I’m a little fuzzy on the exact timeline, but I’m pretty sure it was 2001 when I first found the George tickets on the original site, based on where I was working at the time (contract desktop support at HP Vancouver). I managed to severely degrade tier II support for a good hour by sharing the link with my team. A series of discussion forums and domain/hosting changes and occasionally drama would ensue over the next few decades.
It felt like we had been a going thing for forever when I met The Keeper of Tickets and his lovely wife in person and we drank heavily and I tried to talk him into just deleting everything without explanation. (I am not a good moderator, almost by definition.) I think that was 2005.