T Nation

Ripper Ross

How many of y’all remember Don “Ripper” Ross? My roomates and I totally worshipped the guy and his columns in MD during college. That afro, the vascularity, the staged pics with fitness chicks…what a riot. We finally got to meet him in '94 when the Mr. O was held in Atlanta and he was so cool. At one point Sherilyn Godreau (who was a hot commodity at the time) came up and rubbed his traps and told him he looked bigger. “Ah,it’s just the shirt…” he said (keep in mind this was a classically cheesy Don Ho shirt). She ASKED HIM for his number and told him she’d call him to do lunch sometime. Classic. I remember when Ripped Fuel first came out - I read about it in his column so in classic newbie/grommet fashion I went out and bought some (I was 6’1" and 160-something). We popped some and ran around the dorm halls in our boxers scowling and hitting wrestling poses saying we had “that ripper feeling.” With gyms so full of inflated egos and low self-esteems running rampant, it’s nice to reflect on the few characters who’ve really made the iron game colorful. Just wanted to share my tribute to Don who’s columns and attitude kept me laughing and psyched. Thanks Chief, RIP.

I, too, remember Don Ross with fondness. In an era when bodybuilders wouldn’t even publicly use the word steroids, Don represented the beginnings of the more open and real world we inhabit today, for better or worse. A buddy of mine who is a few years older went to school with Don (Michigan State) and tells some great stories. Ross was obviously in terrific shape at all times, but also enjoyed having fun. I saw him around at various contests in the '80s, like Mr. Michigan and the early Olympia’s held in Columbus, but never met him other than to shake his hand.

Another character who went to school in East Lansing at the same time and turned IFBB pro was Roger Callard, a minor player in the Venice scene in the '70s (he's in the scene in "Pumping Iron" where he's throwing the football around, with Ken and Robbie Robinson).