Victor Jr., the 650-pound wrestling bear, met his match yesterday.
After it went 4-0 in the ring at the D. C. Armory Wednesday night, the bear's owner packed up the vegetarian beast's lettuce, carrots and winkies. The act was hounded out of town, he said, by the Humane Society of the U.S. and a business dispute with a promoter.
"I just called my father"--who is currently in Philadelphia with Victor Sr., another ursine wrestler--"and he said pack it up," owner Larry Truesdale growled.
The planned five-day stay of Victor Jr., which stands 7 feet 2 inches tall on his hind legs, at the Armory's Recreational Vehicle show was cut short just as the Humane Society was sending Mayor Marion Barry a mailgram urging him to stop the bear from wrestling humans.
"Over the years . . . his antics have severely and permanently injured people . . . . For the sake of the bear and the safety of the public we call on you . . . to bring a halt to this exploitative and cruel 'entertainment,' " wrote John A. Hoyt, president of the society.
Truesdale said they have Victor Jr. mixed up with Victor Sr., which has been known to get a little rough while wrestling. He contended Victor Jr. has only hurt two people. One man slapped the bear and was slapped back and the other pulled the bear's muzzle off, Truesdale said. "We tell 'em not to pull the muzzle off."
Truesdale said the business dispute is over advertisments saying men who pin the bear's front paws would win $1,000 and women$2,000.
"I don't let people wrestle him for money," he said. "You attract the wrong kind of people. This is for fun."
Truesdale said he turned one man away Wednesday night. "He was on drugs. You could tell by his eyes. I screen my people very carefully."
"The bear's being exploited for this man's living," a Humane Society member said. "Better he should be out selling tires."