Thursday, April 26, 2007

CAC reunion photos by John Arthur Lowe

Random phots from the 2007 CAC Reunion
Photo Credit: John Arthur Lowe

CAC Reunion review -Newest Board Member Wes Daniel

Wow! What a Reunion! It’s 2:11 PM on Sunday, April 22 and I’m home after a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas. I’m functioning on only about three hours of sleep (one of them being the time I was on the airplane on the way home), so I’m not sure how coherent this will be, but I’ll do my best. And I will try to keep it short and sweet (those of you who came to the banquet should appreciate that!).

First, I want to thank the Board of Directors for the confidence they have displayed in my abilities by electing me to the CAC Board. It is truly on honor to serve this Club and cause that I feel so strongly about. I hope that, in some way, my service on the Board will allow me to give something back to the guys (and girls) who gave me so much enjoyment when I was growing up. From what came out of the Board meeting on Saturday, it looks like the Club is in a stronger, healthier and more financially sound position than it has ever been before.

There was a lot of sad news this weekend. Probably most striking was the addition of the "In Memoriam" section of the Memorabilia Fair. It is hard to believe that there were 57 names on those boards. I say this every year, but, it bears repeating; we never know when any of our times will be up, so we need to take every opportunity to appreciate those we know and care about. What an honor for me to have had the opportunity to meet and talk to Ernie Ladd, Ray Stern, Tiger Conway Sr. and Bob Orton Sr. before they died. I regret that I didn’t start attending CAC earlier and thus never had the chance to meet Lou Thesz, Curt Hennig and so many others who attended in years past.

I think that the entire Board of Directors greeted the departure of Red Bastien from and election of Nick Bockwinkel to the post of President with mixed emotions. There weren’t very many dry eyes in the house when Red accepted his Award of Appreciation of Saturday and we will all surely miss Red’s convivial and jovial nature; however, with his departure comes the promise of new ideas, new direction and different points of view. We look forward to working with Nick to grow the Club more and ensure its continuation to the next generation.

(Hey! Didn’t I promise to keep this short and sweet? Eh, what the heck, you’re not a captive audience; you can stop reading and come back anytime you want to.)
We had several new vendors at the memorabilia fair this year and I hope that all had success. Charlie Smith, of course, manned his post behind the registration desk threatening to "disqualify" people if they didn’t buy T-shirts and I, along with many other members, was quite pleased with the great new design!

Friday night’s "Baloney Blowout" (if I had a dollar for every question that I have been asked about that name, I’d be almost as rich as Uncle Karl!) was great. Greg Oliver and Scott D’Amore did a GREAT job hosting the event by keeping it moving and keeping it entertaining. These two guys were well-prepared, had great timing and delivered one of our better Blowouts! It was great that so many of our Canadian members had a chance to speak. Don Leo, Pat Patterson, The Hitman, Mad Dog, Pepper Martin and so many others shared memories, told jokes (if I hear another Viagra joke, I’m going to start worrying about our members!) and swapped road stories with the attendees and everybody enjoyed hearing the legends tell their stories.

The banquet facility was great. The room was very well laid out and tastefully decorated with a great wait staff; the food was good, and the comedic and musical stylings of Pat Patterson and Pepper "The Godfather" Martin were enjoyed by everybody.

Were there things that could have been done differently? Of course there were. But, saying that, we need to remember that in any event of this scope (13+ people to be honored, 350+ attendees) there will be areas where improvements can be made.

Doing some work "behind the scenes" this year made me realize the level of effort that goes into these events is unbelievable. Everybody involved – Karl Lauer, Nick Bockwinkel, Dean Silverstone, Gloria Lovell, Scott Hosey and others put an incredible amount of effort into planning and coordinating the event while others work to contribute in their ways to get people active in the Club.

I’m looking forward to 2008, back at The Riviera!

CAC Presidency Changes for 4th Time in Club History

Iron Mike Mazurki, Archie Moore, Lou Thesz, Red Bastien. These are some big shoes to fill.

