year. He weighs 195 at 5'7½" and is 24 years of age. He's single and works as a mechanic. Paul was very massive and looked especially good in his last two poses--a Boyer Coe type pose with arms extended to the sides, then crunching down into a most muscular shot.
Fred Shandor -- a real veteran of national competition at 32, Fred is from nearby Manville, New Jersey. At 5'7½" and 185, Fred showed a very balanced physique with especially good calves. It landed him in third place for the medium division. Fred's a probation officer and married. He told me he'd spent the last month training at Pearl's in Pasadena, and he credited "The Master" with full responsibility for his recent improvements.
Richard Baldwin -- Richard showed the audience a type of physique that even the general public would admire. He has fine proportions, was very trim looking and displayed very good arms and shoulders. He came from Tallahassee, Florida where he works as an assistant manager at a health spa. He's married, 29 years old, 5'8" tall and about 185 pounds of pure muscle.
Bob Gallucci -- A former Collegiate Mr. America and Teenage Mr. America, Bob lives in Windsor, Connecticut. He's a Junior High physical education teacher. Bob's married, 25, 5'9" and 200 pounds. He looked very good, but he was the palest of all the contestants. With a better tan and slightly better cuts, Bob's proportionate and massive physique would certainly have placed higher.
Eddie Love -- From Indianapolis, Indiana, Eddie packed 192 pounds of muscle on his 5'9" frame. He's 23, married and works as an orderly. Eddie has good muscle quality, but his proportions seemed a little off.
Alex McNeil -- Alex traveled from Jackson, Mississippi where he is with the police department. He's married, 35, 5'9" and 200 pounds. Alex had very impressive legs, and when he flexed his calf the audience really sat up and took notice.
Joe Means -- Joe's also a law enforcement officer, but he's from Columbia, South Carolina. At 5'9", Joe had trained down to 185, a drop of 15 pounds from his contest weight last year. He's 25 years of age and single (although his fiancee accompanied him to the contest, so it shouldn't be long before Joe "bites the dust"). Means was extremely cut up and has great body lines. He won Most Muscular, as well as Best Legs. Like last year's leg winner, Dale Adrian, Joe can display his sartorius quite prominently.
Vic Seipke -- At 44, Vic was the oldest competitor, but he gave up little in the way of muscle to the fellows 20 years younger. Vic's from Detroit, Michigan where he works as a firefighter. He's married and at 5'9" weighs 195 pounds. I was impressed with Vic's abdominals. He told me he was using this contest as a warmup for the upcoming Mr. America past 40. Looking over myoId Strength & Healths, I noticed that Vic was a top competitor in the Mr. America contest over 20 years ago!
Dave Johns -- Giant Dave was the final contestant in the medium division. He lives in North Hollywood, California and commutes a half hour each way to Bill Pearl's gym in Pasadena for his workouts. At almost 5'10" in height, Johns weighed a massive 220 and sported 20" arms. Dave's 28 years old, works as a probation officer and is married. He is the current Jr. Mr. America and came through fora big second place in this competition.
Kalman Szkalak -- The over 5'10" class started out with a bang--namely the eventual overall winner in the massive shape of 210 pound, 5'10" Kal Szkalak. Kal's married and works as a mixologist. For more details on this great bodybuilder, see his interview on page 32 in this issue, and his photo on the cover.
Clint Beyerle -- Clint lives in Southgate, a Los Angeles suburb and, like Johns, he also commutes to Pasadena to train under the direction of Bill Pearl. Clint will soon finish his studies for a chiropractic degree and his story was featured in the last MD. He could have placed higher, but one or two of his fellow contestants had spread some very uncomplimentary rumors about how Clint gets his vascularity. I've known him for five years, and he's always had the veins, so rest assured that the rumors are untrue. Also rest assured that Clint deserves the title and is a really great physique.
Doug Nagy -- Nagy is from Pennsylvania and at 24 years of age, he packs 185 pounds on his frame. He's married and works as a typewriter repair technician. With more size, he could be a threat in the future.
James Buckery -- A hometown man, Jim weighed 235 at 6'2" in height. A married 32-yearold, he works as a longshoreman. He impressed me as having a wealth of raw potential, as of yet not developed.
Dusty Caldwell -- Dusty ended up in third for this height class, but it was largely because of the undistinguished nature of the tall competitors past the first two places. Dusty is in the Air Force and stationed at McGuire AFB, New Jersey. He works as a technician/mathematician. At 28 years of age he carries 212 pounds on a 6'3" frame. He's single.
Willie Robinson -- From Los Angeles, Willie manages a racetrack. He weighed 270 pounds at 6'6" in height. He's 33 and married. Willie appeared relatively muscle-less and smooth. In the opinion of many, he should never have been allowed to compete, as his physique was below the standard usually expected from a Mr. America contestant.
Best Abdominals finalists were Ron Teufel, Joe Means and Pat Neve. All were quite outstanding, but Teufel took the award. He was extremely well developed in the midsection, with very deep ab development and terrific intercostals. Val Vasilef presented the trophy.
