IronMan, Vol 22, No 6, Page 29, August 1963
EACH year it seems the physiques entered in the Mr. America get better and better but I'm reluctant to emphasize this as it is reflection on past winners and contestants but certainly those lined up for the judges' study and approval were as good as any we have ever seen on any stage before.
On Saturday morning the judges interviewed the entries to determine their athletic points and most of them had satisfactory proof of their athletic accomplishments. Unlike the Junior Mr. America this year, where all the men but two had the full five athletic points, only 19 out of the 40 men entered had the full five points for athletic ability, with many of the men getting the minimum of 2 points. This is not a very good comparison and leads one to wonder why the Jr. Mr. America entrants were all outstanding athletes while the entries in the Mr. America were so uniformly poor in this respect. This is an unfortunate situation and is the prime reason that athletic points are required in the Mr. America contest-to assure that a man will be an athlete as well as look like one.
The judges had already had a preview of the men as they posed in the Most Muscular Man contest on Friday night and the men came out for their interview stripped. The judges therefore did their prejudging at this time and retired afterwards to total up their points.
There was considerable discussion about various aspects of judging and eligibility of various kinds, and the question of morality and character came up. After a considerable period of discussion the judges voted 5 to 2 that even if a man's past was not all that could be desired, if he had shown satisfactory evidence that he had corrected his habits and mended his ways, he should be given credit for this and he would be voted on equal terms with the others. This will undoubtedly come up again as it has been a bone of contention for years and there are arguments for both sides.
As usual there were many men who were tops and anyone of them would have made a very good Mr. America.
The final choice of Vern Weaver brought cheers from his supporters, but jeers from the supporters of some of the other athletes, and same of the other men themselves seemed very unhappy about the decision. The judges had a very difficult decision to make and I believe they did what they believed was right whether or not anyone agreed with them.
We hope to give you more details on the different men in future issues, as well as stories on many of them, along with more photos, but our space is limited this issue.
Vern Weaver seemed greatly improved over last year, heavier and bulkier, with excellent definition and shape. He is undoubtedly one of the best built men in the world today. He is 26, weighed 205, and has huge arms and shoulders. He has made a 900 total in the Olympics and at present works as a salesman for a Health Club in Harrisburg. He came in third in the Most Muscular contest.
Harold Poole had an amazing physique and there was no doubt in most peoples minds that he would win the "Most Muscular." He looked unbelievable, with great size, excellent shape, and terrific definition, with every fiber seeming to stick out. I felt that Harold might win the Mr. America title this year, for his physique was greatly improved and his speech defect was likewise improved when I talked to him before the contest. We hope he will enter the Mr. Universe contest, as he has a magnificent physique. We hope he does not become discouraged because he didn't win this year. We have some color photos of him we hope to use soon. Just as last year, he was second again. We understand he is entering the Teen Age Mr. America and should have no difficulty winning this title.
Dr. Craig Whitehead came into third place with a nice physique. We look for a lot of improvement from him in the coming year and he ought to be right up at the top. He has the very well balanced type of build where nothing stands out above the other, but is pleasing, symmetrical and well proportioned. He is an eye surgeon in the Air Force. He weighs 196 and has made an 815 Olympic lift total.
Our fourth place man, John Gourgott, also of New Orleans, is another fellow who has the well balanced symmetrical type build. He also won the trophy for best built weightlifter in the lifting section. He went to Tulane and has a B.S. in Math and is now attending the LSU medical school. It is strange that both Gourgott and Whitehead have very similar types of physiques. Both are medical men and both are good Olympic lifters and both are from the same general area of the U.S.A. Gourgott made a 900 total at the Nationals for 5th place in the 198 lb. class.
Fifth place went to Bill Seno, the man who won the Most Muscular in the Jr. National Mr. America event and also made a world record in the bench press of 447¼. He also shares our cover this issue with Jr. Mr. America, Randy Watson. Bill looked very good and has the heavy muscular type development with exceptional chest muscles. See Bill's story in this issue.
Hugo Labra, the very muscular, broad-shouldered fellow from California, came in 6th. Hugo looked great, as he has every year. He has a tremendous back development; in fact, Hugo is tremendous any way you look at him. He is a former champion lifter and hammer thrower in the Pan Am Games. It is hard to see how Hugo could add much to his present development.
