Founder: Boyer Coe and Mike Luquette
Year of Conception: 1977
Origin: Rayne, Lousiana
Notes: BodyMasters started when famed golden-era bodybuilder Boyer Coe set out to open his gym in the mid-70s. At the time, the standard for gym equipment was Nautilus, which was expensive. To get around the expense, Boyer hired an oilfield welder named Mike Luquette, and together they outfitted their gym with their creations.
One of the first pieces they made was a selectorized leg extension machine. It was only a short time until visitors and friends of Boyers started asking where they could buy their own equipment. Boyer, being an entrepreneur, saw an opportunity, and the two started Mike's Bodybuilding Equipment. Early on, they decided to change the name and adopted the name of the gym where the idea was conceived; Boyer Coe's "BodyMasters."
The company's success increased throughout the 80s and 90s, outfitting gyms, recreation centers, and studios nationwide. BodyMasters was one of the first companies to utilize the belt drive in the United States after visiting a few European manufacturers. Mike worked with 3M to develop a belt design that was less suseptable to expansion and contraction from temperature shifts. Before the new design, the machines had to be constantly adjusted.
Eventually, Boyer sold his stake in the company and pursued other ventures. Unfortunately, many equipment manufacturers that remained committed to American manufacturing and quality struggled in the late 90s. Competition from outsourcing and rising steel prices led to the demise of production. BodyMasters was in a slow decline and eventually filed for bankruptcy.
In 2009 manufacturing operations were officially shut down, and Knight Companies acquired the facility. Mike Luquette went to work for ProMaxima. BodyMasters equipment continues to be highly sought after to this day due to its robust construction and well-thought-out biomechanics.
Known Associates: ProMaxima, Arsenal, Wilder Fitness