The Southeast Missourian – January 16, 1956
The march of Dimes Polio Fund will receive a financial lift Friday night at the Arena when the Odd Fellows turn over their share of gate receipts of the wrestling matches to this worthy cause. Leonard Thomas, local wrestling promoter said that this polio benefit card has the greatest array of wrestling talent that he has ever been able to assemble for a single night’s wrestling.
Topping the card in the main event will be Ike Eakins, 266 pounds, pitted against Ed Gardenia, 255-pound Italian from Rome, Italy in a 2 best out of 3 falls, 1 hour time limit match.
In the semifinal event, five professional colored girl wrestlers will engage in a battle royal elimination tournament. Babs Wingo, Ethel Johnson, Louise Green, Betty White and Kathleen Wimbley, all wrestlers, will battle until just 2 girls are left. Then the finalists will wrestle a 1 fall or 30-minute time limit match. This will be the first time that this type of match has been attempted in this Arena.
Finas Hall, 230-pound East St Louisan will trade holds with Ray Villmer, 220-pound Kansas City veteran in a 1 fall or 30-minute time limit opening professional match.
Four young amateur wrestlers in the paperweight division will wrestle a 1 fall or 10-minute time limit amateur tag team match. Gene Pridemore, 78 pounds and Jack Smith, 81 pounds, will team up against Bobby Nelson, 90 pounds and Charles Howard, 80 pounds in this special Polio Fund match.
The opening amateur match will bring together Thomas Aherns, 195 pound Cape State student and ‘Mighty Atom’ Herman, 195-pound St. Louis amateur in a 1 fall or 10-minute match. Aherns has been a member of the Odd Fellows Wrestling class for less than 2 months but his natural ability and strength has established him as one of the best amateurs in this area.