Finalists for Best Arms were Kal Szkalak, Dave Johns and Pat Neve, all of whom possessed superior arm development. In the end, Kal's size and balance won out. His arms measured slightly over 20 inches of muscle on my tape a month before the contest. Bob Hoffman presented the trophy and shook each contestant's hand enthusiastically.
When Best Back finalists were called out, the three from Best Arms remained. Val Vasilef presented the gold again to Kal Szkalak. Actually this subdivision was probably the tightest of all, with each of the three contestants looking extremely good.
Szkalak, Johns and Neve remained out for Best Chest. By the time this happened, everyone had just about concluded that these three had the best upper bodies in the contest. Again the massive Kal Szkalak received the trophy, this time from Jim Morris, a former Mr. America who was no stranger to that particular subdivision.
Best Legs finalists turned out to be Joe Means, Clint Beyerle and Tom Platz. Chris Dickerson, whom many consider to have the greatest legs, presented the award to Joe Means. And Joe had real leg cuts, as well as good proportions.
Most Muscular Man had five place winners. The fifth man was Dave Johns with his terrific size, while fourth was Clint Beyerle with his outstanding vascularity. Pat Neve settled in third and Szkalak in second. Finally an elated Joe Means was presented the first place award by Jim Morris.
Short Class winners were Neve first, Teufel second and Tom Platz third. This was a very close contest for first and second. Mrs. Evelyn Mayor, wife of the overall show organizer Dave Mayor, presented this trophy.
In the medium height class, Dave Johns was a clear winner. Means was second, and the well-proportioned Fred Shandor was third. Dave Mayor passed out the awards to these three fine athletes.
Kal Szkalak won out over Clint Beyerle in the tall class and Dusty Caldwell was third. Kal was really quite overpowering with his size, cuts and body lines.
Huge trophies were awarded to the first three winners. Earl Williams, meet. administrator, gave the third place trophy to Clint Beyerle. Second place was awarded by Ted Jordon, Deputy Commissioner from Philadelphia Recreation Department, to a very happy Dave Johns. And finally the big moment had come. First place--a huge trophy--was awarded during thunderous applause by Robert Crawford, Recreation Director for Philadelphia, to Kal Szkalak. Kal was justifiably elated. He and his wife Joan embraced for long seconds after he was given his award and before he faced the public.
Judges and Personalities
Before wrapping up this report, I'd like to mention the judges who labored for nearly eight hours to separate the contestants. National Physique Chairman Ralph Countryman of Oakland, California picked nine judges and ably directed the contest. The judges were Dr. Michael Walczak from Los Angeles, Tony Nicolini from New Jersey, head judge Peary Rader from Nebraska, Jerome Weiss from Ohio, Jim Mannion from Pennsylvania, Val Vasilef from New Jersey, Chris Dickerson from New York, Tim Neller from Oklahoma and Tom Ciola from the Adirondak Association of the AAU. Overall this was a great group, and I heard very few complaints about the final placings.
Among the many celebrities I met were John Grimek, Mr. America in 1940 and 1941; Jim Park, Mr. America in 1951; Dan Lurie, America's Most Muscular Man in 1942 and 1943; Jim Morris, a recent Mr. America; Val Vasilef, Mr. America in the mid-1960's,and Mr. America-Mr. Universe Chris Dickerson.
Next year's Mr. America contest has tentatively been awarded to Gold's Gym of Venice and it will be held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. We all had a great time in Philly. Maybe we'll see you next year! MD
- Kalman Szkalak was the man who took the Mr America title this year.
- Some of the top physique men vying for the Mr. A crown. From left: Beyerle, Szkalak, Johns, Means and Baldwin.
- The top contestants give the judges and specators an added muscle display. From left: Kalman Szkalak, Clint Beyerle, Dave Johns, Fred Shandor, Pat Neve and Tom Platz.
- Mr. America Kal Szkalak (right) and runner-up Dave Johns give the judges another look. Other top contestants watch the proceedings from the background.
- The finalists in the Best Arms competition line up. The category was won by the relative newcomer, Kalman Szkalak, second from right.
- Dave Johns, appearing very husky at 220, displays a rugged back. Johns placed high in all subdivisions.
- Pat Neve looked amazingly huge and muscualr for his size. He took 5th in the overall competition and placed 3rd in the Most Muscular contest.
- Another man who created a sensational impact was Joe Means, whose highly defined muscles won for him the Most Muscular Man title, as well as the trophy for Best Legs.
- Bob Gallucci was back in competition again, looking as broad as ever and sporting a wider V-shape than anyone else.
- Top-10: Kalman Szkalak - 1st; Dave Johns - 2nd; Clint Beyerle - 3rd; Joe Means - 4th; Pat Neve - 5th; Ron Teufel - 6th; Fred Shandor - 7th; Tom Platz - 8th; Rich Baldwin - 9th; Lawrence Gordon - 10th;
- The competition for the Best Abdominals. Ron Teufel (far right) won this award.
- Another shot of the top contestants giving the judges another "look-see" so they could make their choice.
- Joe Means and Dave Johns showing off their leg development. Means nosed out Johns for this award by sheer muscularity.
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