When bowling was big
The return of a 50-year-old trophy brings back memories
Art Estes returned to Craig last weekend to tend to his parents’ graves and to return a piece of the town’s history almost 50 years to the day that it arrived in Craig.
Estes, who grew up in Craig during the 1940s and ’50s and now lives in Arizona, brought back the trophy that the Popular Bar Bowling team won at the Colorado State Bowling Tournament in 1955.
The members of that team were Sid Pleasant, Bill Cullen, Jack Jacoby, Dick Hall and Paul Davis.
“Before his death, Jack said he wanted the trophy to come back to Craig,” Estes said. “I wanted to honor him with that.”
Jacoby built the Popular Bar in 1945. Estes befriended Jacoby when they both lived in Craig but Jacoby sold the bar and moved in 1957.
Estes ran into Jacoby at a jazz festival at Breckenridge in 1985, and they stayed in contact.
After Jacoby’s death, his widow turned the trophy over to Estes.
“He told us both he wanted it to go back to Craig,” Estes said.
Mention of the trophy brought back memories for Pete Pleasant, Sid Pleasant’s son.
“Bowling was a big deal back then,” Pleasant said. “It was about the only sport available in the winter and there wasn’t television.”
In 1955, the Craig Empire Courier ran the league bowling scores on the front page of every weekly edition.
The five bowlers of the Popular Bar team made up a diverse group. Pleasant was an attorney, Cullen owned Craig Recreation, Hall was a manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation, Davis was a wheat farmer, and Jacobs owned the bar that sponsored the team.
According to the state title story in the Courier, the team’s score of 2,953 tied the state tournament record for the time.
The Popular Bar group almost didn’t win its local league before taking the state title. They trailed the Moffat County Creamery in the standings but the Creamery had to drop out of the tournament for reasons that weren’t reported in the paper.
“I hope people will appreciate the trophy as a piece of Craig history,” Estes said. “Jack wanted it that way.”
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