Muscular Development, Vol 11, No 8, Page 24, November 1974


By Bob Crist

THIS YEAR'S MR. USA CONTEST and Senior National Powerlifting Championships were staged in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time, however, the events were staged in different areas. The physique contest was held at the newly opened Hilton Hotel, and the lifting was conducted at Texas Christian University.

Clay Patterson, National Powerlifting Coordinator and meet director, did a great job in staging both the powerlifting and physique events. Paul Hill, 1973 Mr. USA, did the technical set-up for the meet and supervised the positioning of the posing lights, the television cameras and the backdrops.

Mr. USA Competition
held in Fort Worth, Texas
August 31 & September 1

The TOP 10

  1. Pat Neve
  2. Dave Johns
  3. Mike Kowach
  4. Robert Robinson
  5. Lowel Miller
  6. Chuck Leosch
  7. Dick Balwdin
  8. Ernie Frantz
  9. Dick Hathaway
  10. Donald Knipp

Short Class: 5'7" and under

  1. Pat Neve
    Phoenix, Ariz.
  2. Mike Kowach
    Warren, Ohio
  3. Ernie Franz
    Batavia, Ill.
  4. Don Knipp
    Pensacola, Fla.

Medium Class: 5'7" to 5'10"

  1. Dave Johns
    Hollywood, Calif.
  2. Robert Robinson
    Tallahassee, Fla.
  3. Dick Baldwin
    Tallahassee, Fla.
  4. Joe Sasso
    Lynnfield, Mass.
  5. Jim Allen
    Middletown, Ohio
  6. Harold Keeler
    Jefferson City, Mo.

Tall Class: 5'10" and over

  1. Lowell Miller
    Hopkins, Minn.
  2. Chuck Loesch
    Bloomington, Minn.
  3. Dick Hathaway
    Overland Park, Kan.
  4. Wayne Powell
    Houston, Texas
  5. Cameron Douthitt
    Friendswood, Texas

Subdivision Winners

Best Legs - Mike Kowach
Best Back - Dave Johns
Best Abdominals - MikeKowach
Best Chest - Pat Neve
Best Arms - Pat Neve

A very enthusiastic crowd of over 500 were in attendance for both the prejudging and the finals.

Ralph Countryman, National Physique Coordinator, supervised the contest and acted as chief of the judge's panel. The other judges were Mabel Rader, Nebraska; Paul Pendley, Louisiana; Bob Packer, California; Clarence Bass, New Mexico; and John Principe and Paul Hill from Texas. The judges represented a good geographic coverage of our country and made a solid experienced panel.

Ten minute interviews were conducted with each man and, as there were only 15 contestants, this portion of the program went rather quickly. Ralph Countryman served as the MC for the evening program and moved the men along in fine fashion. Ralph is an attorney from Oakland, California, speaks well and is quite knowledgeable about the contestants, their backgrounds and interests. The crowd was quite responsive to all the contestants and greeted them with loud applause and whistling. Everyone was well received in an atmosphere of a true stage presentation.

New Wrinkles: Ralph Countryman and the physique committee had asked to be able to conduct the contest with height divisions (short, medium and tall), so they could report to the National Committee on the athletes', officials' and audience reactions.

It worked liked a charm for everyone and actually made judging much easier and quicker. It grouped the men according to height and achieved the desired results. The panel, however, did have a near ideal situation with only four men in the short class; six men in the medium and five men in the tall class. I n a contest like the 1974 Senior Mr. America which had a field of 35 contestants, this system might cause some problems--for some.

The height classes produced Pat Neve as the winner of the short class, Dave Johns as the winner of medium and Lowell Miller as the winner of the tall man's category. The scoresheets showed that the majority of judges were in agreement on most winners and the new system of placement judging appears to be working with good success. It is an easy system to learn and the judges easily adapted to the new principles.

Evaluation: Pat Neve, the overall winner, was the most improved Jr. since the Jr. Mr. USA contest in which he was narrowly defeated by Dave Johns in July.

Pat won the Short Man's Class and Best Chest and Best Arms awards and was a finalist in all bodyparts except Best Legs. His arms are outstanding in size and shape. Combined with an outstanding chest and back, they give him a much larger looking physique. Pat's abdominals were a close second to Mike Kowach. His overall definition and increase in leg and abdominal development really helped him peak out for this contest. His pleasing personality also helped him become a very popular winner.

Dave Johns, after winning the Jr. Mr. USA contest, appeared to be the man to beat in this contest. Dave did win the Medium Class as well as the Best Back and Most Muscular Man awards. He was a finalist in all of the subdivisions.

Dave trains with Bill Pearl and apparently some of Bill's magic has rubbed off on Dave. He has a very polished posing routine but, if, on this day, I had to single out anything that tilted the scales for Pat Neve, it would have to be his deep "cuts" and separation indicating sharper muscularity. It could be that Dave peaked for the Jr. Mr. USA contest. In any event, he has a great build and will continue to win titles in the future. His goal is to become the 1975 Mr. America.

Mike Kowach, who finished in the number three position, won the Best Abdominals and Best Legs. He was stationed with the Navy at Virginia Beach a few years ago and he won the Mr. Virginia title. He had a fine physique then but nothing like the cuts and fine muscularity he showed here.

