Well, here it is another Monday in September which can only mean one thing to football fans like us – only a few more hours to go until Monday Night Football comes on!
You know, thinking about Monday Night Football today got us thinking about John Madden. That, in turn, led us to remember a little Mexican restaurant we stopped at not too long ago on a trip along I-10 in Texas.
Now, you’re probably wondering to yourself: “What do tacos have to do with touchdowns?” and, well, as it turns out, that’s the subject of today’s post. You see, today we’re going to take a look at how the Mexican restaurant Chuy’s in Van Horn, Texas, became home to the John Madden “Haul of Fame”.
John Madden: Road Warrior
Many of you likely remember the late, great football coach and sports announcer John Madden and his “Madden Cruiser” – a luxury bus given to him in 1987 by Greyhound as part of an endorsement deal with the bus lines. What you might not know, however, is the story behind why Madden was offered the bus.
You see, John Madden didn’t like flying.
Some had said Madden’s dislike for flying was because of the California Polytechnic State University football team plane crash that happened on October 29, 1960, and killed 22 of the 48 passengers on board including 16 players for the Mustangs. Because John had graduated from the school in 1958, he knew some of those who died.
Madden, himself, repudiated this rumor, however, saying that his dislike for flying actually started years before that not because of aerophobia, but rather it was claustrophobia. He simply didn’t like being enclosed in that big metal tube with wings for hours at a time.
After he retired from coaching and started a career as a sports broadcaster, he gave up flying altogether and would take the train or a bus to work.
One day Madden had a sort of epiphany. He realized that when he did fly or take the train, he never really saw anything in between his sportscaster gigs. He would go from the train station or airport to the stadium, then straight to the hotel, then back on the plane or train to the next city.
He said he preferred traveling by bus because he could see things down on the ground he would never see from way up in the air. Soon after, he made the endorsement deal with Greyhound and the “Madden Cruiser” would be his only mode of transportation from game to game afterward.
On a Dark Desert Highway
Well, actually on a dark, lonely stretch of I-10 in Texas on a Monday night in 1987, John Madden lost reception on his television right before Monday Night Football was about to kick off.
It was a game he didn’t want to miss, so he took out his map and noticed that the small town of Van Horn was just up the road a few miles. Seeing the faint lights of the small town, he pulled off of I-10 and onto Broadway Street in Van Horn, Texas. Almost immediately, someone aboard the bus saw the sign for Chuy’s Mexican restaurant with the words “TV Room” written on it. Madden knew that they had found just the place where he could watch his game.
After a great night of Mexican food and Monday Night Football, Madden would later write about his experience at Chuy’s calling it the “greatest night of 1987.” After that, Madden would stop into Chuy’s a couple of times a year for food and football and became friends with the owners Chuy Uranga and his wife, Mary Lou.
As the years went by, their friendship moved beyond just food. One day, Madden told Chuy that he would like to broadcast his show “All Madden” from there including a segment on what Madden called his “Haul of Fame”. The Haul of Fame, along with a special table that’s always reserved for Madden in the smaller dining room with the big-screen TV known as, of course, “The John Madden Room” would eventually become a sort of tourist attraction.
Unfortunately, Chuy would die from injuries received in a car accident in 2008 and John Madden would pass away on December 28, 2021.
Today, however, Chuy’s son, Paul Uranga is the current owner and is keeping the memory of family friend John Madden and his “Haul of Fame” alive. The restaurant is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. so the next time you’re in the area be sure to stop in and try some of what John Madden called “The greatest Mexican food I’ve ever tasted.”
On your way to or from Van Horn, don’t forget to stop in one of the many Travel Centers of America along the way and stock up on Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls – those iconic road trip snacks that’ll help get you wherever it is you’re going. After all, is it really a road trip with a Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll?
Of course, you can always stock up on all of your favorite Stuckey’s road trip treats before you hit the road or before Sunday’s (and Monday Night’s) big game. Browse our selection of pecany goodness, branded attire and more at stuckeys.com today.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!