IronMan, Vol 14, No 2, Page 7, September 1954

The 1954 Mr. America Contest

by George Bruce

THE Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California, was a riotous place at about 12 o'clock midnight on June 26, 1954, as Richard Dubois, a handsome, smiling young sun-tanned giant of a man stood on the stage to receive his trophy as Mr. America 1954, which was emblematic of his being the best proportioned and best developed man in America.

The scene climaxed five long years of work and training such as the average individual could not conceive.

The Mr. America contest was held in conjunction with the Senior National Weightlifting Championships June 25th and 26th at Los Angeles, California, sanctioned by the Southern Pacific Association of the AAU and sponsored by the Southern California Weightlifting Association, Inc. It was fitting and proper that the Greek Theatre, a structure of Greek Doric architecture called America's most beautiful outdoor theatre, should be the scene of a contest to pick the best from among contestants whose strength and overall muscularity and beauty of body rival and surpass those of ancient Greece.

The theatre has a capacity of 4,419 persons. It is surrounded by trees and foliage, has a stage 110 feet wide and 60 feet deep. The amphitheatre extends up the side of a canyon 241 feet from the stage.

In the contest were 27 of the top physique men in the country including Gene Bohaty, Mr. Illinois and 1954 Mr. Jr. America; Malcolm Brenner, also a former Jr. Mr. America; Irwin Koszewski, Mr. California; George Paine, Mr. Eastern America; Bert Elliott, Mr. Ironman; Monte Wolford, Mr. Southwest America; Victor Nicoletti, Mr. Western America, etc.

Ten finalists were selected and after each had posed again amidst the bedlam of a partisan capacity crowd, the winning of the first four places was announced: 1st, Richard DuBois; 2nd Gene Bohaty; 3rd, Irvin Koszewski; 4th, George Paine.

The Mr. America subdivisions were held the night before in conjunction with the 181, 198 and heavyweight division lifting. Awards were: Best Arms, Bud Counts; Best Back, Malcolm Brenner; Best Chest, Dom Juliano; Best Legs, Ludwig Shusterich; Best Abdominals, Irvin Koszewski; Most Muscular, George Paine.

George Paine, who won the Most Muscular subdivision, has probably the greatest definition of any man alive today.

The trophies for the subdivisions were donated by various gyms in the Southern California area. They were presented to the winners by Mrs. David A. Matlin and Barbara Thomason, a George Bruce Beauty who presided as Queen of the Meet.

A large beautiful trophy called the Tony Terlazzo Perpetual Trophy was on display. This trophy will be placed in the Helms Hall of Fame and each year the name of the outstanding lifter and the Mr. America will be placed on this trophy.

The highlight of the Meet was a reception held in honor of all officials and contestants at Helms Hall in Los Angeles on Thursday night, June 24th. On Sunday morning, June 27th at the Carolina Pines Restaurant in Los Angeles a farewell breakfast was held for officials and contestants of the Meet. After a fine breakfast and a few short speeches the Meet was declared officially closed.

The untiring efforts of David A. Matlin and his Organization and Contest Committee resulted in an efficiently organized and smoothly run Meet. The Meet received the greatest publicity of any national event, and was presented before a sell-out crowd each night.

Your author greatly enjoyed being backstage mingling with the contestants, talking with them and hearing them express their hopes and fears as to how they would place in the contest and whether or not they would win. Anyone of the finalists could have been named Mr. America without too much dissention from the audience.

Mr. America Finals

1DuBois, Richard 68 1/2
2Bohaty, Gene 64
3Koszewski, Irvin 63
4Paine, George 60 1/2
5Shusterich, Ludwig 60
6Johnson, Harry 58
7Brenner, Malcolm 57 1/2
8Hargitay, Mickey 55 1/2
9Nelson, Dennis 55
10Wolford, Monte54

Other entrants were: Jeri Zuljivech, Millard Williamson, Felix Zabensky, Ed Holovchik, Ronald Lacy, William Wright, Ralph Mansfield, Joseph Baratta, Earl Clark, Bert Elliott, Bud Counts, Jerry Ross, Victor Nicholette, Dom Juliano, Eddie Sylvester, Roger Servin.

Subdivision Finals
Best Arms1st Bud Counts
2nd George Paine
3rd Malcolm Brenner.
Best Legs1st Ludwig Shusterich
2nd Mickey Hargitay
3rd George Paine
Best Back1st Malcolm Brenner
2nd Ludwig Shusterich
3rd Dom Juliano
Best Abdominals1st Irvin Koszewski
2nd George Paine
3rd Harry Johnson
Best Chest1st Dom Juliano
2nd Richard DuBois
3rd Harry Johnson
Most Muscular1st George Paine
2nd Irvin Koszewski
3rd Ludwig Shusterich


- At the top of opposite page we see the place winners in the Mr. America contest, left to right: HARRY JOHNSON, tied for 5th, GENE BOHATY, 2nd; DUBOIS, 1st; KOSZEWSKI, 3rd; SHUSTERICH, tied for 5th. Paine who won 4th place is not in the photo. At lower left we see DUBOIS, TONY TERLAZZO, who donated the perpetual trophy shown, and SCHEMANSKY. DuBois and Schemansky will be the first men to have their names placed on this trophy to be enshrined in Helms Hall. Each year the best lifter (by vote of officials) and the Mr. America will have their names placed on this trophy. On the right is DOM JULIANO, who won best chest. On the right of this column is BUD COUNTS who won best arms. His arms certainly look huge. All photos of Nationals by Iron Man Photographer, Hal Stephens. Dick DuBois has been working very hard for the past five years towards this title and was about the happiest man you ever saw. It is his ambition to make good in the acting profession and this title should certainly help him along. He has already appeared in a movie and according to the newspapers will appear with Mae West in a new show to open soon in Las Vegas. Dick is tall and handsome and has a very well proportioned physique. He has one of the finest chests we have seen anywhere. We believe he has a great future in his chosen profession. We wish him the best of luck.

- Photo above shows KOSZEWSKI who is never out of shape. He is one physique contestant who always keeps himself ready for a contest and makes no special efforts to get in condition for big or small events; GEORGE PAINE who certainly has one of the outstanding physiques of all time. George is a very nice fellow with a pleasing and unassuming personality. We wonder if his poor calves are the reason for his not winning a top title. Of course such calves are characteristic of his race and there is nothing he can do about it. His calves are well developed but too high on the lower leg. His general development, proportion and definition are unequalled. On the right is LUD SHUSTERICH who had done amazing things with his physique. Those who knew him as a fat boy three months ago, could not believe their eyes for he had as much definition as any man there. His physique is amazing.

- SHUSTERICH shows his superb back, one of the finest we have seen, with outstanding development and definition. Yon may wonder why Lud didn't place higher and, frankly, we do too. Lud is short, being 5'7" tall, and this may be one reason. Then too, his proportions are not as good as they might be, for he has long arms and a rather short waist. Lud won best legs title. Below are the men who lined up for the best arms event: EARL CLARK, KOSZEWSKI, BARATTA, BUD COUNTS, BRENNER and ED SYLVESTER. Brenner looked good this year and had more definition than last year but still not as much as he had in New York City, or so we thought.

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