Museum Blog

Marble-ous

For about a decade in the 1950s, Cañon City hosted a marble tournament co-sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Cañon City Recreation Commission. Boys 15 years old and younger participated for a chance to make it to the state tournament. The marble competition was part of annual national marble tournament hosted by the VFW from 1947 to 1962.

According to Charles Rall, the VFW commander-in-chief in 1951, the tournaments promoted good sportsmanship, clean competition, and a sense of fair play. The tournaments also offered a positive male influnece for the boys and helped the veterans intergrate back into local society.[1]  

An article in the Cañon City Daily Record on May 9, 1955 announced the 4th Annual tournament in the city to be held on May 14. Previous year’s winnners included Larry Lewis in 1952, Denny Haven in 1953, and Roy Stineberger in 1954. Freddy Bohlander, a 7th grader at Roosevelt Junior High School, came out the winner in 1955. The state tournament was held on May 22, 1955 in La Junta. No articles point to how Freddy Bohlander fared in the state tournament.

The last known article about the local marble tourments in the museum’s files dates to May 1961. That year, Johnny Luna took first place with Allen Garoutte close behind in second. The boys went to Denver to compete in the state competition, accompanied by William Babbitt, the VFW post commander. It does not appear any of the Cañon City boys ever made it to the national competitions. Regardless, this tournament was a wonderful chance for local youths to show off their skills with marbles.

Cañon City Daily Record
May 13, 1961

[1] Scott Rice McBride, The Kings of the Rings: Stories from the VFW National Marble Tournaments 1947-1962, preview accessed online May 2, 2020 (https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Rings-National-Tournaments-1947-1962/dp/1641149655)

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