Muscular Development, Vol 20, No 11, Page 20, November 1973

1973 Teen-Age Mr. America

By Bob Crist, National Weightlifting Chairman

THE SITE of this year's 1973 Teen-age Mr. America Contest was the Culver City Auditorium, Culver City, California. It brought back a fond memory to me as it was the same stage and building where, in 1970, I had received my "Helms Hall of Fame" award. That year I had been in charge of the Mr. America Contest panel and selections. My role this year was that of National Weightlifting Chairman to pick the officials for the lifting and the physique.

The organizing committee headed by Ray Yeager, Bud Mucci, Bob Hise Sr., Arch Williams, and host of hard-working people, did a great job to stage the lifting and physique contests. Ramon Garcia, (Zone Physique Vice Chairman) ram-rodded the physique contest, along with John Scott as Chief Expeditor. The room provided for the pre-judging was the same one used for the 1970 Mr. "A" Contest, large, well-lighted and good posing lights for the contestants.

The physique panel was chaired by Ralph Countryman from Oakland, Calif. Ralph is currently finishing law school, and one of our most experienced physique officials. Other members of the panel were: Dick Notmeyer, San Francisco, Calif., Bob Packer, Fresno, California, Dot Schubert, Cleveland, Ohio, Ed McConnell, Oklahoma City, Ok., Steve Duncheck, Los Angeles, Calif., and last but not least, Don Haley, Los Angeles, Calif. our former, National Weightlifting Chairman. This panel was certainly mature and well-experienced in their deliberations and selections. The time spent with the posing, interview and tabulations covered five hours. A field of 32 men had entered and 28 showed up for the judging. Contestants from all over the USA were entered. Many of the young men were entering a contest for the first time. The panel gave each man plenty of time for the interview and posing to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to pick the right winner. The placement system was used as evaluation study for our committee to evaluate its usefulness in future contests. This system works quite well in a field of 10 to 25 men but is quite lengthy and burdensome with 28 contestants.

The evening session of the contest was staged in the main auditorium with very fine lighting and affects. James Morris, the current 1973 Mr. America, was the M. C. and did a great job. Jim interviewed each man at the pre-judging session and got his height, weight and background information. He later used this for the stage presentation. Jim has been quite active with physique promotion in the Southern Pacific area and should prove to be one of our all-time great Mr. Americas in his travels and work with youth.

I shall limit my remarks to the finalists of the contest and the top body part winners. Our aim, if possible, will be the "quality men" and not the entire grouping.

The winner of the contest was Joe Ugalik, New Haven Conn. Joe was the runner-up in the contest in Washington, D. C. last year. This was his year and he was not to be denied. Joe is 17 years old, 170-pounds and stands 5' 7½" and has been training 3 years. He is a college student majoring in P. E. His posing was very good and I thought the best. His back and side poses were very impressive and he looked like a young Grimek. He has the balanced physique, plus the muscularity and skin tone to make him #1. I had picked him as the winner in the prejudging session on my personal list. I always check off the top five men when watching these contests. My score card (which did not count) was right in two out of five placements. Joe will make a great winner, a good solid personality and a credit to the game.

The #2 winner was, Gary Czuck, 19-years old, 183-pounds, from South Bend, Indiana. Gary won the best legs award in the body parts competition. His overall physique is very symmetrical and well-muscled. He came from a 10th place finish in 1972 to the number 2 spot this year. He attends college with work in the field of business administration. This young man reminded me of Carl Smith in his first contests, before he really started winning the big ones. Gary has a bright future indeed.

John Jardine, 19-years old, 5' 6" at 167 pounds, Hayward, California was the #3 winner with a host of different trophies to his credit. John won best back, best chest, best arms, "Most Muscular Man" and 3rd place. Quite a haul for one day's work. He is a Physical Therapy student in college and has been training for four years. John has a childhood disability that affected one leg below the knee, but he has overcome this in other body part development. His progress in spite of this factor is outstanding. It does, however, affect his overall symmetry rating. His posing routine was sharp and the muscularity of this fine young man is outstanding.

Luigi Borrelli, 19 years, 5' 2½" 132-pounds from San Pedro, Calif. was the #4 winner with his outstanding muscularity and definition. This young man has very thin skin and has ripples everywhere. He reminds me of Scott Pace, former Teen-age Mr. America winner from Virginia, in build and posing routine. Borrelli has been featured in MD magazine during last year, so it is not a new face to readers. He has been training for four years and is a Chemistry major in college. If a short man category was conducted this man would be a real favorite. Lots ahead for this hard worker.

Bob Plakinger, 19 years, 183-pounds from Milwaukee, Wisconsin was in the #5 spot. Bob has the symmetry and frame to pack on more muscle and bring him many titles in the future. He has trained for four years and is a college student majoring in business administration.

Mike Tozzi from Canton, Ohio won the best abdominal award and he well-deserved it. Mike possesses the washboard of old, with the skin and rippling midsection of Zabo Kozewski. Like Borrelli, he is short in stature but long on talent.

The Most Muscular Man Contest was won by Jardine in 1st spot with Ugolik in #2 and Tozzi in #3. This was a very close contest.

Summary: It was Joe Ugolik all the way as far as the overall man the judges wanted. He has a bright future ahead with the size and density to come later. The other men will have to follow suit and do their thing in the future. I am sure we will hear many things about their accomplishments in the coming months and years.

I was impressed by the way these young men posed in a national contest of this type. Their answers at the interview were frank and to the point. They showed good maturity and understood the problems of the day, and their role in what they wanted out of life. It would do some of the old heads good to sit and listen to these young men. I disagree with those that say that all kids are going to the dogs. They just "ain't with it." My talk with the judges after the contest seem to get the same impression.

This may well be the last Teen-Age Lifting Championships, as next year, a 2-3 day meet for Jr. Olympic lifters will be started. It is our hope that the Teen-age Mr. America Contest will be continued and I am sure it will be. We should continue the fine tradition of this competition.

As I drove back to the Hacienda Motel, the meeting headquarters, I could not help but reflect on the quality of this contest and the young people who make it possible. Many spoke to me at the motel about their training, their ambitions and future contests.

This contest had 28 young men who will be the stars of tomorrow and took home with him the ideas and dreams of winning other titles. The next day I was off to the East Coast and going back home. I could not help but feel our sport is in good hands with the young men filling the ranks. Our weightlifters and bodybuilders appear better than ever and ready for any challenge. Youth shall be served, as the old saying goes!


- Some of the teen-agers who vied for the Teen-age Mr. America title in Culver City, California on July 15th. A total of 28 well-developed youngsters competed.

- Note the impressive lat-spread of John Jardine. He placed third in the competition.

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