That’s right, at the 2007 Board of Director’s meeting in Las Vegas, Red Bastien resigned his position as President of Cauliflower Alley Club. During Red’s tenure, we have seen our paid membership grow to new heights and have achieved a level of financial stability not seen before. Red has been a dedicated and popular leader at CAC and will be missed by all of us.

Stepping into the position of President of CAC is Nick Bockwinkel. Nick has been active in CAC for many years and already serves on the CAC Executive Committee. Nick hasn't announced any plans he has for the direction of the Club, but we are certain that, under Nick’s guidance, the Club will continue to grow and prosper.

The recognition of Red’s contributions on Saturday night’s banquet brought Red to tears and there were not many dry eyes in the house. Red is an incredible human being and is as genuine and kind as anybody. Red will, of course, continue his membership in CAC and we hope he will continue to be a fixture at reunions for many years to come.

Welcome, Nick! We look forward to working with you!

CAC 2008 - The Countdown Is On!

That's right, folks! We have it confirmed that CAC 2008 will be held April 17, 18 and 19 back at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas!

There were several rumors floating around at the Reunion this year about the Reunion moving to Nashville or St. Louis and, while there was a proposal on the table to go to Nashville, the Board decided to remain in Las Vegas for the foreseeable future.

While Nashville would have been an excellent location for a reunion (and there's always the possibility of adding a second reunion at some point in the future) and the venue in Nashville offered an attractive package, the deicision was made that Las Vegas still offers more than most any other major city. Between the 24-hour nature of the City providing round-the-clock opportunities for socializing, the availability of shows for those who want outside events to attend, still reasonable room rates and the availability of convention space, Las Vegas is truly a destination city to host the Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion!

As many will attest, rooms sold out quickly this year, so, please book your room reservations quickly after we post our reservation code!

We'll look forward to seeing you in 2008!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Top 10 things to bring to the CAC Reunion.....

1. An extra clock so that you don't accidentally ask Nick Bockwinkel what time it is and learn how to build a watch.

2. A salt shaker so that you'll have another seasoning to go with your "Pepper" at the banquet.

3. A pair of new running shoes so that you can get to the buffet table before Father Jason at the blowout.

4. Your "Webster's Revised Cross-accented Dictionary" so that you can understand Charlie Smith's mix of Oxford/Hillbilly accents.

5. Extra money to buy a raffle ticket form the lovely Penny Banner... or else!

6. A bucket to give to ox baker. Since he can't carry a tune while singing, maybe he can carry one in a bucket.

7. A pair of sunglasses so Georgous Michelle Starr's sequines and glitter don't blind you at the Banquet.

8. A ladder. You'll need one to pay attention to some of the tall tales that will be told!

9. An empty suitcase. Gotta have something to carry home all the stuff you buy from the gimmick tables!

10. The most important things of all.... yourself!

Please hold all emails

Please hold all "general" emails concerning the CAC until after the reunion. Several of the Board of Directors have left and in route to Las Vegas. Any emails sent the CAC will not be received until after the reunion.

I will not be back home until after April 26th. So, if you are sending information for the website please wait until after April 26th. to do so. If you send photos for the website, please make them aprox. 400 x 500 pixels. This will help out on the server space of the website.

Everyone have a safe trip! We look forward to seeing you all in Vegas. The Cauliflower Alley club has worked, over the past year, to make this reunion a success. And I believe it will be one of the best! Lots of surprises are in store this year!

See you all soon,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Be sure you’re at Friday night’s main event.......

Cauliflower Alley Club honors the many Canadians who have left such an outstanding mark on professional wrestling over the years on Friday evening, with the special presentation "Salute to the Canadians" at the annual baloney blowout.

Slam!Wrestling’s Greg Oliver, a regular at our functions over the past several years, pairs up with CAC newcomer Scott D’Amore to emcee the event. Scott had a lengthy run with NWA TNA Wrestling as the brazen manager of Team Canada, and worked extensively behind the scenes over much of the promotion’s existence to date. He also has his own promotion, Border City Wrestling, in Windsor, Ontario. Greg and Scott are no strangers to the microphone, and they’ll be passing it around among the many Canadian wrestlers who’ll be on the scene.

