I VISITED IRON MAN
By Wayne Gallasch
(Article published in Iron Man magazine, Vol. 43 Number 3, March 1984.
Front cover was Jeff King and rear cover was Clarence Bass.)
*See photo of Mabel Rader's 100th birthday party at the bottom of this page.
Over the last 16 years I have written countless letters to Peary and Mabel Rader in Alliance, Nebraska, enclosing photos, articles and hundreds of subscriptions. However, Alliance seemed like it could be on another planet, as it is so far away from my home city of Adelaide, approximately 12,000 miles southwest of Nebraska.
This year (1983) I finally had the opportunity to visit with Peary at Iron Man Industries, as Tom Lincir of Ivanko Barbell Co. and I were attending the N.N.F.A. Health Food Convention in Denver, just one hour’s flying time from Alliance by light aircraft. We made the early flight with a minute to spare, getting lost on the way to the Denver Airport.
On arrival in Alliance, a small farming town of 7700 people, right in the center of the USA, we were met by Peary and Mabel and taken back to their office. I was treated with such warmth and kindness that this day’s visit was a very special event I will never forget, and I endeavored to learn as much as possible about Peary’s lifetime efforts in developing Iron Man as I could. I was kindly allowed to take all the photos I wished as I knew this was an experience that may not come my way again. (See photos below.)
I was amazed by the huge stock and variety of gym equipment contained in several large storage buildings. It was heavy duty and quite a surprise to me as I am also in the equipment business and did not expect to find here in Alliance the largest warehouse of equipment I have ever seen. Many customers visit Iron Man to personally collect their equipment and also it is shipped to all parts of the USA. In some parts of the warehouse, the equipment was packed so tightly there was hardly room to walk.
My next surprise was the total printing process carried out at Iron Man Industries from the layout, making of black and white negatives to the printing of the magazine on a huge press, installed by Peary as he is quite a printing engineer as master printer. The printing is now done by Peary’s son Gene. The printing press prints 8 pages at a time and these are then cut and folded to produce the finished magazines. It is generally agreed that Iron Man is the most respected magazine in the field and over the last 48 years, Peary and Mabel have built the magazine from a tiny newsletter to a superb 100 plus page magazine.
In another corner of the building there is an assorted pile of brightly colored ELEIKO Olympic plates from Sweden, IVANKO Weights and other small Body Culture Equipment items. How Peary controls this conglomeration of magazine work, equipment sales, printing equipment and motor homes is beyond my comprehension unless he works a 15-hour day, which I suspect he does.
On a lighter note, I feel I should mention the famous strip of lawn in front of the Iron Man offices, which Peary states is the world’s worst lawn. I cannot disagree, and with a little luck the lawn (weeds) may die this winter so that a fresh start can be made!
Peary writes his famous editorials from a small office adorned with plaques and awards paying tribute to his many years of support to bodybuilding and weightlifting. As an avid opponent of smoking, I was pleased to note the “Thank you for not smoking” signs displayed, and I only hope that every business will soon be displaying these signs.
I also saw files bulging with photos that have been sent in over the years, articles used and waiting to be used, a complete set of Iron Man Magazines together with hundreds of other bodybuilding magazines and weight training books. I saw Peary’s basement home gym, complete with Magic Circle, which he still uses, and other items he has collected over the years.
My final indulgence was a personal one and that was browsing through the many books and coursed stocked by Iron Man and in most cases, printed by them as well. I am an avid book collector and it was a purchased of books for my local mail orders back in the mid sixties which was my first contact with the Raders. I am still involved with books, and on this day I was able to peruse many new titles before offering them for Australia.
The day’s visit had passed very quickly and I felt exhausted from all I had seen as well as suffering from jet lag from the long journey from Australia. I must pay tribute to the tremendous support given Peary by his wife Mabel. She has enormous energy, drive and enthusiasm and it will be a sad day when Iron Man is no longer produced by the Rader family. May they continue in strength for many more years and it has been my privilege to be involved with such fine Christian people spreading the gospel of weight training as part of a full and balanced life.
Although many bodybuilders and weight trainers visit Alliance, I can’t recall ever seeing an article concerning a visit to Iron Man Industries due to Peary’s extreme modesty. I thank Peary for allowing me to write this brief report so that I may share my experience with all readers of Iron Man.
Thank you to Tom Lincir for taking the photos in which I am included.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Besides his involvement with Iron Man magazine, Wayne Gallasch, the author of this article, has over the years since 1966, photographed, filmed or videotaped all the world’s greatest physiques. Based in Australia, Wayne and Tina run GMV Productions, producing DVDs on bodybuilding, fitness and strength.
Mabel Rader's 100th birthday party, Alliance, Nebraska on June 17th, 2017. Dr Terry Todd is on the right.