Mr. America (contest)

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] Rights to the Mr. America name have been sold several times after AAU discontinued holding the contests in 1999.

Bodybuilding competition
Mr. America
Sport Bodybuilding
Awarded for Physical fitness, trained muscular structure
First award 1939
First winner Bert Goodrich
Most wins
2 times
Most recent Jay Brew (2020)

. . . Mr. America (contest) . . .

The AAU voted to discontinue holding bodybuilding competitions in 1999.[citation needed] In March 2017, AAU Strength Sports Chairman Martin Drake brought bodybuilding and fitness back to the AAU.[2][3]

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.

Bob Bonham acquired the rights and from 2011 through 2013 held the Mr America contest under the sanction of the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding Federation), which is the amateur division of the WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation). The contests were drug tested under strict WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) guidelines using U.S. Olympic laboratory testing.

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 were sponsored by the National Gym Association (NGA), Nspire Sports League (NSL), and Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE).[4] The Mr. America Expo and contest was to have been held in Baltimore in October 2017.[5]

In 2020, the contest resumed in the face of the pandemic as a non-sanctioned event (with no specific organization affiliation) promoted by Marc Tauriello of East Coast Fitness Concepts. The Mr. America Sports Festival & Expo was held October 9–11, 2020, in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Atlantic City Sheraton Ballroom.[6][better source needed]

Year Overall Winner (AAU)[1] Overall Winner (IFBB)[1] Overall Winner (INBF)[7] Overall Winner (Unsanctioned)
1939 Bert Goodrich (First Mr. America, but not AAU sanctioned)[8]  
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
2011 Rawle Greene
2012 Daniel White
2013 John Heart
2014 (No show held)
2015 Cleveland Thomas[9]
2016 Shevon Cunningham[10]
(No contests)
2020 Jay Brew

. . . Mr. America (contest) . . .

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. . . Mr. America (contest) . . .

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