Canadians will be especially identified with a Canada flag pin on their name badges.......look for it, and tune in to the many "tales of the road" that they’re sure to have at the ready. Nine shows a week out in the maritime provinces? Driving the loop in Stampede Wrestling in forty degrees below, snow and high winds, as much as a thousand miles out and back for a single show? Working in Ontario, in every kind of arena from Toronto’s hallowed Maple Leaf Gardens to small-town curling rinks on Dave "Bearman" McKigney’s tours? All those recollections and more are yours for the asking!

Special greetings from the Government of Canada, recognizing our sport’s hundred year history in the nation, will be delivered. Copies of one of Greg Oliver’s top-flight books will be awarded to some lucky winners. And all the Canadians will be gathered together for a group photo, to be displayed at future reunions.

The Canadians will be out in force. Bret Hart. Maurice and Paul Vachon. Killer Kowalski. Don Leo Jonathon, who’s lived in Vancouver so long he qualifies as Canadian. Ditto for long-time Ontario resident Angelo Mosca. Pepper Martin. Gil Hayes. Michelle Starr. Jack Laskin. Ross Hart. Bruce Swayze. Pat Patterson. Ted Gordienko, George’s nephew. Nick and Jerry Kozak. John Cozman. Billy Two Rivers. The list goes on and on.......

Friday will be a great evening, so be at ringside sharp at 6:30 when "Salute to the Canadians" gets underway!.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Banquet Ticket deadline...Riviera SOLD OUT!

Saturday is the last day to reserve your Banquet Tickets. There's just a few left. After Saturday you will not be able to reserve a Banquet ticket to the Reunion Banquet.

The Riviera is sold out! You can still find rooms at nearby hotels close to the Riv. Several last minute people have made their plans and we are looking forward to many new comers to the reunion this year.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Vegas! This will be a reunion that will be talked about for many years to come.
See you all soon,


With just a week before I head out to CAC, I've continued to get some more classic tales of our treasured sport, as evidenced below. As mentioned in a previous post, you can see many more of these kind of stories in a book that will be on display, much like those wonderful photo books you can see each year. Right now I understand that Scott Hosey has dutifully accepted the package containing the book, so it's already there in Vegas. I'm not sure how the artifacts get stored, but the book is hereby donated to CAC so every member who wishes to see it can have their chance this year and in the future. Enjoy this little story and see you next week!

Jeff Sharkey


Dear Mr. Sharkey,I hope you and your former professional wrestling performers get some enjoyment from my wrestling memory. Am now seventy myself so I’m sure even some of your associates are even younger than that!

I had to struggle to come up with a correct date. I’m only a few months out, if that:Gorgeous George came to the Memorial Auditorium in downtown Sacramento, California in approximately September 1953. My friend Jimmy Richardson and I were sixteen. We were not wrestling fans but we knew of Gorgeous George and went to see him personally.

The ring was on the lower floor, with good attendance around the ringside. We sat in the first area balcony (not many souls seated there). Before “GG” came out, lots of hoopla. His handlers went around spraying/disinfecting the ring. Then lots of cologne sprayed from the ring onto all the fans in the first few rows. “GG” came out wearing his hi-top lace-up Boots, flowing robe, long blonde/white curled flowing hair. His handlers wanted to wipe down/clean his opponent. Much argument and hurly-burly between his team, their team, the other wrestler and the referee. “Georgeous” was gorgeous. (Haha)

Now even I know a wrestling event is noisy and even moreso as seen on TV today. Well, Jimmy and I were screaming and having a really good time I can remember we were on the south side of the auditorium and people on the lower floor were turning to look at us. So an usher came to us and said, “Boys, boys. You’ve got to stop this screaming!!” So we screamed longer and louder!! (Haha)

We were having one swell time so eventually they came (more than several ushers) and escorted us to the north end of the auditorium. As they left us out on the street, we said, “Hey, this is America, you can’t throw us out.” You bet they did! (Haha) Jimmy and I said, “If you throw us out, you’ve got to give us our money back.” --They didn’t. (Haha)

I have told this true story a few times through the years. I’ve been excited to probably have been one of the very few to get tossed--no profanity --no lewd conduct or gestures. Just pure happy noise!! Imagine getting thrown out of a wrestling match today!!

