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Leroy Colbert - 10 years old                                                                                     Leroy Colbert - 18 years old




Dress in full motorcycle winter gear on a cold day in New York City. You could not keep Leroy Colbert from riding his beloved Harley

I don’t know how many of you have experienced a euphoric period in your life, when you felt everything was going your way. You could see nothing but the rainbow, but in a virtual instant, your life would change dramatically forever. I was on a roll, I had won the Mr. New York City Contest and I improved enough to then win the Eastern America title. My arms measured over 19 inches and I was just 20 years old. My mentor, Joe Weider, who affectionately called me “monster” said, “You look great, next year I am sending you to the Mr. Universe contest in London, so train hard and I know you will win.” Boy did I feel on top of the world, I couldn’t wait to start serious training for the challenge of my life. I said, “Joe, as soon as I get back from the motorcycle convention in New Hampshire, I am going to grow bigger right before your eyes.” “You and that motorcycle, I don’t like them.” Joe said. I laughed at Joe and said, “You are just scared, riding is so exciting, it is like taming a mechanical bull.” Of course macho Leroy had the most powerful motorcycle they made at the time, a full size 74 Harley Davidson. Talk about feeling you have it all, a prize-winning body, a great job with Joe Weider’s magazine, the thrill of riding my Harley, and the prospects of winning the Mr. Universe. Can life possibly have any more to offer? I was bursting with youthful energy and enthusiasm.


Freezing weather did not keep Leroy and 2 of his riding buddies off of our motorcycles. Left to right Mitchell Allen A.K.A.the speeder, Leroy Colbert A.K.A.windy, and my life long friend James Scott A.K.A. MR. caution.


Off I went on our bikes, with six of my bodybuilding buddies and our girl friends to Laconia. We had a great week of fun, riding your bike with your girl sitting behind you; her arms wrapped around your waist, making you feel omnipotent. If you have never had the thrill of driving a big roaring Harley Davidson, I don’t think I can explain it without writing a book. The touring bikes of the day had the big so-called buddy seats, two platforms rests for the driver, and behind them there were 2 collapsible rods for the passenger’s feet. My girl friend complained of cramps in her feet from resting on the rods, and asked if she could stretch them out on the driver’s platforms for a while. At the time, the mountain road was barren and quiet, so I felt it was okay. There was no place to put my feet; I just held them straight out to the left and right.

Then, on the trip home to New York, on a narrow winding road, a car at high speed was passing on a blind curve. The scene turned from a clear view to a car speeding toward me. I instinctively swerved left into a cornfield to avoid a head on, certain death collision. As luck would have it, as I cut across the car with my feet sticking out, the tip of my foot got caught on the bumper of the car, severing it from the leg. The tear was so swift and complete I felt no pain, just a sudden, spent feeling, as though all the blood was suddenly drained from my body. Only a well-conditioned, young, weight trained body could have survived that instant, devastating trauma and still function. I was fighting to maintain control of the bike as it sped off the road into the tall cornfield. I didn’t know at the time, that my foot was dangling from my leg. Only the boot kept it attached to my body. The tear was so violent, that the bone tore through the side of the boot. If I hadn’t worn boots but wore sandals or loafers like some riders did, I would have left my foot on the highway. Of course, I had to have the entire riding regalia: boots, aviator cap, jeans and fancy goggles, macho time.

I was beginning to loose consciousness, not able to use the foot brake, because the message from the brain to the leg was short circuited because of the severe injury. My girl friend was screaming that the car hit us. I was feeling weak, desperately trying to stay on the bike. “Shut up,” I shouted, “the car didn’t hit us.” In desperation, I grasped the hand brake with all my might, to stop the bike from speeding across the cornfield. My actions locked the front wheel throwing us high into the air with my girl holding on to me for dear life. I landed flat on my chest and face, with my girl on top of me, she didn’t have a scratch. All those bench presses paid off, those pecs were like cushions.

When my buddies who were behind me arrived, I was lying on the ground still not knowing the extent of my injuries. I was conscious and felt no pain, just a little weak and embarrassed that I went down. I laughingly said, “Okay guys; help me up so we can get to New York.” There was complete silence. Six of my buddies standing over me just staring. I began to internally panic, something was wrong. I said, “Help me up guys, and let’s get going.” Not knowing what was wrong and feeling too macho to think I was seriously injured. It is amazing how you can be so severely injured and feel no pain. It was later explained to me, that the no pain phenomenon was because my nerve connections were severed, preventing the transmission of pain to the brain. “Help me up; what the hell are you guys waiting for?” I yelled. Johnny said, “We are waiting for the ambulance.” No, I panicked, I was struggling to get up but I was not succeeding. Then to stop me from thrashing around trying to get up, Johnny sat on me, the ultimate insult in my book. “Are you crazy? What is wrong with you guys?” I asked. Then one of the girls exclaimed in horror, “my God look at his leg” and began to scream. Reality crashed into my brain, I could no longer escape, and denial had kept me conscious. I then slipped into unconsciousness, awakening sometime later in a small hospital, in New Hampshire.

Bodybuilding was not widely known in the fifties, and if you were unusually built, people thought you were a football player. The doctors thought just that, because they explained to me how they feverishly tried to reattach my ankle in an effort to save my career. They believed I must have been a hell of a football player, to have such a well-developed body. Ordinarily, the doctor said, on an injury as sever as mine, they normally cut off the injured part and shorten the leg to avoid complications. Bodybuilding saved me from being a gimp, with a shortened leg. I don’t know how well I would have handled that one with my big ego at the time. “Hey doc,” I said, “how long does it take to recover from an injury such as mine?” “A young guy like you, at least eight weeks.” the Doc said. Cut that in half I will be raring to go in four weeks. Little did I know what was in store for me, because I was injured in a dirty cornfield, a lot of bacteria got into the wound. The doctors in their concentration on the injury didn’t clean the wound properly before sewing me up. Consequently, infection set in the anklebone, requiring a few subsequent operations to correct the infection problem.


I put this faded picture on the site because it was taken on the day of my near fatal motorcycle accident. Just 3 of us were in the picture although there were many more of us in our party. Johnny Serrano, James Scot and Leroy Colbert never dreamt what was in store for me that day.

After a month in the New Hampshire hospital, I was transferred to the Hospital of Joint Disease, in New York City where the final blow to my competive career came to past. The chief surgeon at the hospital told me they must freeze the ankle with pins because the pivotal joints had been destroyed. What a mental come down that was. So I smashed my ankle, big deal, I can still train and make the Mr. Universe. But with a frozen ankle it is over, my competitive bodybuilding career is over at 21 years of age, the height of youthful arrogance. I never stopped bodybuilding, it is in my blood, but my dream of winning multiple awards would have to be shelved.

A year after my accident my right leg in a plaster cast from the ankle to above the knee.

 My son crying as usual.

Leroy Colbert's pride and joy, straddling his bike. A bad picture can't take away from that beautiful bike, quite a difference from my winter bike. My solo pose taken on a day that changed my life forever.

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