Leo Burke has had a rough couple of months, but is really looking forward to seeing some old friends in Las Vegas at the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion.
Burke and his brothers, The Beast, Bobby and Rudy Kay — collectively the Cormier Brothers — are being honoured by the CAC for their contributions to professional wrestling at the reunion, which runs April 13-15, at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino.
Initially, Burke was heading to Vegas solo.
“At the beginning, I was going to be there all by myself. Then two weeks ago, my son called me to let me know he was going to make it, which is great,” Burke told SLAM! Wrestling. “When my daughter found that out, her and my son-in-law are coming as well.”
The Calgary resident has had to go home to the Maritimes numerous times over the past few months. In a two-week span, Burke lost both a brother-in-law (his younger sister’s husband) First, a brother-in-law who was married to his younger sister, and then his brother Yvon to cancer.
Though saddened by both losses, Burke still shares a laugh from the funeral of The Beast.
“The priest, he was 75 years old, and he found out who I was. At the end, he said, ‘I’m sorry, blah, blah, blah. You were one of the wrestlers as well?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I know you don’t have too much time. You’re going all the way to Calgary. Next time you come in, can you show me a few moves?”
Burke is also 80% sure that J.P. and Jason, the two sons of Rudy Kay, who died in 2008, are going to Vegas as well. Unfortunately, his surviving brothers who were involved in the wrestling business, Bobby and Malcolm (a referee), are not going.
“I’ve been probably approached the last 10 years, from Bob Leonard mainly. I never had time for one reason or another. Now time is valuable. Rudy’s gone, The Beast is gone. If I want to go, I’d better do it before I leave,” Burke said.
2009 CAULIFLOWER ALLEY CLUB HONOREES
Men’s Wrestling Honorees
Bill (Skye) Bowman
Women’s Wrestling Honorees
Bob Roop (Lou Thesz Award)
Reggie Parks (Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award)
Steve Yohe (James C. Melby Historian Award)
Iron Mike Mazurki Award – To be announced
Red Bastien Friendship Award – To be announced
Future Legend Award – To be announced