Everyone at MWR would like to congratulate our friend Darla Staggs Taylor for the great honor of being named the 2011 Cauliflower Alley Club 2011 Red Bastein Friendship Award in Las Vegas recently. Darla was kind enough to give us her thoughts on this wonderful presentaion during the annual CAC Reunion.
Darla with Rick Martel
This year’s CAC was the BEST ever for so many reasons…..I don’t even know where to begin!
I always enjoy attending CAC, not only to be able to mingle with some of my favorite wrestlers from the years past, but most of all to spend a few days with the most special friends in the world!!! Some of them I only see once a year and some more often. I also had friends in attendance I hadn’t seen in over 25 years, what a great moment that was to see them again.
Darla with Tommy Gilbertand Doug Gilbert
I had been looking forward to this year so much because for number one, my very dear friends, The Gilbert Family was the recipient of The Family Award. I know I’m prejudice, but I have known this family for over 30 years and they are the most deserving. They have added a great deal to this wrestling business….just awesome. I wish Eddie could have been on that stage with them, but I know he was with us in spirit!
Then the other thrill for me was to see my other favorite….Rick Martel! Rick had worked St. Louis in the early 80′s and we became friends. He was always such a gentleman and treated me very nice. I can remember the laughs we used to have after the matches drinking and then eating breakfast in the early morning hours. I remember once ordering my eggs dippy at a restaurant and he asked, “What is that?” I explained to him those were over easy eggs, but that is what grandma used to call them….he thought that was funny.
Darla and Handsome Jimmy Valiant
Another great moment was to see Jerry (with a J) Brisco. He was always another one of my favorites. He didn’t wrestle much in St Louis, but I always loved him.
Darla with Jerry Brisco
I was friends with Jack and would always say to him….”Hi Jack, how’s Jerry!” Jack said to me one day that I was the only person he knew that always asked him about Jerry and didn’t ask how he was doing…..Jack finally introduced me to him in February 1980 at the KC Tag Team Tournament when I picked them up at the airport. What a thrill! I met Jerry again in 2005 in Iowa at the HOF. We have now become friends on facebook and I even get a message from him once in a while.
Two of the culprits of the big swerve of the night...Rico Mann and Morgan Dollar
The biggest honor for me this year was receiving the Red Bastein Friendship Award! I had been looking so forward to getting up on that stage and presenting that award to my dear friend, Morgan Dollar. Morgan has become one of my dearest friends the past few years and I knew he deserved this award for everything he has done to make this year’s CAC such a success. Morgan has really been a great friend to me, especially over this past year. He’s always been there to lend an ear when I needed one. So, you can see why I wanted to be a part in presenting the award to him with his other two “Angels,” Joyce and Wendi……I had no idea whatsoever that they would turn the tables on me and present me with such an honor. My friends have been planning this since last summer. They even went as far as to make up a fake award and send me a copy of it. They worked very hard at keeping me in the dark, (which sometimes isn’t hard) and they did a fantastic job! Even a couple of my very best friends, Mick and Shelley, kept it from me….wow!
Friends reunited after 20+ years.....my dear friend, KennyJugan.....he was my oldest friend at CAC...not in age, but I have been friends with him longer than anyone in attendance....
I always enjoy being able to walk up to all of the wrestlers who are given awards and congratulate them on their jobs well done. This year, when the wrestlers and fans were all congratulating me, it was so humbling. Some of the wrestlers didn’t even know me, but that didn’t stop them….they were all so awesome. Rick Martel told me that I deserved it, because I had always been his best friend in St. Louis. Jerry Brisco was the first one to hug me and congratulate me….and Tommy Gilbert, even called me at home afterwards to give me his congratulations.
I feel so blessed to have such a great group of friends that are connected to me thru wrestling. This is just one of the reasons why the Cauliflower Alley Club is the Ring of Friendship!
Like I said in the beginning, this was the best year ever!!!
The only thing that could have been any better would have been to had my Dad….Jim…..Hump….and Eddie there….but I know they were all looking down from heaven and sending big hugs and smiles our way!
I love each and everyone of you and looking forward to seeing you all in Vegas next April!!!