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The Debut of Casey Viator - Wins Jr. Mr. America 1971
This piece of bodybuilding history documents the first time a 19-year old Casey Viator burst into national prominence with a physique to rival the best bodybuilders of his era with his "Schwarzenegger-like" physique
by M. Kirchner -- 1971

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This year's Junior Mr. America contest was probably the most outstanding we have ever seen in all the years it has been i effect, as far as quality of physique is concerned, and we doubt very much if the Senior Nationals will bring out anything superior to what we were able to view at this meet.

The entry list was not large, with 13 men entered, but they were all top quality, and the small audience viewing this contest certainly got their money's worth, as they saw some of the best men in the world displaying their wares. This contest was held in the beautiful auditorium of the Ross S. Sterling High School in Baytown, Texas, the evening of May 16, 1971.

Peary Rader, editor of Iron Man magazine was in charge of the contest, and due to the shortage of qualified judges for lifting and physique contests, had difficulty in obtaining a full quota of judges. Ordinarily seven men are used, but he was fortunate in obtaining five good judges who must have done a very good job in selecting the winners and placing them, since we heard no complaint from anyone after the contest. Rader emphasized to the judges that they should very carefully vote each man regardless of whether he was a top man or not, since the physique contestants use their placings as a guide to their relationship to other contestants, so it is therefore highly important that they be as carefully judged as the top four or five.

The lighting seemed quite good, since the physiques looked superb form the audience. The judges were Walter Inahara, Sam Nichia, Clay Patterson, Jerowm Weis, and Jim Witt. Weis acted as tabulating chairman of the judges, and this, too, is a very important position since a mistake here can change the placing of the men unfairly. There fore, two other judges assist him in this job. In this case, assisting were Jim Witt and Clay Patterson.

Casey Viator, with his herculean physique, was a fairly easy winner with 221 points, although Charles Amato came up very good, as did Ralph Kroger, Amato with 207 and Kroger close behind with 203. As a matter of fact, Amato was favored by 2 of the 5 judges as top man, which gives some indication of the future this boy has. Kroger looked very good too, and with continued improvement and and a little more size, should reach the top one of these days. Another man who is very outstanding is Anibal Lopez, who came in with 189 points, and has one of the most symmetrical physiques to be four. then Bob Harrington, a newcomer to the scene, who shows a lot of possibility, followed by Dan Howard in sixth place, tying with Harrington, was very good also.

Back to Casey Viator, the winner. Casey has shown considerable improvement, shaping up better, getting larger and getting much better definition than he showed at either the Mr. America or Mr. USA shows last year. Since this is written prior to the Mr. America contest, we can only guess as to how he will do in the Mr. America contest, but it is difficult to see anyone beating him. His posing routine still needs a lot of improvement and we are sure that improvement will come with experience and time.

If anyone deserves the title of Hercules, certainly Casey Viator is the man, as we have never seen a man of his height with such huge, yet shapely proportions. He is tremendously impressive. In addition to this, he is a very fine young man of high character and ideals, who will do justice to any title that he wins.

His parents were also in attendance at this contest, and they are very proud of what Casey has been able to accomplish. His Dad works in the police department in New Iberia, Louisiana. Recently New Iberia had a Casey Viator Day, in which he was given publicity and appeared at various organizations in the city. His picture and story appeared in at least two issues of the local newspaper. They obviously are very proud of this young man, and well might they be.

At present Casey is gong to school in DeLand, Florida where he is training under the guidance of Arthur Jones.

Charles Amato certainly shows great improvement over last year, with the addition of 10 pounds of muscles in the right places. He has greatly perfected his posing routine, and now has a routine that is truly outstanding. He does not have the huge build of Viator, but again proves that if you have proportion, shape and definition, you don't necessarily have to have the huge bulk. Dressed in his street clothes, Amato shows no signs whatever of the magnificent physique that he displays on the posing platform, and actually looks more like a baseball player that a muscle man. He has a very pleasant, modest personality and I am sure that he will go far, and another year or two ought to see him being very hard to beat for the Mr. America title.

Ralph Kroger, is also improved, and looked very good on the posing platform. He has a nice posing routine, an he, too, proves that you do not have to have excessive bulk in order to be great. Ralph is a family man and does not have the time to train that some of the younger men do, but he nevertheless does very well, and with continued improvement over the coming years, I am sure he will reach that coveted top place.

Anibal Lopez, who has won so many titles in the East and elsewhere, looked very good in this contest, and if he continues to train hard, should amaze a lot of people in the future. He, too lacks the bulk of some of the other fellows, but makes up for it in superb proportions and beautiful musculature. He is certainly the favorite of many people, and has great prospects for future titles. He is training hard now with Chris Dickerson, at a gym in New York City where they are using the Nautilus System machines and report remarkable results.

Bob Harrington, a favorite from Houston, Texas, came in well and shows prospects. He is rather tall and rangy and will probably need more bulk. He also needs a great deal of improvement on the posing platform, and some of his poses presently do not display his physique to best advantage.

Dan Howard looked good but he, too, needs some help on posing routines. Alex McNeil also looked good. This young policeman has been entering contests for a long time and has a remarkably powerful looking physique although he does need more shaping up and more definition. Jim Handley looked good, as well, and here again, although he has a very outstanding, shapely physique, he needs more bulk. Lawrence Gordon of Iowa has a very shapely physique but lacks great in definition, and looked rather smooth. Kent Kuehn of Orlando, Florida, is just now making a comeback after being down in bodyweight,and he, too, needs a lot more definition. Kent is one of the top men in the country when he is in good shape. Bill Lewis, Roy Pfister and Kenny Guess were all up and coming young fellows who should be heard from more in the future.

In the body parts division, Casey Viator came in first in Most Muscular, with Amato second and Kroger third. The Best Arms again went to Viator, with some of the most remarkable arms we have ever seen, with Ralph Kroger and Charles Amato third. Amato's arms are not large but they are very shapely and well defined. Best Chest also went to Viator with Kroger a very close second and Alex McNeil close behind Kroger. This was a very difficult decision for the judges I am sure, as these men all have outstanding chest development in both the pectoral muscles and the chest box proper.

In the Best Abdominals, we had another very close contest, with Amato finally coming out for his fine total abdominal development. Jim Handley, who has been a winner in the past, also was very good, and came in second, with Casey Viator third. Casey has very large abdominal muscles, but hot quite the definition the other two fellows have. The Best Back was again Casey Viator, with Ralph Kroger a very close second: then there was a tie between Lopez and Amato for third. In Best Legs Ralph Kroger was first with very well developed lest and some excellent definition, with Casey Viator second and Amato third.

This was a very exciting contest and in the minds of most of the audience there was very little doubt as to the first place, although, as we have mentioned, some of the judges had some doubt about this. We know that the people who missed this missed one of he better physique contests of the year.

Following is a list of the physique contestants and their scores:

1. Casey Viator 221
2. Charles Amato 207
3. Ralph Kroger 203
4. Anibal Lopez 189
5. Bob Harrington 180
6. Dan Howard 180
7. Alex McNeil 179
8. Jim Handley 176
9. Lawrence Gordon 169
10. Kent Kuehn 166
11. Bill Lewis 163
12. Roy Pfister 161
13. Kenny Guess 150

Casey Viator Picture Gallery

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