Brownfield birthplace to family game Skip-Bo

Remembering inventer of Skip-Bo in Brownfield

BROWNFIELD, TX (KCBD) - Brownfield, Texas, has several legends. Sheryl Swoopes was recently inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Gary P. Nunn is a country singer who has written songs for. David Allen Coe, Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson to name a few.

And don't forget Minnie Hazel "Skip" Bowman. What she did 50 years ago has secured her a spot in the history books.

Patsy Nicholson Campbell runs an insurance agency. Debbie Reid works in the Brownfield County Clerk's office. Both women have a keepsake tied to Skip Bowman. It's a little red box.. Patsy holds up her box and you can see the gold lettering on top says Skip-Bo.

She explains, "The lady that invented this is from Brownfield. Her name was Minnie Hazel Bowman, but her nickname was Skip."

Bowman earned a spot in history using her nickname "Skip" to give an old card game a new twist.

Debbie agrees, "She went from being small town to a huge name."

Skip Bowman died in 2001 at the age of 86, but millions of kids today are still playing Skip-Bo.

Debbie and Patsy are both lucky to still have the original game in its original red box.

Debbie's box belonged to her grandmother. It's worn on the top, but turn the box over and you'll still find Skip Bowman's personal phone number in Brownfield in case you needed to call her and buy another box. That was in 1967.

Patsy says Skip Bowman was quite the businesswoman.

She says, "You could go down there and buy a box for $1.95, but she did it in bulk to bring in big vendors."

In Brownfield, you can still see the little building where she manufactured those early boxes. Today, the building is a Mexican restaurant called Tencha's Lunch Box, but Patsy says Tencha's signed an agreement with Ms. Bowman years ago, promising to leave the name Skip-Bo across the top of the building. Skip Bowman wanted to make sure that would always be a proud corner for Brownfield, marking the spot that Skip-Bo was born, right across the street from the Terry County Courthouse.

There are many stories about what happened to Skip-Bo and how it was sold.

But Patsy says, "I heard she sold the Skip-Bo game to Uno, Inc. I heard that she got a million for it plus 50 cents on any box of Uno cards sold."

Another Brownfield resident told me he heard she made $5 million selling the game to Uno.

Whatever the story, some folks who are holding onto an original box are calling them priceless.

Debbie says, "Too many memories. It's been through four generations. You can tell they've been worn and my mom and I still play with them."

Patsy's box is not so worn because she knew she was preserving history.

She says, "My kids wanted to play with my Skip-Bo cards and I wouldn't let them. No, I'll put these in my office with my hole in one for golf."

Today, Skip-Bo is owned by Mattel, which recently introduced a 50th anniversary edition that you can order online.

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