LAS VEGAS – It’s funny the way I have to travel across the continent, traveling five hours from Toronto to Las Vegas, to meet many of the people that I’ve only ever interviewed through the years.

But the trip to the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion will do that.

There are a bunch of people where we get to put face to the name, as they say.

Like Short Sleeve Simpson, the little person who I interviewed a year and a bit ago — saw him last night in the hotel, surrounded protectively by a bunch of young Canadian wrestlers like Bobby Sharp and Kat Von Heez.

Or Kenny Lush, the BC standout, who I’d never met.

Dennis Brent, who is getting the James C. Melby Award for his contributions to wrestling journalism, is someone I corresponded with back in the late 1980s when he was creating programs for World Class and then WCW.

Even from my own SLAM! Wrestling staff, I’d never met photographer Brad McFarlin, who only lives in Detroit … but this was the first time in person.

Or then there’s the occasional guest contributor apologizing for not sending in a story, or crowing about what a great piece they wrote (in crayon, apparently; that Carmen DeSpirito is quite the character!).

There are long-time reunions too. A great example is Wildman Gary Williams, who I hadn’t seen since 1999 at an Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling show out in tiny Berwick, Nova Scotia. We’d kept in touch through the years, mainly through email or Facebook.

Others are newbies to me, people I’d never interviewed or met — like Sam Houston, Kevin Sullivan, Allison Danger … Or commiserating with a newly-met fellow Cleveland Browns fan like Lou Marconi.

With a flight delay coming out of Toronto last night, and an incredible slew of computer issues here, I’m determined to put a bright side on all of this. It was nice to hear from a couple of people that our continued coverage of the CAC at SLAM! Wrestling is a part of their decision to eventually make it out to an event.

The reality is that I might not be here next year, just as we lost the likes of Cowboy Bob Kelly and Don Manoukian since the last Cauliflower Alley Club reunion I was at in 2013.

Having moved so much into hockey writing, where so many names are truly new to me, as I am to them, there’s something familiar and comforting about the CAC, even as it grows with youth and loses its elders.

We’ll have more from the CAC in the coming days, including lots of photos … should I manage to figure out my computer issues!