Randy Watson probably had the most pleasing build from the point of view of the average public, at the show. He has a perfection of symmetry and balance and shape that would be difficult to exceed and photos seldom do him justice. He looks great when he is relaxed, for then his fine proportions and muscle shape show up the best. I heard people mention that they thought he was the best built man in the whole entry list. Randy is a minister of the Chnrch of Christ, and mentioned that he had married a couple just the day before, in answer to a question from one of the officials. See Randy's story in this issue. He will certainly do real credit to the Jr. Mr. America title and if he continues to compete he may win the Sr. Mr. America title in due time. He lacks the height that many people prefer, but makes it up in physique perfection.
Mike Ferraro looked better than ever at this show. He has an unusual physique and a really fine posing routine that brings cheers from the audience. We thought Mike would place higher than eighth. He had been trying for a good many years. His parents and wife were there. In fact, many of the fellows (both lifters and physique men) brought their parents and families.
Val Vasilieff did very well and came in 9th. He has a very rugged type of physique -- more bulky than some of the fellows, but with very good proportions and shape. He will improve a lot in the future and should place very high. He is a good lifter, with a 900 total to his credit, and claims a dead lift of over 600.
We would like to bring you details of more of the fellows but must leave this for later issues due to lack of space. We also have a lot of photos of the various fellows to show you.
Our general opinion is that physiques are getting better all the time. The men have learned how to add more bulk and still maintain their shape and how to get unusual definition. Many of the fellows take these new drugs for tissue building but we still recommend against it. There have been reports of serious side effects since some of the fellows have used them to excess. Special feeding of regular foods and food supplements will give the same results and safely. There was a time when it seemed that only the easy gainers had a chance at a physique title but now with advanced methods of muscle culture and feeding we find that the average man has a chance, even if he is a so-called hard gainer, to win a title. Of course, shape is something you're born with or without, but we must realize, too, that within certain limits, different types of physiques can win titles. I would say that physique men are generally more interested in overall self improvement, physical mental and spiritual, than the lifters, and with a few exceptions, they are nice, clean fellows. Most of them are college men. We can look forward to their being outstanding, worthwhile citizens, considerable above the average after their competition days are over.
Following is a listing of the men as they placed, and their points. I'm a bit surprised at some of the placings myself. I can point to certain men that ought to have placed much lower than they did and vice versa. This was not deliberate on the part of the judges but just the way it sometimes works out. I think our system as used in the U.S.A. is very faulty in many respects. The judges certainly don't have time to do a fair job of judging of 40 men as entered in this contest. They may give attention to the first three or so, but the others don't get a fair placing because there isn't time to consider them comparatively. It should take at least two days to do much of a job, instead of 2 hours. Tho I did not agree with the final decision of the placings, even tho I was a judge, still I feel the judges did the best they could under the circumstances. My own decisions are seldom the same as the others make, for we all see a physique a bit differently and, depending on our past experience, a perfect physique means something different to each of us. If a man is very outstanding above all others, then it is easy, but seldom is a man ever that outstanding. We found several men in this contest who were very clcse for first, second and third places-much closer than the points would indicate.
MC for the Mr. America was Bob Callahan. Judges were Joe Paul, Rudy Sablo, Clarence Johnson, Don Haley, Dr. You, Peary Rader and Jack Lipsky. John Terpak sat in on the final judging in place of Dr. You, who did not arrive in time. Joe Raymond was chairman of the Physique Judges.
- Vern Weaver, the new Mr. America, has a tremendous body. He was good last year, but is much improved this year. He is shown here with the huge trophy he won.
- Dr. Craig Whitehead, a medical doctor with the Air Force, came in third. He has a fine physique.
- John Gourgott was fourth place man and also won "Best Built Lifter" award, confined to those who participated in the lifting. he also studies medicine and both he and Dr. Whitehead represent the New Orleans Athletic Club.
- Harold Poole has one of the most amazingly muscular physiques we have ever seen. This relaxed pose does not begin to do him justice. He is tremendous and greatly improved over last year. He was second in the Mr. America and easily won the "Most Muscular" title.
- Vern Weaver has a wonderful back and next issue we have a photo we want to bring you that shows what we believe to be the most outstanding back pose we have ever seen. Our space is limited this issue. Vern was third in Most Muscular.
- It would be hard to find a back more muscular and well defined than that of Harold Poole. We have some other fine shots of Harold for you in future issues.
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