One of my favorite television shows was 'Do You Want To Be A Millionaire?' hosted by Regis Philbin. The program took America by storm and drew millions of viewers almost from day one. Imagine -- just be answering 10 multiple-choice questions correctly you could win up to $1 million. Contestants had a couple of options to help themselves if they became stumped. They could call a friend and they could ask the live audience to vote on which answer was correct. The audience was hardly ever wrong.
'Here,' said Yahooskin Fowler, pushing a wire instrument into my hand. 'Brush.' This was my introduction to training to be a donkey jockey in the Border Classic World Championship Saddle Donkey Race in Columbus, N.M. Great! Here I thought it would be a glamorous experience, comparable to riding in the Kentucky Derby. Instead, Yahooskin, a Paiute Indian and my trainer and owner of a donkey named Isaac had me brushing the animal before I could climb into the saddle. Poker players and gamblers lead a bizarre life...
Mel Tillis, the stuttering cowboy singer, came out with a hit record a while back about faster horses, younger women and older whiskey as important parts of his life. The older whiskey part appealed to me in the past. But since I basically gave up drinking, my interests have changed. I still appreciate younger women and faster horses. That will never change. Over the years I have come up with many different systems to beat the horse races. Some have worked for a little while and others have failed. That is discouraging but like most horseplayers, I keep trying. It tends to keep me young.
He looked like the kind of guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. The scowl on his dark unsmiling face seemed permanently etched. He wore a baseball cap tilted backwards and a long shirt that concealed a loaded .45 automatic that he kept concealed in the small of his back. I met him in the horse room at the Fremont Casino in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday morning in May. I had just celebrated my 49th birthday, my wife had just left me, and I was trying to put my life back together by picking some longshots at Hollywood Park.
The MLB Hall of Fame inductions over recent years have been at times sparse. There has also been controversy due to some baseball players suspected of or proven to have used steroids. Happily, this year featured a robust crop of great players. But, of course, there is always some controversy. At the top of the list is...
America and especially my friends in Arizona are still reeling after the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will let states decide if they wish to legalize sports betting. This was a mature decision by the nine Supreme Court justices and I applaud their decision. It's time they recognized that the people of this nation are smart enough to make their own minds up on how they want to spend their money.
For some people, betting on horse racing is a lifetime occupation. This is often the case of individuals who grow up near a race track. They start off by going to the track, hanging around the paddocks, talking to trainers, jockeys and hot walkers. They become familiar with the horses and the odds. They learn about overlays and how trainers operate. They even find out about trainers who will juice their horses -- give them an illegal shot to help them win at long odds. It's all part of horse racing. The real question I have developed over the years is how do you bet on a horse?
I have to admit it: being a golf caddie was one of the best jobs I ever had. Just think of it. You could go to work whenever you wanted, work as long as you desired, and then go home with money in your pockets. It wasn't much, but it was spendable. And really, what more does a teenager need out of life? I was 13 when I first toted a golf bag at the Youghiogheny Country Club just outside Boston, PA. The golf course was six miles from our home. Fuzzy was the caddy master. He was a short unsmiling man with a limp that originated in his childhood.
All the major television networks carried a news story the other day about President Donald Trump giving serious consideration to granting a pardon posthumously to Jack Johnson, a heavyweight boxing champion who died quite a few years ago. Johnson was a black boxer who fought a legendary bout against James Jeffries, an undefeated heavyweight champ who had retired from the ring in 1905. I will get into the fight in a minute. But after the bout, Johnson was arrested for allegedly violating the Mann Act when he and his white girlfriend crossed state lines 'for immoral purposes,' according to the arresting FBI agents.
Which team do you think will win the 2018 World Series? If you are one of the many millions of Americans who are baseball fans, I am sure you have a favorite. I grew up near Pittsburgh, PA. which is a real baseball city. And of course, everyone in my family was a Pirate fan. During baseball season, we kept our radio and later our television tuned in to the Pirate games. When the game was on, my brothers and I knew better than to interrupt it by talking. If we did, we had our father to answer to and that was not a very pleasant prospect.
