Muscular Development, Vol 15, No 6, Page 30, December 1978
ON SATURDAY evening, September the 2nd, bodybuilding aficionados from across the United States jammed into the majestic Cincinnati Music Hall auditorium to witness the main event in the realm of muscledom...the crowning of a new Mr. America.
As usual, this prestigious happening provided plenty of excitement and a few surprises. According to pre-contest gossip, most of those in attendance felt that it would be basically a one, or possibly, two-man competition. However, one of the most enticing features about bodybuilding is its unpredictability and it was evident on this occasion.
Each Height Category
Results by Dave Sauer
The proceedings got underway with a resounding bang as the legendary Bill Pearl commemorated the 25th anniversary of his 1953 Mr. America victory by staging an absolutely phenomenal posing display. This was a rare treat, indeed, for it afforded comparative newcomers-like this reporter-and long-time followers of the bodybuilding game an opportunity to watch the famed Pearl physique in action...and believe me, at the age of 48, he's still got it.
Needless to say, the crowd was definitely responsive to Pearl's efforts. In fact, each new pose generated more enthusiasm than the one before it. When he concluded, the audience showed its appreciation with a thunderous standing ovation.
Being the "class guy" that he is, Pearl reciprocated by addressing the zealous throng, expressing his fondness for bodybuilding and thanking fans everywhere for their loyal support.
The festivities' upbeat tempo heightened even more as the short class competitors for the Mr. America diadem filed out on stage. As one scrutinized this fine group of athletes, it was obvious that the judges had their work cut out for them. Naturally, the "smart money" was on Ron Teufel because he won this class and finished third overall at last year's Mr. A contest. Plus he had quite a streak going for himself this year, taking such highly regarded titles as Mr. USA and Mr. California. The latter award is a particularly good omen, for in recent years winners of this contest have used it as a stepping stone to the Mr. America crown. However, as we shall soon see, it was not to be in Ron's case.
Keeping the pressure on Teufel in the short division were such men as Tom "Mr. Legs" Platz, Sammie Willis, the fast-rising Gaubert brothers, Lionel and James, the current Jr. Mr. California, Robert Jodkiewicz, Tony Pandolfo and Dave Mastorakis.
When it was all said and done, Ron Teufel prevailed, with Platz coming second and Carlos Rodriguez, a newcomer to AAU Mr. America competition, taking third.
Talk about a star-studded lineup...get a load of some of the big names that vied for the top spot in the medium height division...C. F. Smith, Ray Mentzer, Florida physique sensation, Richard Baldwin, Doug "the Bear" Beaver-who was third in this class last year- Larry Jackson, winner of the tall class at the Mr. California contest, Tony Pearson, current Jr. Mr. America and Jr. Mr. USA, Robert Reis and Eddie Love.
Here again, the panel of judges had some tough choices to make. But, after considerable deliberation, they had Pearson in first, Jackson second and Baldwin in third.
For the second year in a row, two Californians, Manuel Perry and Clint Beyerle, finished one-two in the tall man competition. After watching these men pose, many observers thought Beyerle may have a chance of upsetting Perry, due to the fact that the latter appeared a bit too smooth. However, the judges did not concur with their opinion.
Third place went to another fast-rising physique-man who was making his first bid for the Mr. A title, Gary Leonard. Rounding out the field in this class was Rod Koontz, a bodybuilder / powerlifter who possesses a rugged build, John Aldrich, 1978 Mr. Iowa, Frank Wainwright, current Mr. PA, Bill Nuckols and Lou Perrotta.
After the tall class had been decided, the moment of truth had arrived. The individual height class winners Teufel, Pearson and Perry were summoned to the stage to give everyone one last look before the final decision was made.
Then everything quieted down and the announcer asked for the envelope containing the name of the winner. As the entire auditorium sat with bated breath, the suspense mounted rapidly. Finally, the announcer declared Tony Pearson 1978 Mr. America.
For some unknown reason, no mention was made as to who was the runner-up and third-place man overall. While there may be a logical explanation for neglecting these awards, it seems to me that the bodybuilding fans who shelled out their hard-earned dollars to see this event were shortchanged to a degree.
Nevertheless, as is often the case, the verdict created quite a bit of controversy among the spectators. Many of the Teufel and Perry rooters reacted vehemently against the decision, claiming that the winner's incomplete calf development impaired his symmetry.
Looking at it objectively, though, many of the experts felt that Teufel appeared slightly overtrained. Reportedly, Ron had reduced his food intake drastically the last couple of days prior to the contest so as to shed a little unwanted bulk and enhance his muscularity which he did. However, he may have overdone it a bit and therefore, their criticism may have been valid.
As far as Manuel Perry is concerned, I have already covered the reason which more than likely led to his downfall. However, in all fairness, I should add that his physique exhibited a great deal of massiveness, particularly his arms.
On the other hand, Pearson partisans maintained that their man had a good combination of size and exceptional muscularity and also had a hot streak of his own, copping the Jr. Mr. America and Jr. Mr. USA titles this year. This, in their mind, made him more than deserving.
Bear in mind too that four of the seven judges gave Pearson first-place votes while Teufel and Perry only got two and one first-place votes respectively.
In addition to winning the Mr. America title, Tony Pearson also corralled two of the sought-after subdivision awards: Most Muscular Man and Best Poser. Other subdivision winners were:
In closing, I'd like to extend my congratulations to the organizers of the contest in Cincinnati and to those men whose task it was to select this year's Mr. America. * *
- Three fine muscular poses of Tony Pearson, Mr. America of 1978
- Some of the men in the shorter division line up on stage. From left: John Ruehlman, Jim Gaubert, Ron Barrett, Tom Platz, and Tony Pandolfo.
- More of the men in the shorter division line up. From left: Mike Arnold, Sammy Willis, Robert Jodkiewicz, Ron Teufel and John Iacobelli.
- Coming out on stage are Gary Leonard (left) and Frank Wainwright who completed in the tall class.
- Winners in the medium height group are from left: Larry Jackson, 2nd; Tony Pearson, the class victor and the eventual overall winner, and Richard Baldwin, 3rd.
- Some of the men in the medium height class. From left: C. F. Smith, Eddie Love, Fred Shandor, Robert Klez, Keith Kephart, Sam Sanchez, Larry Jackson and Robert Reis.
- Winners in the tall division were, from left: Gary Leonard, 3rd; Manuel Perry, the winner, and Clint Beyerle, 2nd.
- The final posedown competition was chiefly between Tony Pearson and Ron Teufel.
- The short class was won by Ron Teufel, who also received a kiss from the trophy girl (who was not identified). The winners are, from left: Carlos Rodriguez, 3rd; Ron Teufel, the winner, and Tom Platz, who got 2nd.
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