Mr. America (contest)

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Mr. America
Given forPhysical fitness, trained muscular structure
First award1939
First winnerBert Goodrich
Most wins
2 times
Most recentShevon Cunningham (2016)

The Mr. America contest is a bodybuilding competition started by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). It was first held on July 4, 1939, and the winner was named "America's Best Built Man". In 1940 this was changed to what is now known as the Mr. America contest.

In the mid-1940s, Joe and Ben Weider started the IFBB as an alternative to the AAU. They held their opposing contest, the IFBB Mr. America, in 1949 and then from 1959 through 1977.[1] The AAU voted to discontinue holding bodybuilding competitions in 1999. In March 2017, AAU Strength Sports Chairman Martin Drake brought bodybuilding and fitness back to the AAU.[citation needed]

In 2004, the World Bodybuilding & Fitness Association (WBFA) announced they had acquired the rights to the Mr. America name and would resume running contests under that banner.

In 2015, rights to Mr. America were acquired by Bruce Ebel, and the contest's annual event cycle resumed via MRA Promotions. Qualifying events in spring are sponsored by the National Gym Association (NGA), Nspire Sports League (NSL), and Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE).[2] The next Mr. America Expo and contest was to have been held in Baltimore in October 2017.[3]

Historic winners[edit]

Year Overall Winner (AAU)[1] Overall Winner (IFBB)[1]
1939 Bert Goodrich (First Mr. America, but not AAU sanctioned)[4]  
Roland Essmaker
1940 John Grimek
1941 John Grimek
1942 Frank Leight
1943 Jules Bacon
1944 Steve Stanko
1945 Clarence Ross
1946 Alan Stephan
1947 Steve Reeves
1948 George Eiferman
1949 Jack Delinger Alan Stephan
1950 John Farbotnik  
1951 Roy Hilligenn
1952 Jim Park
1953 Bill Pearl
1954 Dick DuBois
1955 Steve Klisanin
1956 Ray Schaefer
1957 Ron Lacy
1958 Tom Sansone
1959 Harry Johnson Chuck Sipes
1960 Lloyd Lerille Gene Shuey
1961 Raymond Routledge Gaétan D'Amours
1962 Joe Abbenda Larry Scott
1963 Vern Weaver Reg Lewis
1964 Val Vasilieff (also spelled Vasilef or Vasilief) Harold Poole
1965 Jerry Daniels Dave Draper
1966 Bob Gajda Chester Yorton
1967 Dennis Tinerino Don Howorth
1968 Jim Haislop Frank Zane
1969 Boyer Coe John Decola
1970 Chris Dickerson Mike Katz
1971 Casey Viator Ken Waller
1972 Steve Michalik Ed Corney
1973 Jim Morris Lou Ferrigno
1974 Ron Thompson Bob Birdsong
1975 Dale Adrian Robby Robinson
1976 Kalman Szkalak Mike Mentzer
1977 Dave Johns Danny Padilla
1978 Tony Pearson
1979 Ray Mentzer
1980 Gary Leonard
1981 Tim Belknap
1982 Rufus Howard
1983 Jeff King
1984 Joe Meeko
1985 Michael Antorino
1986 Glenn Knerr
1987 Richard Barretta
1988 William Norberg
1989 Matt DuFresne
1990 Peter Miller
1991 Joe DeAngelis
1992 Mike Scarcella
1993 Billy Nothaft
1994 Andrew Sivert
1995 Terence Hairston
1996 Doug Rieser
1997 Bill Davey
1998 Harvey H. Campbell
1999 Tracey Dorsey

1988 AAU Mr. America winners[edit]

Overall Winner
William Norberg


Place Tall
1st Rory Leidelmeyer
2nd Bob Gosch
3rd Jim Badra
4th Alex Sicignano
5th Bob Good


Place Medium-Tall
1st William Norberg
2nd Peter LaReau
3rd Peter Moen
4th Greg Ladd
5th Braulio Medina


Place Medium
1st Casey Kucharyk
2nd Abe Cuesta
3rd Doug Brown
4th Greg Long
5th Brian Silk Sr


Place Short
1st Bryan McCluskey
2nd David Brown (3)
3rd Don Lemieux
4th Brian Homka
5th Rod Ketchens

Recent winners[edit]

Year Location Overall Winner (MRA)[1]
2015 Rochester, New York Cleveland Thomas
2016 Washington, D.C. (Six Flags America) Shevon Cunningham
2017 Baltimore, Maryland [to be determined]
2018 Baltimore, Maryland[5] [to be determined]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mr. America History". Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "Mr. America Qualifying Events". MRA Promotions. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Mr. America Info and Registration". Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  4. ^ John D. Fair, Mr. America, Appendix
  5. ^ "IFBB Physique America Release 2018 Calendar". International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness. Retrieved February 10, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Fair, John D. Mr. America: The Tragic History of a Bodybuilding Icon (2015) Excerpt

External links[edit]