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From The Desk of Clarence Bass

The Blond Bomber Is Online

Dave Draper is back. Every longtime observer of the bodybuilding scene knows the "Blond Bomber," as Dave was called in his heyday. I only met Dave one time, when he came to Albuquerque (in the mid-70s, I believe) to visit a family member and guest pose at one of our local contests, but his background is well-known.

Dave started serious training with weights when he was only 12--and never stopped. By the time he was 15, people were already remarking about his physique. After taking a summer job with Joe Weider, who was based in New Jersey at the time, Dave won the Mr. New Jersey title in 1962 while still in his teens, and then moved west to work for Weider's newly opened southern California operation. The rest is history, as they say. Draper became a bodybuilding superstar, winning the I.F.B.B. Mr. America and Mr. Universe in 1965 and 1966, and the Mr. World in 1970. Dave was all over the muscle magazines and even made a big splash in several well-publicized Hollywood movies.

Just as suddenly as he burst on the scene, Dave disappeared from the limelight. He stepped out of the bodybuilding scene when it started getting bigger and more competitive. Draper lost interest in competing - but not training. He moved to central California and made a name for himself making giant size wood furniture. He made a bed and some big chairs for Arnold.

After that, I lost track of Dave. Altogether, he disappeared from the bodybuilding scene for almost two decades. Then a few years ago, photos of a more mature and leaner-looking Dave Draper started popping up here and there. I remember thinking that the new incarnation looked better than the Dave Draper of old, who inspired thousands, perhaps millions, through the pages of the muscle mags and other media.

In January of this year, Dave called to talk about web sites. Needless to say, we talked about more than the benefits of being online. He's now 56; he's six feet and weighs 220. Dave tells me he's always stayed in shape. Take a look at the nearby photo, and you'll see that he's done more than that. He looks terrific!

Dave today, in his Santa Cruz Gym.
(Neveux photo, courtesy of Dave)

Dave is easy to talk to and quite down to earth. He describes himself as an "intuitive bodybuilder." I interpreted that to mean that he listens to his body and knows instinctively what it needs. Based on his photos, I'd say he has an extremely good ear. He seems to have internalized the wisdom that comes from a lifetime of hard and consistent training.

Later, I asked Draper what has kept him training after all these years. As his answer reveals, with Dave what you see is what you get. He's older and wiser, but he's still very much the Blond Bomber.

"The same good old fashioned reasons why I started: muscle, strength, health, well-being, endurance and significance. Later, I realized the pump, the burn, the muscle action, the exhilaration during and after the workout became distinctively essential. I've come to discover that my training establishes reference points and stability in my day by day living, regularly instructs me, humbles me.

"Other than that I love it and am a slobbering idiot without it'"

So thoughtful--and honest. You gotta love a guy like that.

Dave and wife Laree, who by the way is a computer whiz, now own and operate two World Gyms in Santa Cruz, California, which is about 75 miles south of San Francisco. What's more, they now have an excellent web site up and running.

To learn more about Dave Draper - and his views, on training secrets (he says the secret is there are no secrets), injuries, instinctive training, supersets, overtraining, nutrition, steroids and much more go davedraper.com.  (His book, Brother Iron, Sister Steel is available from us, $24.95 + $4.00 media or $6.00 priority. See information about his new book, see Article 61)

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone:(505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com, FAX (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.

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Copyright © 1999 by Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.