Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Carter Anderson Keeps a Family Tradition Alive

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ever since Brad Anderson and I became friends, his youngest son Carter was always afoot. Carter was always angling to get into a wrestling ring, even as he had just seemingly learned to walk. He got involved in the finish of a match at an outdoor show at his grandmother's church once, he couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. It was all for fun, but even at that young age, he was fearless and always willing. I wrote in the epilogue to my book "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" that Gene Anderson would have been proud of his grandson that day. Brad later laughed and told me his father probably would have rolled over in his grave if he knew his grandson was in the ring without any real training. Gene was fiercely protective of the business.

Carter changed all that when he enrolled at George South's pro wrestling training school at the Highspots.com facility in Charlotte several years back. South had his hand in training the kids of several of the biggest names in the business including Ricky Steamboat's son Ricky Jr., Ric Flair's son Reid, Bobby Eaton's son Dillon, and most recently Tully Blanchard's daughter Tessa (not to mention his own son, George Jr.) So it seemed only fitting that an Anderson should be added to that list. And Carter Anderson was a natural.

Brad and Carter Anderson - Tournament Winners
Anderson Brothers Classic Tag Team Tournament (2013)
A year or so later, again in a fun little finish to a tribute show to Gene and Ole Anderson known as the "Anderson Brothers Classic Tag Team Tournament", Carter actually teamed with his father Brad. His Dad did all the work in the match of course, Carter was still a pretty young kid. But when Brad had one of their opponents stunned and staggering on his feet, he tagged in young Carter who did the prettiest flying body press from the top rope that you've ever seen. He got the three count and won the tournament trophy with his Dad, and in so doing, honored his grandfather - - the great Gene Anderson, the founder of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

What few people realized in the building that night was that young Carter Anderson was wearing his grandfather's wrestling boots. Yes, those boots - - "Anderson boots"- - the famous maroon-and-gold striped boots that were a trademark of the Anderson Brothers going back to the mid-1960s.

Brad had started bringing his Dad's boots to the ring with him when he wrestled in the mid-2000s. He would hang the boots over the turnbuckle in the corner where they would stay during his matches. It was a tradition started in 2005 at a big wrestling legends show in Spartanburg, SC, and Brad continued to do it for several years to follow.

Now Carter carries on that tradition, just in a different way.

Carter is not currently training. I'm not sure if he still wants to wrestle professionally or not, but it's clear that he loves honoring his grandfather. When he comes to some of George South's shows, especially the Anderson Brothers tribute shows, he always brings his grandfather's famous boots with him. Sometimes his ring jacket, too, and even the hickory cane Gene carried with him when he was a manager.

With Carter Anderson
holding Gene Anderson's wrestling boots.
Sometimes he brings them to events just because he knows I get a kick out of seeing them. Such was the case recently when Carter attended the "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Hall of Heroes" dinner banquet. David Chappell and I were being recognized that night for our work on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website alongside others who were being honored for their work in the wrestling business. When we shook hands after not having seen each other in well over a year, Carter smiled and said "I brought the boots." This meant something to me because it meant something to Carter, just bringing them in the first place. He knew how much we all loved just seeing the boots. They were iconic of a wonderful time in our lives - - David, George, myself - - growing up and watching the Anderson Brothers dominate pro-wrestling.  I respect how this kid, now growing into a young man, puts so much thought into honoring the memory of his grandfather and helping keep a grand family tradition alive - - those famous Anderson boots.

It was a magic night, having Bob Caudle induct the Mid-Atlantic Gateway into the Hall of Heroes Class of 2016 (Bob a member of the inaugural Class of 2007 himself), and receiving our plaques. But Carter's gesture was just as special. I was as honored standing there holding his grandfather's boots as I was standing on the rostrum later that night. 

Don't miss another story posted here of another one of Gene's grandsons keeping Anderson traditions alive: Another in the Long Line of Anderson Championships