Strength & Health, Page 34, October 1965
MY STORY begins in October of 1960. I was a sophomore in high school and had just finished our 1960 football season when I found out that our coach, Charles Pruitt of Lakeview High School in Rossvill, Georgia, was trying to get some of the football players to begin working out with weights during the off season. I asked him about this trainingprogram and he told me of the benefits in sports I would receive. This encouraged me to want to gain weight and try to improve myself for the upcoming year. Immediately after school that afternoon I went over to the Colonial Health Studios in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and talked to Dave Collier, who is the manager, and that night I went home and talked to my Dad. At first he was reluctant to give me the money, but I told him I would work hard and try to pay the money back in the summer. He finally gave in and I started working out about a week later.
I trained hard the remainder of that year and went back to school the next fall weighting 155 pounds. This was a gain of 15 pounds. However, just as important, both my speed and power had increased tremendously. That season cazme to an end and I started my weight training again. I went back to school the next year, my senior year, weighing 165 and again my speed and power had increased appreciably.
During the fifth game of my senior year, I broke my right leg and was unable to play the rest of the regular season. Trying to stay in shape, I worked out while the cast was still on my leg. After the cast was removed I started to train harder than ever and by the time of the annual County-City All Star game I had gained up to 195 pounds. Prior to this game I had trained every other day and ran on the days between my weight training days. I went into this game not knowing how I could handle the weight I had gained over the past nine months, but to my surprise my speed had increased more than I ever thought possible. I was able to gain 95 yards on one run and I had several runs of 25 to 35 yards, so I figured that the past nine months of weight training had helped me more than anything I had previously done. I had scholarship offers due to my performance in this game and I accepted an offer from Georgia Tech. They sent me to a Military School in South Georgia for post-graduate work, but I was forced to quit the Military School after football season.
I started working out again in November of 1962 and the following summer (July, 1963) I entered the Teen-age Mr. America contest which I won. This inspired me to try and reach the top. I trained hard during 1964 with the hopes of winning the 1964 Junior Mr. America title. However, I placed sixth. I just wasn't good enough. Not being satisfied with my showing, I decided to change my workout routine somewhat, which I will describe in future articles. I was more determined than ever to reach the top and to make a better showing in the 1965 Juniro Mr. America contest. I gained up to 220 and entered the 1965 Junior Mr. A contest and this time I did make a better showing -- I was fortunate enough to win.
After winning the Junior title I had a decision to make -- whether or not to go to Los Angeles for the Mr. America contest. I decided that I might as well go, but for experience sake more than any other reason. When I got to Los Angeles and saw my copmetition I said to myself, "I don't know how in the world I can expect to even place, much less win." But like they say, everything works out for the best, and, of course, now I am glad that I made the decision to go.
When they started calling out the winners, I was sitting backstage talking with one of the contestants and the boy that was in charge of the contestants told me to get my robe off and get ready to go out. I asked him why and he said, "Don't ask questions, just get your robe off and get ready to go out." When they called out my name as the winner, it felt like my blood just stopped running through my veins. Ever since I started working out with weights I had dreamed of winning the Mr. America title, but I never thought it could happen so soon. I am thankful for winning, but I am more thankful for the warm congratulations I received from so many wonderful people.
- Far left: Jerry Daniels poses with a pretty girl and the huge trophy he received for winnign the Mr. America title. Lower left: Jerry at age 16 and 155 pounds bodyweight. Center left: Jerry at age 17, 160 pounds, and about six inches less muscle on his arm than at present. Top left:Starting to shape up at age 18.
If you find these articles interesting and useful, please