This year my dad and I attended our very first Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas.
A friend of my dad’s invited us to come down and we weren’t really sure what it was at first. So, being the nerd that I am, I researched it online and got as much information as I could. After we saw that it was a wrestling convention, we were there! There was no stopping us, we got on that plane and were ready to meet some wrestlers and fellow fans.
I have to admit that I was so nervous the very first day. I was wondering if we’d have fun, or if the wrestlers would even take the time out of their day to talk to us. Silly to wonder but these guys are gods in our eyes, worthy of the highest accolades and praise. The wrestlers who were present could not have been any nicer to the fans that came to see them. My dad and I got to meet Michael Hayes, Rob Conway, Alexis Smirnoff, Dick Beyer, Mil Mascaras, J.J. Dillon, Terry Funk, Nick Bockwinkle, and many other legends in the business. I didn’t really know who a lot of the guys from the 40’s and 50’s were but my dad told me all about them and they were more than happy to share stories and fill me in on their history. I wish I had recorded it because it was fascinating. (I’ll be posting a few pictures on my Facebook, as well as on here, as soon as I get them on my computer!)
Another thing that I enjoyed was the memorabilia that they had for sale and the nostalgia displays. I loved all of the old pictures that they had hanging on various displays around the reunion room. Again, there were some of them that I hadn’t even seen before but my dad told me who they were and those we couldn’t figure out, we googled when we got home! Much to the surprise of no one, my dad and I went a little crazy at the memorabilia available to buy. There was so much to choose from, my personal favourites were the old wrestling magazines that some of the guys had for sale. I must have spent about 250 bucks just on magazines! I got some with Antonino Rocca, Bruno Sammartino, Verne Gagne, and Gorgeous George on them. It just blew me away that so much history was at my fingertips, I spent so much time flipping through (and buying!) what they had there that the guys actually gave me discounts!
What really made that whole three-day reunion special for me was that I got to spend time with my dad, the person who started my wrestling addiction. We’d go check out the displays, meet some people, go for a snack, and then do it all over again for a few hours (or until my mom wondered where we were!). We met so many great people and made a ton of new friends during our time in Vegas. Even at the Hall of Fame ceremony on the final night, we met two guys who had been going to the same wrestling matches for 15 years and didn’t know each other and are now best friends. These guys saw Sammartino fight in the mecca of sports entertainment, it was awesome to hear what they had to say. I’ve never been around a more fascinating group of people in my entire life. Complete and total strangers were just chatting amongst one another and sharing their favorite wrestling stories and learning about their fellow fans.
I’ve never had a greater experience in my entire life and I highly encourage every wrestling fan to make the trek out to Las Vegas for the fiftieth anniversary reunion next year!