My Story - From Physical Culture to Mr. America continued (pg 6)
company and became a journeyman multi-color printing pressman. I followed this trade after leaving broadcasting until retirement.
In addition to my full time printing job, I worked as night manager of the Autonetics Co. gym in Downey, California for a year in 1963. Autonetics was a subsidiary of North America Aviation. At the time, they were involved with the man on the moon project. They had a fabulous gym, complete with steam room for the company employees, both men and women -- on separate days -- free of charge.
In 1969, while still living in our home in Paramount, California, Virginia and I being "do it yourselfers" started to build our retirement home on a half acre of land in San Marcos, CA in San Diego county. I was still working at my full time printing job, so the only time we had to build was by commuting from our home in Paramount to our property in San Marcos on week-ends; holidays and during vacation time. It took us 3 years to complete the project. Today, I still enjoy working with wood. In 1964, I took up woodcarving as a hobby, carving plaques, signs, ducks, geese, fish etc. My largest project is a carousel horse for my wife, Virginia.
We moved into our new home on December 22, 1972. I continue to do weight exercises for about an hour 3 times a week; naturally, using much lighter weights than in the past. In addition to working out with the weights, I waslk briskly for 3 miles five times a week for cardiovascular health. I hope your readers have enjoyed my life story and I wish them all good health for years to come - Roland Essmaker 1939 Mr. America.
A SHORT HISTORY OF MR. AMERICA TITLE WINNERS
By Osmo "John" Kiiha
The first "Mr. America" contest was won by Bert Goodrich, June 10, 1939, in Amsterdam, New York. This contest was open to professionals and amateurs alike. The contest was not sanctioned by the A.A.U., or for that matter, by any official organization. Johnnie Hordines was the contest director.
If you turn to page 9 of this issue, you will see the poster that was used to advertise the contest. Very clearly under the date Saturday, June 10, 1939 at 6 p.m. you can see the phrase, "...to select the Finest Physique in the United States as representing Mr. America..." All throughout the poster, the words "Mr. America" appear. Why am I pointing these facts out? In some quarters of our game, some writers would have us believe that the contest Goodrich won was never represented as a Mr. America contest -- only as "America's Finest Physique contest." I hope this poster lays these claims to rest.
The second Mr. America of 1939, was won by Roland J. Essmaker, July 04, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois. The Mr. America contest was held in conjunction with the National Senior Weight Lifting Championships. The contest was sanctioned by the central A.A.U. weightlifting committee. Another interesting point was the physique contestants were required to compete in the weightlifting event. The front cover of the official program is featured on page 10 of this issue (I have a complete copy of the program.)
Roland J. Essmaker was the first official A.A.U. Mr. America. Roland holds a trophy both from the A.A.U. and also one from Strength and Health Magazine which has the inscription "The Bob Hoffman Trophy Awarded to Mr. America of 1939."