Residence: Grand Junction, CO
Date of Performance/Collection: April 18, 2008
Primary Language: English
We call the game the Ammo Can game. What you do is, you take two old military ammunition cans, the rectangular box-like ones, and you set them 20 or 25 feet apart. Then you get a rope thats about 30 feet long. Now one person stands on each of the ammo cans and each has an end of the rope. The point is to get the other person to fall off the ammo can. You have to be quick, by pulling and letting go, you can cause the other person of fall off and its really funny.
I became a river guide when I was 20, back in 1967. Ive learned all sorts of things from other river guides and river runners. The whole community is really pretty close. I probably learned this game 25 years ago from another guide. I used to play this game all the time. When I would take big groups of 17-25 down the [Grand] Canyon, while the guides were setting up tents and cooking food, the guests would be down on the beach with a couple ammo boxes and some rope. It sounds easier than it is. When you get those ammo boxes set up in sand, they are already pretty unstable. It was popular because it was really quick and easy to set up, and everyone could play. Youd have 12 year olds playing adults, guys verses girls. Its really just a good group game.
I actually played this game a little bit a few years ago. It is definitely a game that originated from the supplies on hand. When on a week long or multiple week long river trip, you dont have the room to pack lots of games to entertain people. You do however have a lot of air-tight ammunition cans and a lot of rope. The neat thing about this game is as you raft passed other camp sites on a river, you can see other groups playing this game, sometimes with minor variations. A few times there have been drinking rules involved.
This game is also fitting for the rafting culture because it tends to be a more competitive crowd. There is also an element of outsmarting your opponent involved. Rafters tend to be every egotistical and think they are always the smartest. So while this game is not only a duel of strength and balance, but also a battle of wits.