Calling “shotgun” for a car

The informant describes a game his friends and he would play at home throughout high school and still today in college.  He recounts many times fighting over spots in the car by playing the game, “shotgun.”

Shotgun is a game involving a group of people about to drive somewhere and get into the car.  The game involves deciding who gets to sit where in the car.  The driver takes the driving seat, but the second best seat is generally accepted as the “shotgun” or the passenger seat in the front.  The goal of the game is to get the “shotgun” seat by calling “shotgun” out while the car is visible.  Another individual can steal the “shotgun” seat if they yell out, “blitz” after “shotgun” is yelled.  This indicates that the other person is blitzing the “shotgun” call and getting the front seat.

Interestingly enough the phrase “riding shotgun” originated in 1919 and was later used in print and especially film depictions of wagons and stagecoaches in Wild West movies.  The game is commonly played among teenagers who have recently acquired their licenses.  This shows an interesting liminal stage teenagers enter when they first gain the ability to drive in high school and it makes sense that there are traditions or games that are popular among this transition.