Dallas Larry Pierce, born in 1936, was the second child of Dallas and Nellie Pierce. Larry was raised in Indianapolis with his older sister Jan and younger brother Russell. A recreational skater in his youth, he frequented the Indianapolis Coliseum but didn’t start competing until he graduated from high school—the same time that coach Danny Ryan moved to Indianapolis. Danny wanted to make the Winter Club of Indianapolis a dance center, and his first team was Larry and Marilyn Meeker. They won their first major competition, the bronze dance title, at the 1957 Midwesterns. The following year they won the Midwestern silver dance title and placed third at the 1958 U.S. Championships. In 1959 they were the U.S. silver dance champions. Larry and Marilyn followed Danny Ryan to Canada and Lake Placid for summertime training. Larry generously partnered with other dancers for their tests at Lake Placid and in many Midwestern cities.
Larry prepared for the 1960 season while simultaneously serving in the Marines. He and Marilyn placed second at the 1960 Nationals in Seattle and fifth at the 1960 Worlds in Vancouver. Seven weeks before the 1961 Nationals, Marilyn had an accident in practice and broke her ankle, eliminating her from competition for the season. Danny and Larry invited Diane Sherbloom of Los Angeles to compete with him. After five weeks of training, Larry and Diane won the 1961 U.S. dance title.