Gold’s Classic 1976

Authors’ Note: Bob Kennedy, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Muscle Mag Annual 77, wanted to include a very short article about the First Annual Gold’s Classic held on November 13, 1976. Believe me, writing so few words about such an exhilarating event was a huge challenge. Several of the competitors went on to become very well known.

First Annual
Mike Armstrong and Irene L. Hause

Santa Monica, California was the scene of the first Annual Gold’s Classic. The well-organized November 13 [1976] event drew 2,505 people to watch 39 contestants compete in three divisions. The list of guest posers was incredibly impressive—Lou Ferrigno, Bill Grant, Sergio Oliva, Dan Padilla, Robby Robinson and Kalman Szkalak. Ferrigno has been permanently lured from the eastern snows to sunny California and is training for the Olympia.

Trophies to the over-40 winners were presented by no less than boxing superstar Ken Norton and the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As soon as Tony Pearson walked on stage there was no doubt who’d take the title in the teenage division. With his already outstanding definition and symmetry, the addition of more size should soon put this young Los Angeles muscle builder in the front ranks of bodybuilding.

The decision naming David Rogers, the current Mr. Tennessee, as overall winner in the open competition was a difficult one to make. His closest competition was Andreas Cahling, a relative newcomer to bodybuilding, who is another man to watch. The 23-year-old native from Sweden has made fantastic improvements in the short six months he’s been training in the United States.

The choice of smiling 49-year-old Joe Nista as overall winner in the Over-40 group wasn’t an easy pick either. A very disappointed 42-year-old Dr. Bill Howard lost to the seemingly ageless Nista in a posedown that was accompanied by a very vocal audience.

Winners in each division were as follows:

Overall: Tony Pearson
Short Class

1. Tony Pearson
2. Frank Pantoja
3. Rodolfo Hermosillo

Tall Class
1. Jim Yasenchok
2. Ron Mosely
3. Bill Ford


Overall: David Rogers

Short Class

1. Andreas Cahling
2. Dominic Di Betta
3. Mike Sable

Tall Class

1. David Rogers
2. John Brown
3. Jim Rowe

Overall: Joe Nista

Short Class

1. Joe Nista
2. Giorlando Castronovo
3. Bill West

Tall Class

1. Bill Howard
2. Cliff Ford
3. Victor Seipke

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