Recently while attending the 2011 WBFA Mr. Santa Cruz Bodybuilding Championships, I ran into Nito Gomez, who was like a bodybuilding “breath of fresh air”, when he started to remind me in great detail of how bodybuilding was when we were kids. This cat was like a bodybuilding historian. He even had history and magazine articles of me when I was a teenager…and Dan Dal Colletto (my crazy training partner)! He started telling me about competitions I had competed in that were resting somewhere deep in my memory banks, about the days when winning best poser and other sub-division awards was almost as meaningful as winning the overall title. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and ask him a few questions about his life in the sport.
P.M. What got you interested in the sport of Bodybuilding?
Nito: Growing up I used to always watch Big Time Wrestling from Oakland on Channel 2 and Channel 36. I was a big fan of Superstar Billy Graham, a bodybuilder who turned pro wrestler. At the time, one of my dreams was to become a pro wrestler. That was in 1972. I started weight training in 1977 when I was 12 years old.
P.M. And when did you decide to get into competition?
Nito: In 1981, when I was 16 years old. It was the Teen Mr. San Francisco. I got 6th out of 16 teens and also won Best Poser. I got 2nds and 3rds in several more teen contests before finally winning my division in the 1985 Novice Mr. Santa Clara County. My best show was probably the 1992 Jr. Mr. America, where I placed 2nd in the medium/tall class.
P.M. Also you mentioned that you did some pro wrestling?
Nito: Yes. In 1988 I got involved in pro wrestling, which was a lifelong dream of mine, and attended the Gerry Monti and Alexis Smirnoff training school in Hayward, Ca. At that time Lee Moran, who was the first man ever to squat 1,000 lbs, was also a student. I wrestled for the WWF in the late 80's and 90's whenever they came to the bay area, and also won some regional titles such as the Pacific Coast tag team title twice and the IWA Inter Continental title in southern California. On and off during that time I continued entering bodybuilding shows. Now at 46 years old and 8 years away from the stage (last show was in 2003), I’ve decided to get back into competition.
Below is a list of some of Nito’s bodybuilding accomplishments:
1981 AAU Teen San Francisco - 6th place and Best Poser (first contest)
1985 NPC Novice Mr. Santa Clara County - 1st place middleweight class
1987 NPC Mr. Central California - Overall title plus Best Poser and Most Muscular
1987 AAU Mr. Northwestern America - Overall title plus Best Poser and Most Muscular
1989 NPC Novice Mr. Los Angeles - 1st place tall class
1992 AAU Mr. Contra Costa County - Overall title
1992 AAU Junior Mr. America - 2nd place medium/tall class
2003 NPC Emerald Cup - 5th place heavyweight
2003 NPC Orange County Classic - 5th place heavyweight
2011 INBA Mr. Los Angeles - 2nd place Masters over 40
P.M. Wow, that adds up to about 30 years in the game, with quite a few wins. What do you enjoy most about the sport of bodybuilding?
Nito: More than winning, I just enjoy being onstage again, seeing old friends after many years and meeting new ones, traveling to the shows, trying to improve my physique at my age, etc. God willing, I’ll be competing someday in the 50 and over, 60 and over, etc., age divisions in bodybuilding.
P.M. Besides bodybuilding, are there any other sports or hobbies you’re involved in?
Nito: I also teach tennis lessons to all age groups from tiny tots through adults, and currently coach high school tennis. But the majority of my salary is made by drawing caricatures at parties and events all over California & Nevada. I also make figurines and statues. For anyone who would like to contact me, here are my websites:
P.M. From all of us at Physique Magnifique, we want to thank you for sharing with us Nito, and we look forward to speaking with you again in the near future.