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.
Bobby Wyatt and Cowboy Billie Wright.
Mo and Marion Pokoati.
Shane O’Rourke and Peter Durkin.
The Governor Brothers from New Plymouth Marney and Buster.
Shane O’Rourke, John DaSilva, Peter Martin and Steve Rickard.
Joe Andrews, Sam Bartrum, Mo Sakata.
Lloyd O’Halloran and his wife Lorraine
Martin Joyner, Ricky Wallace, Joe Sokalski and Ray Johns.
Joe Andrews, John DaSilva and his wife Wilhelmina.
Bob Crozier, Linda Hobman presents flowers to Bev Ashby.
Jock Ruddock and his wife came from the Czech Republic.
Juno Houia and Cowboy Billy Wright.
Ricky Wallace and Johnny Garcier.
Mo Sakata and Bruce McCready.
Bryan and Bev Ashby.
Joe Sokalski and Martin Joyner.
Lloyd O’Halloran, Johnny Garcia and Del Adams.
Bob Glozier, Lloyd O’Halloran and Rose Crozier.
Steve Rickard and Ricky Wallace.
Robert Bruce and Onno Boelee.
Shane O’Rourke and Ray Carter.
Shane O’Rourke, Shorty Hansen and Sam Bartrum.
Jock Ruddock and Robert Bruce.
Dave Cameron and Bob Crozier at right.
Rear: Ray Carter, Rick Wallace, Bruno Bekker, John DaSilva, Al Hobman.
Front: Shorty Hansen, Steve Rickard, Cliff Condren and Linda Hobman.