The ABA began as a series of small contests I held in my Southern California gym and today the ABA is the world’s premier natural bodybuilding association holding contests all over the world. This progress was not the result of luck or simply throwing money at the project. It happened because there was a need: thoughtful athletes realized that the drug usage associated with strength training and bodybuilding was contrary to good health, sportsmanship, and the true spirit of athletics. The success of the ABA is directly attributed to the magical combination of great athletes and staff personnel sharing my vision of a world-class bodybuilding association. Of these things we can all be exceedingly proud.
Train Hard, Train Smart, Train Natural
Denny S. Kakos
The ABA has its roots in the early contests promoted by Denny Kakos as an outreach for his Mt Olympus Health Spa. The first competition was held in 1977, The Hercules Aphrodites, the Overall Champion was Karl Marshall, who still competes with the ABA today! Denny began his promoting career by holding small competitions in his gym, then later moving them into the city auditorium.
Denny soon began promoting contests under the auspices of the NPC. He promoted the first NPC natural contest, The California Natural Bodybuilding Championships, and it attracted 135 drug-free athletes. It was phenomenal success, and the NPC Chairman awarded Denny a plaque for innovation in natural bodybuilding.
With the popularity of natural contests, and his success as a promoter, Denny wanted to promote an NPC Natural National Qualifier, but the NPC was neither interested nor responsive.
Desiring to establish an association that would truly serve the athletes by promoting big title natural competitions, quality awards, and first-class run contests, and to make it a positive and fun experience for everyone involved. Wally Boyko, Pete Samra, and Denny Kakos formed the Amateur Bodybuilding Association (ABA). The Motto of the ABA was to “Serve the Natural Athletes.”