I'm hoping that someday I will come across the file copy of my notes and original manuscript for this article. The article that Mike Armstrong and I submitted for publication contained more details about placings than appeared in the published version. As all writers know, we are at the mercy of publishers, editors, and space limitations! -- Irene, 3/13/2010
1977 AAU MR. USA AND MR. TEENAGE USA CONTESTS
Above: Rod Koontz - AAU Mr. USA 1977
First Place (tall class) and Overall Winner
The Californians did it again, this time at the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, with both the Mr. USA and Teenage Mr. USA titles going to residents of the Golden State. Representing the Garden Grove Athletic Club, the new Mr. USA, Rod Koontz, is an audience favorite wherever he goes. Along with his fine physique, Koontz's superlative stage presence reflects his easy-going personality. Rudy Hermosillo, winner of the teenage Mr. USA trophy, had progressed from third place in the teenage short class at the Gold's Classic to his present title in only nine months. A quiet and serious young man, Hermosillo trains at Gold's Gym.
Credit goes to Ken "Doc" Neely who made this, the only recent major contest held in the South, a contest for the competitor.
The contest was well organized, well run, and well promoted. The politics that threaten to submerge bodybuilding competitions into ludicrousness were, if not absent, at least held to a minimum. We are looking forward to "Doc" holding the annual contest. Bodybuilding needs the credibility that fine contests like the Mr. USA give.
Teenage Mr. USA
Probably the toughest class to judge had been the teenage short class because of the uniformly excellent quality of contestants. Rudy Hermosillo, the winner, displayed excellent arms, back, and lats. His perfect symmetry was enhanced by an exceptionally polished and sophisticated posing routine. Second in the short class was Peter Leonetti. His huge and well-defined legs surpassed many in the senior division, but were out of proportion with his upper body.
Above: Rudy Hermosillo - AAU Teenage Mr. USA 1977
First Place (short class) and Teenage Overall Winner
Massive Dwayne Broadway, the first place winner in the medium height class, was Hermosillo's closest competition. The Best Chest and Back winner also had superb thighs, calves, and large, well-defined arms, and he put them all together in what had to be on the most spectacular crab poses in the entire contest.
Above (left): Dwayne Broadway - First Place (teenage medium class)
Above (right): Peter Leonetti - Second Place (teenage short class)
In sharp contrast to the other competitors, none of the contestants in the teenage tall class appeared ready for national competition. However, David Wayne Boone, clearly in first place, showed potential for future contests.
The dual posing routine of Steve and Ellen Davis to Adala's Theme followed the teenage division and brought thunderous, encore-demanding applause. The grace of these two attractive proponents of physical fitness lends real class to any program in which they are featured.
Tony Pandolfo, a popular veteran of bodybuilding, won first place in the short class. His strongest points were his abdominals and legs; he also displayed excellent triceps and remarkable vascularity. With good definition, size, and vascularity, Mike Arnold came in second.
The battle for first place in the medium height group was virtually a tossup between C. F. Smith and Billy Arlen. Both were symmetrical and had excellent arms. Arlen had a better chest; Smith had better legs. Best Arms and Best Poser went to third place winner, Richard Baldwin.
C. F. Smith's erratic behavior, which may well have cost him the Mr. USA title, had been the topic of the day. His swaggering backstage manner had won him no friends among the contestants, and he had been chastised by the judges for swimming in oil during prejudging. But it was his performance during the lineup in the evening show which caused the judges to disqualify him for consideration for placement among the three overall winners. While the men around him quietly stood facing the judges, Smith continually posed his legs or bent forward from the waist, doing hammy, exaggerated bicep shots.
Above (left): Tony Pandolfo - First Place (short class)
Above (right): C. F. Smith - First Place (medium class)
In the tall men's class, it was Rod Koontz all the way. As a contender for the Best Abdominal, Arms, Back Legs, Poser, and Most Muscular award, Koontz's posing routine was sweepingly dramatic and exceptionally effective in displaying his superlative physique.
Just prior to the presentation of the trophies, the fabulous Mike Mentzer had worked the audience into a frenzy with his guest posing routine. Mentzer, Steve Davis, Ralph Countryman, and Peary Rader received special awards for their contributions to bodybuilding.