This post is part of #the100dayproject that encourages creatives to do an action every day for 100 days. I've chosen to write an article or blog post every day. Previous posts for this project can be found here.
ALPINE – It’s been 50 years since Robert “Bake” Turner was part of the New York Jets football team that won against the Baltimore Colts at Super Bowl III in 1969. The team is celebrating the golden anniversary during the Sunday’s game versus the Colts. While Turner is unable to attend the reunion in New York, being a part of that winning team on January 12, 1969, was fabulous.
“When you’re in a sport like that, a pro sport, it all is fabulous,” said Turner. “Everybody loves you. Everything’s free. It’s just a lot of fun, so it was great for us.”
Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath led the Jets as quarterback for the Super Bowl and was named the game’s MVP.
The winning team received a key to New York, and Turner turned to commercials and music. He performed on late-night talk shows such as The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and the Ed Sullivan Show. He did commercials for hair cream and after-shave lotion that brought him back to the Big Bend. He was also the DQ Dude for a year, saying the slogan “Nobody makes them like Diary Queen.”
He said he made more money doing those commercials than when he was playing professional football. He took his friends hunting for quail in his new Cadillac Convertible.
“I came home and thought I was the big stuff in 1969,” said Turner.
He said he heard there was some jealously here and there, but he guess that’s a part of being part of a winning football team. Turner’s football career started in Alpine though.
“If you live in Alpine, you start playing football when you can walk, and I did,” said Turner.
After he graduated from Alpine High School as a quarterback and running back, he went on to play as a wide receiver at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, which was then known as Texas Technological College. He was first drafted to the Colts in 1961 before he traded to the Jets in 1963.
“No matter where I went, people asked me where I was from. Alpine, Texas. I made sure I told them that,” said Turner.
But as time went on, things started to taper off. The team wasn’t winning as much. The players started to get a little older and a little beat up. After he played a year with the Boston Patriots, Turner retired from football and returned to Texas. He lived in Dallas with his family, but after a divorce and his son went to college, he revisited Alpine and decided to move back.
“It was so easy going and friendly and fun and the price of property was reasonably cheap, so I bought some lots and came back,” said Turner.
It’s been 15 years since his return.
Now people can catch Turner playing his 1965 Gibson guitar he bought from a friend in 1975. He’s performed almost every year at
Viva Big Bend music festival and plays community events.
Music has been part of Turner’s life since the days of the singing cowboy and King of the Cowboys, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, respectively, but has been playing since Turner’s dad gave him a guitar when he was 12 years old.
Music and football were always directly related to Turner, but his greatest fun is playing music for people.