Somewhat recently, I had put pen to paper and had written about the iconic golden-era bodybuilder, Dave Draper, "The Blonde Bomber." Recently feels like a decade ago with the pandemic separating then from now, but in reality, it has been only a few years.
The first article, It Has Something To Do With The Struggle, was published on elitefts.com in September of 2018. The second article, The End Of An Era? was published on elitefts.com in December of 2019. Two different articles about one significant individual. An individual whose impact and influence on the sport of bodybuilding began back in 1962 when he became Mr. New Jersey. An impact and influence that continued through the end of the golden era, while collecting Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and Mr. World titles along the way. And an impact and influence that continued tangibly for nearly another five decades through to 2019 via his films, appearances, books, and Iron Online newsletter. Iron Online newsletter ran from 1999 through 2019 with an estimated 800 issues. As someone who writes for elitefts, I can tell you that 800 issues is a staggering amount of work, and that volume of writing is an embodiment of passion for all things weights and the gym.
If you are a true student of the iron lifestyle, someone that literally can't imagine a life without weights and you are somehow not familiar with Mr. Draper, I highly suggest reading both articles starting with It Has Something To Do With The Struggle as learning about Dave Draper is the first step toward learning from Dave Draper.
Many students of the sport learn from Dave Draper through his books. His books are a collection of stories, experiences, life adventures, lessons, and personal observations put to paper (and audiobooks) that anyone with a passion for muscle, might, strength, iron, and steel would find themselves enamored with. Although I have read the books, I also have his audiobooks as well, as listening to his thoughts as one drives to the gym gives you more pre-training focus than the hardest of rock or rap anthems you could ever blare through your vehicle's sound system.
In this so-called "modern" world of 15-second video clips, 280 characters, quippy sound-bites, sensationalized bullet points, and short attention spans, Mr. Draper, through his writing, remained active and relevant through his meaningful sound advice vs. meaningless sound bites. Writings that unfurled the nature of the "why" one might lift vs. the low-hanging fruit of "what" one should lift.
Food for thought steeped in the authenticity and gravitas of personal experiences presented clearly and concisely, never shrouded in verbosity to sell the longer-lasting lightbulb or the latest and greatest ultra-trendy super-widget you never knew you needed. Instead, Mr. Draper waxed philosophical about what was true then, what is true now, what was true yesterday, and what will be true tomorrow and always...and that there are No Secrets.
No secrets. You get out of it, what you put into it; albeit said in the wonderfully beautiful and poetic writing style that Dave Draper is known for and that brings deep-seated common sense and honesty to his message of self-improvement through the world of weights, muscle, and power.
On November 30, 2021, Mr. Draper passed away at the age of 79, as confirmed by his wife Laree Draper.
In a 21st century world where loud voices attract attention yet have nothing of worth to say, Mr. Draper's soft-spoken words were and are, to this day, deeply saturated with insight and steeped in meaning, value, and worth.
During this time in history where the day's so-called gurus are here today and gone later that same day, Mr. Draper leaves a legacy to the lifting world through his books, newsletters, Q&A's, and timeless teachings. Timeless and invaluable as teaching from experience for the pure sake of wanting to help others become better versions of themselves is the noblest of pursuits. A pursuit that most men, when they all inevitably take a "Glimpse In The Rear View," will never have come close to attaining.
I hope you enjoy It Has Something To Do With The Struggle and The End Of An Era? as they introduce or perhaps re-introduce you to one of the faces of the golden era's Mt. Rushmore, Dave Draper, "The Blonde Bomber."
In closing, I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to Laree and the family and friends of Mr. Dave Draper.
Eric Maroscher is the owner of the Monster Garage Gym. Cofounded by Phil Daniels, NFL Defensive End, Monster Garage Gym is a premier powerlifting gym in the United States. Eric is the leader of the Maroscher Powerlifting Team, a two-time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, two-time APF National Powerlifting Champion, WPC North American Powerlifting Champion, and a multi-time APF Illinois State Champion.