Good health and happy memories to you and your friends.
Ken FryCorvallis, OR

Sunday, April 08, 2007

President's Welcome 2007

Greetings CAC Members!

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Cauliflower Alley Club, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Riviera Hotel for our Forty-Second Annual Reunion! We anticipate nearly 400 attendees this year, and, although not our largest reunion, it is sure to be one of our best.

While no member is any more or less important than any other, we are always particularly pleased to welcome first-time Reunion attendees, and there are many this year. We look forward to renewing our friendships with many of you and meeting others for the first time! It is also a privilege to welcome the families of some of the all-time greats of our sport including Erik Holmback and several other family members of the late Yukon Eric, Mary Chene-Stephens and Donna Fletcher who are members of the "Leaping" Larry Chene family and Joyce Farhat, widow of Ed "The Original Sheik" Farhat.

For the first time in several years, we will have a Scholarship Honoree, Frankie Buenefuente of New Jersey's Garfield High School. Frankie has won several wrestling competitions and is an impressive young athlete who we believe will make the Club proud in his future pursuits.

Unfortunately, each reunion brings the realization of just how many of our members and former members have passed. Recent attendees Ernie Ladd, Ray "Thunder" Stern, Tiger Conway Sr. and Bob Orton Sr. have passed since our last reunion and they will all be missed this year. We should also remember those who have attended reunions in the past; Abe Coleman, Arnold Skaaland, Bob Luce, El Shereef, Willie Pep, Captain Leslie Holmes (Lord Blears's manager and WWII medal of honor winner), Sputnik Monroe, Crybaby Edwards, Ric Carter, Barbara Huizar, Harry Elliott, Crazy Luke Graham, Bull Ramos and Cowboy Bob Yuma. Don "The Spoiler" Jardine who was to attend and had just joined the club and intended to come to this reunion will also be missed by his many friends and fans this year.

While mentioning those who are no longer with us, I feel it necessary to make particular note of two who will be especially missed by all those active in CAC. It will be with sadness that we hold our Board meeting on Saturday without the presence of wrestling historian and writer, Jim Melby. Jim faithfully served on the Cauliflower Alley Club Board of Directors for several years and was well respected by all those who knew him. Certainly, the contributions made by Anne Bowman, the late wife of CAC Board member will be missed by all this year. We will miss her welcoming face at the registration table and the quiet dedication with which she performed any task needed at the reunion.

Friends, if you are not a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club, I encourage you to join us. Come to a reunion and see what we are all about. This is different than any fan-fest or convention you might attend. The Cauliflower Alley Club is truly a "Ring of Friendship" where all are equal and there is a genuine spirit of friendship and camaraderie.

Welcome, friends!
Red Bastien
Cauliflower Alley Club

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Back again with the second fall. One of CAC President Red Bastien's biggest supporters comes direct from Pasadena, Texas. Tim Huddleston wrote another follow-up letter to me and his passion for professional wrestling, and Red Bastien in particular, comes shining through. I sent Red the bulk of this letter, and want to include a poem that Tim wrote years ago as a member of Red's Fan Club, which apparently was based out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. It sounds like Red must have been a class act in his dealings with Tim. Of course, we would expect nothing less!

Jeff Sharkey

The Legend of Red Bastien
by Tim Huddleston
There once came a wrestler to the Lone Star State
A wrestlers fans could support and appreciate
He rassled by the book and he rassled clean
This wrestler was named Red Bastien

Pretty soon after his timely arrival
He captured the Texas State Title
He defended it with pride, not like junk
He defended it against big Texans like Terry and Dory Funk

Once our hero got himself in one helluva bind
He had to defend it against Big Johnny Valentine
Well son, he defeated Big John in two straight falls
The name of Red Bastien filled the halls

Soon after these worthy trends
He became one of my very best friends
To me he's like those legends that never fade
He was one of the best that God ever made

Or maybe the best wrestler you ever seen
Thank God for "Red" Bastien