Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Voices from the Past: Donnell Culpepper on John Tarantino (1960)

My recent trip to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Casting Club reminded me that tournament casting has a long and brilliant history. No star in the history of the sport burned brighter than San Francisco's John Tarantino. A prodigy, he was world champion in his teens and when this article, written by Long Beach Independent outdoor scribe Donnell Culpepper on 30 September 1960, he was already three time defending champion. He broke several world records and soon after retired. Tragically, like Johnny Dieckman (also a member of the U.S. team and professional world champion caster), he died far too early.

A SEVEN-MAN U. S. castting team won the international casting tournament in Zurich, Switzerland, capturing both the amateur and professional combined all-around championship. The U. S. casters set three world records and won 23 of 32 contests.

Competing against the world's finest casters from 11 nations, the Americans swept three first places in the combined all-around and won the first leg on the Garcia Cup.

Jon Tarantino, San Francisco, spearheaded the U. S. triumph to win his fourth connective combined title with 13,622.2 points. In second and third places were Steve Aleshi, Kansas City, Mo., and Ben Fontaine, New Orleans.

The trophy, which is considered the decathalon award of casting, was presented by Thomas T. Lenk, president of the Garcia Corporation. Tarantino already had retired a previous trophy by winning it three years in succession.

Johnny Dieckman, Costa Mesa, world professional champion, had a major share in the victory. He won 12 of 16 professional events and the combined all-around professional title with 14,024.4 points.

Others on the American team were Robert A. Budd, Jeffersonville, Ind.; Myron C. Gregory, Oakland, Calif., and Edward R. Lanser, St. Louis.

-- Dr. Todd

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