The late Benjamin (Bud) Adair was one of the most colorful personalities to come out of Circle City, AZ., a dusty road stop along Highway 60 between Phoenix and Wickenburg. Bud operated a truck stop, motel and restaurant in Circle City. He also ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Maricopa County and governor of Arizona. He formed a non-profit organization called Desert Troop Search and Rescue and used the volunteers to search for people lost in the desert or for motorists whose cars had broken down. Bud and his wife had several children who helped Desert Troop. J.R. Adair was off the wall and a little crazy. He aspired to be a cowboy and became a Brahma bull rider.
am resting up after four days in Las Vegas. The good news is the city hasn't changed. It has only gotten bigger and the old timers (yours truly included) have gotten grayer, balder, gained a few pounds and developed nervous twitches that come with old age. I spent some time in the New Orleans Cassino horse room and tried to make a killing on the ponies. At the start, I had a couple of winners, but I couldn't keep the momentum going. My faithful readers know how much I depend on momentum and when it doesn't happen, it's time to take a walk.
miss Barry Miller. He was a good friend and one of the best editors I ever had. Barry served as editor of LottoWorld, a short-lived international lottery magazine that operated out of Naples, FL. The magazine lasted only three years, but during that time we had a lot of fun inspiring our readers to play 'hot' numbers in their various states to win lottery cash. I was one of several associate editors who worked for the magazine. We had prognosticators who used computers, astrology and other methods to pick winning numbers for our readers. Some of them came amazingly close to hitting those numbers, including the PowerBall.
Dear Geno,' a member writes. 'My two buddies and I formed a small software company and recently moved to a house we share in Arcadia, CA. Our home is about 15 minutes from Hollywood Park Race Track. I know you enjoy gambling and hope you can provide us with some good strategy for winning at the horse races. If we come up with some winners, I'll even offer to upgrade your computer at no charge. Smiles, Don G., Arcadia, CA.' Don, bribery will get you everywhere.
Poker room managers are pressed by casino owners to keep their tables filled and their dealers working. That is why they come up with so man cash benefits for players which the players, of course, pay for out of the pots. Most poker rooms offer splash pots and cash for high hands or aces cracked. But some of the most interesting perks involve football, baseball or basketball pools. Especially football which is probably one of the most popular perks. I like the football pools and thoroughly subscribe to them.
Paul DeGruccio was one of the most creative photographers in Arizona and I was lucky to get him to work as my partner when I went out on stories. He was born in Brooklyn, had a New Yorker's nose for news, and together we made a good team. During the day he worked for a small weekly newspaper in Phoenix and I covered stories for the Phoenix Gazette. But at night and on weekends, we were Batman and Robin, going after stories about unique people, newsmakers and celebrities that would later grace the covers of People Weekly, TV Times, The Star, Globe, Argosy and the National Enquirer.
There are a lot of cowboys in Arizona who wear silk shirts, leather boots and Stetson hats who have never sat on the back of a horse or a Brahma bull. Larry Mahan is not that kind of cowboy. Born in Salem, OR., Larry started his rodeo career at the age of 14. His mother was always in his corner rooting him on at the junior rodeos as he developed his riding skills. Mahan was an all-around cowboy. He started with saddle broncos and graduated to bull riding, winning state and national awards in both categories. He won the all-around champion cowboy title five times and was unbeatable on the bull riding circuit.
Dreams die hard and Howdy Fowler was a dreamer extraordinaire. I met this wild cowboy in Deming, N.M. when I was Bureau Chief for a daily newspaper based in Las Cruces. Remember the movie 'Bronco Billy,' starring Clint Eastwood as a rough and tumble owner of a wild west show? That was Howdy who with his Paiute Indian wife Yahooskin operated their own wild west show in small towns across the Southwestern United States. The couple lived in a mobile home on a small ranch halfway between Deming and Columbus, which sits next to the Mexican border.
Ray Odom was a horse trainer and owner of KHAT, the most famous country western radio station in Phoenix, AZ. He trained and ran his horses at Turf Paradise, a thoroughbred racetrack on Bell Road in North Phoenix. I was a horse handicapper and writer for the Phoenix Gazette and spent a lot of time at the track. Ray and I became good friends. He and Jack Karie, a police reporter for the Arizona Republic, introduced me to Slim Sarwark, a colorful character who owned racehorses and who operated Miracle Used Cars at 35th Avenue and Grand Avenue in Phoenix.
Remember the scene in Forrest Gump when Tom Hanks goes on a monumental run and people start running with him? I loved it. For many years I was a long distance runner and if I get over being lazy, I may try it again. My formative years as a journalist started in a sun-baked town in eastern New Mexico. After moving to Tucumcari, I hunted jackrabbits with a single-shot .22 rifle, chased girls, ran for miles along a canal bank to stay in shape, played poker in private games with cowboys and ranchers, and watched the magnificent sunsets that draped Tucumcari Mountain and the Llano Estacado in all the colors of the rainbow.
15th of October 2018
15th of October 2018
14th of August 2018
15th of August 2018