The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bowling cowboy way more fun


March 26, 2009

This may come as a surprise to many, but cowboys participate in other sports — now and then. However, they bring their own special protocol to those “other” sports.

We were in a cowboy bowling league for awhile. They all agreed to substitute bowling shoes for their trusty boots during the games, because the bowling establishments got picky about it. They also exchanged their western hats for gimme feed store caps — as close to bareheaded as they could manage.

They soon figured out that proper equipment for this sport was just as important as for roping, ’dogging or bronc riding. So they bought high-powered bowling balls, wrist guards and jars of sticky stuff for their fingers so they could hold onto the ball easier.

It was a mixed league, meaning men and woman bowled together, so we women (I must admit) got even more carried away than the men with buying “stuff.” We even bought special shirts, color-coordinated, which the guys thought was silly but they let us get away with it.

This was a multi-town league, so tournaments were held in various places. One memorable tournament was in a town about three hours’ drive away, so we all got together and rented a bus to share. This bus was an old, converted school bus — NOT a big Greyhound.

Before many miles we noticed our bus didn’t have a lot of pep and the motor sounded strange now and then, but cowboys are all shade-tree mechanics so they figured they could fix anything that might go wrong.

Our team captain had borrowed a fancy schmancy bag on rollers from a friend because it would hold three balls, not that he knew which one to use ever. He parked it by the driver because it wouldn’t fit in the back.

The tournament was set to begin right after dark, and the driver was given directions to the bowling alley — supposedly.

After we’d gone through the same traffic light three or four times we figured out the driver was lost. None of us had a map, and this was in the days before Google Earth or MapQuest, so our team captain moved up by the driver and began spouting instructions, which neither he nor the driver understood.

Somehow we ended up on a road that curved and climbed a steep hill. The bus motor sputtered and tried to die, so the cowboys in the back, ever helpful, rolled down their windows, hung their arms out and “rowed” to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

The next time we came to that same traffic light everybody yelled, “Turn left,” so the driver did — quickly. The big door flew open and the fancy ball bag flew out. The team captain saved himself by hanging onto the rail beside the steps.

So we had to stop down the road, and two brave guys plunged into the traffic and rescued the bag while the rest of us laughed and cheered.

If you wanta have fun, whatever you’re doing, do it with a cowboy.

Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at:


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