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