Mike has a washboard midsection that resembles that of Irwin "Zabo" Koszewski, and that is really saying something. He credits plenty of hard work and lots of concentration on his diet for his fine improvement. Mike finished in the top three in both the overall USA and Most Muscular contests. He has a great posing routine and if his arms were a bit larger, he would resemble Eric Pederson of the Steve Reeves' era. Mike's profile resembles the late film star Alan Ladd. He has, indeed, come a long way since Virginia Beach.

Robert "Robbie" Robinson placed fourth in both the overall USA and Most Muscular contests and was up for almost all of the callbacks for bodyparts.

An All South winner, he has lots of muscle and separation. Robbie posed well but he lacked the overall proportion and sharpness of the others. Back, chest and arms were his high points.

Lowell Miller won the Tall Man's Class and placed fifth in the overall contest. He is blond with a good physique but he is not heavily muscled. His overall proportions were very good, with a fine posing routine and development to match.

Miller nudged out Charles Loesch for the title by one vote. Loesch is the man with over 20-inch arms who is reputed to have curled over 300 pounds! Yes, this man did have fine arm and shoulder development but he is still too heavy and lacks the necessary overall definition. Nevertheless, he has improved greatly over the last 18 months.

Dick Baldwin has a fine physique but he was in the fast company of Johns and Robinson in the medium division and he finished third. Joe Sasso, regional physique chairman from Boston, placed behind Baldwin in the medium class. I feel Joe will have to try the principle used by Fred Shandor and cut the weight and achieve more overall definition. He has the muscularity and size now. The point being that the difference between these men is often in the sharpness, density and quality of muscle. It appears that diet and self-denial as well as many hours of hard work are still the keys to development.

Ernie Frantz, a 40-year-old recreation worker from Illinois, was an outstanding finalist in the powerlifting contest and he showed a fine, rugged physique. He really has some size and density. He placed eighth overall but was number three in the short man's class. He was the only lifter to enter the physique contest.

Dick Hathaway was a number nine finisher overall and number three in the tall Man's class. Dick, who almost lost his life in a fire accident, takes competition very seriously and he vows to be on top soon. He poses well, has very good proportion and size and great drive. It is this drive that I believe will help him achieve his goals.

Donald Knipp, brother of Russ Knipp, is with the US Navy Hospital Corps. He has a fine physique for a man over 35 years of age. He was in some fast company with Pat Neve and Mike Kowach in the short man's contest but he outpointed several others to finish in the top 10 overall. Don won the Best Chest title in the Chattanooga Open Meet in April and looked very good. The Knipp smile and outgoing personality made Don a popular competitor.

Cameron Douthitt, third in the Best Legs division, shows outstanding development and sharpness but he needs work on the other body sections. Wayne Powell shows good promise and he garnered three votes for third place in the tall man's division. He was a shade behind Hathaway for third and just above Douthitt. James Allen, a former USMC bodybuilder from Middletown, Ohio, made remarkable progress in the past two years but he wasn't as sharp as he was earlier in the year. Harold Keeler of Jefferson City, Missouri, has a fine physique and he knows how to display it. This time, however, he was outclassed in the medium height class.

Competition in the height classes is good for physique contests, and I look for it to be adopted into our rules for our major contests. A waiver was given to permit its use at this contest for evaluation purposes. It gives the athletes a chance to compete on their own level and breaks the contest down so the audience can better identify with the contestants. The equation is better with more awards spread out throughout the contest, with still overall and most muscular winners. The small man is at a definite disadvantage standing next to an over six-foot athlete. It is interesting to note that Pat Neve and Mike Kowach both were short men finalists and winners. Dave Johns, the winner of the medium class was #2 overall. It was a great show with new wrinkles and some pleasant surprises. These fellows are good sportsmen and do not look upon a loss as a personal thing. They go back and hit the weights and the training table with a new challenge.


- Mr. USA titleholder, Pat Neve.

- The three Most Muscular winners, all of whom shared the subdivisions awards. They are, left to right: Pat Neve who got 2nd and won Best Arms and Chest. Dave Johns who won the Most Muscular title and Best Back. Next, Mike Kowach who took 3rd but also won the Best Legs and Abdominal awards.

- Winner and runners-up in the tall class. They are, left to right: Chuck Loesch 2nd; Lowell Miller winner in this class, and Dick Hathaway 3rd.

- Last year's winner, Paul Hill, congratulates Pat Neve on his fine victory. Paul and Ralph Countryman MC'd this grand event that was staged in the newly built Hilton in Fort Worth.

- Winner and runners-up in the short class. They are, left to right: Mike Kowach 2nd; Pat Neve winner, and Ernie Frantz 3rd.

- Mike Kowach shows his abdominals and legs that won for him the Best Legs and Abdominal trophies. He was 3rd in the Mr. USA competition.

- Dave Johns displays that back that won for him the Best Back award and the Most Muscular title. he placed 2nd in the overall USA competition.

- Winner and runners-up in the medium height class. Left to right: Robert Robinson 2nd; Dave Johns class winner, and Richard Baldwin 3rd.

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