Monday, October 24, 2016

Lars Anderson Would Kick Santa in the Teeth

by Bob O'Connell
St. Cloud Times Staff Writer, December 18, 1968

A brassy new Buick will roll down St. Germain Wednesday evening, and behind the wheel will ride a former Granite City resident who Is one of the most hated, successful men in sports.

His name is Larry Heiniemi, better known to professional wrestling fans as Lars Anderson. With former All-American football player and fellow St. Cloud State College alumnus Les Wolff, the two will bring more than 500 pounds of brawn to the wrestling card that starts at 8:30 in the St. Cloud Armory.

Profits of the match will go to the St. Cloud State athletic scholarship fund.

Lars is a villain, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

In the last 18 months, his furiously competitive profession has taken him to tobacco country, where he has received the same heartfelt welcome from the Bible Belt as Sherman got at Atlanta. It is more of a truism in wrestling than in any other sport that nice guys finish last, with the exception of Vern Gagne, Larry's first trainer.

At the box, where it counts, the big folding green goes to the guys who push old ladies down in the street and resort to the roughest, basest tactics to win in the ring.

Wednesday night with Larry "Pretty Boy" Hennig, will be teamed a vicious, hulking half of "The Minnesota Wrecking Crew" tag team that terrorized the Southeast for 18 months. But the crowd will also be looking at a 1964 Olympic Wrestling team inductee. Lars Andersen knows his wrestling.

Besides a handful of Midwest AAU titles, Heiniemi also won the Canadian National Wrestling Championship in 1985 and took all NIC honors in football.

Why the name change to Anderson?

"My last name was too difficult for people to spell and remember in the South, and now that I'm back wrestling in Minnesota, I don't want to change back because half the wrestling world now knows me as Anderson," he explained.

Anderson has come a long way way since be first stood before Vern Gagne in the summer of 1966, a skimpy 215 pounds. Gagne set up a makeshift ring on his farm that summer and put him through his paces. After eight weeks of learning to fall, move, defend himself and pile on pounds without adding fat, Heiniemi was finally unveiled by his tutor In the Twin Cities.

His determination is obvious in and out of the ring, and it is comforting to know that, in a world of flower children and psychedelic love, the world is not all full of good fairies. There are still a few guys around who would unabashedly kick Santa in the teeth to be No. 1.

* * * * *
December 18, 1968 - St. Cloud Armory
Benefit for the St. Cloud State College Scholarship Fund

Lars Anderson & Larry Hennig vs. Cowboy Bill Watts & Billy Red Lyons 
2-of-3 Falls, 60 minute time limit

Les Wolff vs. Mike Riker

Viktor the Bear vs. Chris Markoff

Advance Ticket Outlets: Cecil's Bar, Rip Ripulski's, Little John's Pub

Thanks to Mark Eastridge for sending us this article.