Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Tinge of Sadness and Melancholy Within the Ring of Friendship...

Greetings from Las Vegas, where I was in attendance at the 2009 Cauliflower Alley Club reunion held at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino.

There's a tinge of sadness and melancholy amidst the festivities as its members shared concerns over the health problems of some of their colleagues, which proved to be sobering reminders of one's own mortality.

Princess Jasmine, who was slated to be a women's honoree at Wednesday night's gala banquet, is in a Chicago ICU unit, in the final fight against pancreatic cancer.

Names that also made the rounds included Billy Red Lyons, who is battling multiple cancers; Winnipeg great Gordon Nelson, who is now in a nursing home after suffering a stroke; Moose Morowski, whose health condition prevents him from sitting still for more than 30 minutes; and then there's Verne Gagne, whose tragic accident in a Minneapolis nursing home, killing a fellow patient, made national news. His son Greg Gagne is experiencing great difficulties finding another facility that will take his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, after all the negative publicity.

Yet amidst the somber, there were memories shared, old acquaintances renewed, and fans and legends reconnecting with one another.

Here's a sampling of those in attendance:

WWE Legends Ted DiBiase (l.) and Ken Patera (r.)

Wrestling legends Terry Funk (l.) and Superstar Billy Graham (r.)

SLAM Wrestling's Greg Oliver interviews legendary wrestler/promoter Bob Geigel

WWE legend Hacksaw Jim Duggan poses with a fan.

Legendary distaff wrestlers Sandy Parker (l.) and Betty Niccoli (r.)

TNA Wrestling superstar Awesome Kong (l.) and distaff legend Beverly Shade (r.)

WWE Legend The Iron Sheik poses with wrestling's Vachon family.

Wrestling legends Ric McCord (l.) and Red Bastien (r.)

Indy mainstays Chris Hero (l.) and "Old School" Oliver John (r.)

Reunited and it felt so good: The Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter exchange hugs in an emotional reunion at Tuesday night's "Baloney Bash."

For information concerning next year's event, visit their web site.