Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do you know Larry Koester?

2010 photo of Larry in action!
Do you know Larry Koester?  Sure, I am confident you could pick him out at a tractor pull or in a room full of people, but do you truly know him?   Do you know the family man that he is?  Have you seen his eyes well up and his heart melt at the site of his granddaughter?  Do you know the successful businessman that operates a company from his home in Wadesville, Indiana?  Have you looked beyond the surface to gather an understanding of how this man has become the giant that he is in so many people's lives?

I ask these questions not to exude some arrogance for the knowledge I have of Larry and his family but more to encourage all of you to look beyond his initial appearance and see the real him.  Don't just allow yourself to assume you may know his character because you watched him make a full pull or heard him ask for help for the kids of Northwest Ohio.  Those actions are daily. They are ingrained in the man that is Larry Koester and are more of the makeup of this man than a measure of his character. 
Carsen meets Grandpa!

As you all know, I often draw on my childhood in the sport to find comparisons and a stronger understanding of what truck and tractor pulling is today.  As a child growing up within pulling there were few people that impacted my life more than Larry Koester.  I knew Larry Koester before he was the successful professional tractor puller that spent his off season at appearances and meet and greets for his sponsor Shell.  I knew Larry Koester when he traveled the circuit with a Chevy dually and a short enclosed trailer, but my true understanding of who he is didn't occur until I looked beyond Larry's physical appearance and saw the man he is inside.  The lessons that Larry can teach one are immeasurable and grow depending upon the amount of time you can invest with him.  

The big walk, as he escorts Ashley!
To see Larry standing tall on his daughter Ashley's wedding day was truly an experience that I will never forget, but to those who know him, there are no legs to be worn that can make him as tall as we see him already.  Larry is a loving husband, a proud father, a successful businessman, a professional puller, a tireless philanthropist, but most of all he is real.  He has the ability to share a moment with everyone; from a young boy who Larry helped gain a wish with the Make a Wish organization, to an adoring fan on the sidelines at a pull or a Fortune 500 Companies CEO, Larry can look a person square in the eye and gain their respect for more than just his character in the face of adversity.

What makes this man tick is an undying self motivation, a focus on being successful and a true devotion to go above and beyond the norm.  His passion and zest for life are contagious, spreading through his inner circle like a wild fire.  He stays grounded by pouring himself into the things his most passionate about, his family, his friends, pulling and music.  Did I ask if you knew of Larry's love of music?  Have you heard his baritone voice belt out an Elvis song?  If you haven't heard him sing, I challenge you to join in on one of the impromptu karaoke sessions conducted on his John Deere Gator after a pull.  Watching him sing will only punctuate Larry's strong passion for life!

Larry signs autographs with Bill Goldberg!
One may ask the question, how do I know Larry Koester?  The answer is simple.  Though I have grown taller, Larry still reaches my height in every occurrence.  Larry's favorite saying is:  "You don't need feet to kick butt".  What Larry has taught me is you don't need feet for a lot of things especially the measure of a man.

Do you know Larry Koester?  Do you truly know him?

Photo credit to Tracy Waters

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