|Keeping bowling for bucks tradition alive too much fun
The Sportsmanís Report
Bowling for bucks is a time-honored tradition on Cow Mountain. It works like this: you put your name in a hat, teams are ‘luck of the draw’ to prevent deadeye shooters from winning every year. Retired bowling balls are set up on a steep dirt road high up on Cow Mountain and are held in place with a small rock. The assembled teams of two begin play, one member shoots at the rock holding the ball to get it rolling and then the hard part begins. Once the ball is in motion, both team members start shooting as fast as they can. A slightly impartial team of judges score points based on hits. The ‘slightly impartial’ judging and the arguments on the score are fueled by testosterone and number of trips, by the arguers, to the cocktail bar set up for the event.
Rifle bullets take a chunk out of the high-impact plastic balls, but a glancing hit or ricochet may not count as a point unless there are visible chunks sent flying. Bragging rights and side bets are the stuff of legend. This year, there were several ties at the end of the round robin. The competition was down to two teams and forced an unprecedented third round. Arguments became more heated because the temperature was 102 degrees, and adult beverages were being guzzled in an attempt to cool off the contenders.
Team one lined up, fired the first shot and missed the rock. The second shot got the ball rolling, and they made a respectable number of hits given the poor start. Team two lined up and hit the rock on the first go. They were inspired and managed to hit the rolling ball until it was just a gnarled chunk of plastic in the dust. Although one shooter was a teetotaler, the team took the podium with wide grins and high fives. The winning team for 2012 was Mike Berthoud and Mike Rosenberg.
Back at camp that night, the cook laid out rib-eye steaks, baked potato with all the trimmings, sautéed fresh vegetables and a salad bar. Plates of fine cheeses and a selection of fine, red wines completed the evening meal. Dessert was a selection of pies and three flavors of homemade ice cream.
The wounded balls and big chips are collected and sent in for recycle. No laws were broken and, as always, safety was the number one rule.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.