Wrestling Reunion at Petone

The wrestling reunion at Petone on 24.1.04 was an outstanding success. It was a first and it seems likely it will now be a yearly event.

The idea was first hatched over a cup of tea when Bryan and Bev Ashby, Bob and Rose Crozier and Al and Joan Hobman got together and decided it was long past time a reunion was held so all the old wrestlers and families could get together.

They came form all over New Zealand and Jock Ruddock and his wife came all the way from the Czech Republic.

From Auckland alone came John Da Silva, Robert Bruce, Onno Boelee, Shorty Hansen, Johnny Garcia and Joe Andrews, plus former Aucklanders Jock Ruddock and Sam Bartrum.

There were some big names in attendance including Steve Rickard, Del Adams, Joe Sokalski, Ricky Wallace, Bruno Bekkar, Cowboy Wright, Lloyd O’Halloran, The Governor brothers from Hawera, Red Wolf, Roy Shippey, Ron Astrella, Ray Johns, Ray Whitaker, Bruce McCready, Cliff Condren, Mike Ryan, Bobby Wyatt and Mo Sakata.  I have probably missed many names, as I didn’t get to meet everyone.

The Crowbar Award was taken out by Jock Ruddock. I’m not so sure if it was because Jock was a crowbar in the ring, but I suspect it was more the fact that he travelled the longest distance. Jock and his wife travelled from the Czech Republic and are headed for Texas in the near future. (A crowbar in wrestling terms is a stiff worker as compared to a loose worker). The Crowbar Award was presented by former “On The Mat” wrestler Robert Bruce.

Radio personality Frank Shanly made an excellent speech, which blew me away. He spoke of his days watching Steve Rickard’s “On The Mat” TV show and now coming face to face with the same personalities.  Frank is sadly lost to New Zealand wrestling as he shortly heads to the United States to live. However, knowing Frank I believe he will be still putting an input into New Zealand wrestling.

Bruno Bekkar spoke about all the deceased wrestlers who were all honoured at the reunion.  They were all mentioned from Earl McCready to Andre the Giant.

Steve Rickard managed to make it although his wife Lorraine was in hospital. Steve spoke of his early days and how he got Siva Afi into wrestling.

It was a night to remember and next year the New Plymouth boys are planning to hold the second reunion in New Plymouth.

Image Gallery

Bruno Bekkar
Bruno Bekkar.

Bobby Wyatt and Cowboy Billie Wright
Bobby Wyatt and Cowboy Billie Wright.

Mo and Marion Pokoati
Mo and Marion Pokoati.

Red Wolf
Red Wolf.

Shane ORourke and Peter Durkin
Shane O’Rourke and Peter Durkin.

Roy Shippey
Roy Shippey.

The Governor Brothers Marney and Buster
The Governor Brothers from New Plymouth Marney and Buster.

Shane ORourke, John DaSilva, Peter Martin and Steve Rickard
Shane O’Rourke, John DaSilva, Peter Martin and Steve Rickard.

Joe Andrews, Sam Bartrum, Mo Sakata
Joe Andrews, Sam Bartrum, Mo Sakata.

Lloyd OHalloran and his wife Lorraine
Lloyd O’Halloran and his wife Lorraine

Buster Governor
Buster Governor.

Martin Joyner, Ricky Wallace, Joe Sokalski and Ray Johns
Martin Joyner, Ricky Wallace, Joe Sokalski and Ray Johns.

Joe Andrews, John DaSilva and his wife Wilhelmina
Joe Andrews, John DaSilva and his wife Wilhelmina.

Bob Crozier, Linda Hobman presents flowers to Bev Ashby
Bob Crozier, Linda Hobman presents flowers to Bev Ashby.

Jock Ruddock and his wife came from the Czech Republic.
Jock Ruddock and his wife came from the Czech Republic.

Juno Houia and Cowboy Billy Wright
Juno Houia and Cowboy Billy Wright.

Ricky Wallace and Johnny Garcier
Ricky Wallace and Johnny Garcier.

Mo Sakata and Bruce McCready
Mo Sakata and Bruce McCready.

Bryan and Bev Ashby
Bryan and Bev Ashby.

Joe Sokalski and Martin Joyner
Joe Sokalski and Martin Joyner.

Lloyd OHalloran, Johnny Garcia and Del Adams
Lloyd O’Halloran, Johnny Garcia and Del Adams.

Bob Glozier, Lloyd OHalloran and Rose Crozier
Bob Glozier, Lloyd O’Halloran and Rose Crozier.

Steve Rickard and Ricky Wallace
Steve Rickard and Ricky Wallace.

Frank Shanly
Frank Shanly.

Robert Bruce and Onno Boelee
Robert Bruce and Onno Boelee.

Shane ORourke and Ray Carter
Shane O’Rourke and Ray Carter.

Shane ORourke, Shorty Hansen and Sam Bartrum
Shane O’Rourke, Shorty Hansen and Sam Bartrum.

Jock Ruddock and Robert Bruce
Jock Ruddock and Robert Bruce.

Dave Cameron and Bob Crozier
Dave Cameron and Bob Crozier at right.

Dave Kemp
Dave Kemp.

Wrestling Reunion
Rear: Ray Carter, Rick Wallace, Bruno Bekker, John DaSilva, Al Hobman.
Front: Shorty Hansen, Steve Rickard, Cliff Condren and Linda Hobman.

Article written by Dave Cameron

Dave has been hanging around the dressing rooms for 60 years.

Dave was an amateur wrestler and part time pro in U.K. He boxed in New Zealand Services Champ's 1954, Hobsonville, Auckland. He started writing for Magazines 1949.

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