Real Name: Robert W. Ellis
Birth: 03/15/1929 in San Angelo, Texas
Height & Weight: 6’3” – 240lb
Trained by: Sandor Szabo
Wrestling Debut: 1955
Other Names: Bob Elliot
Born Robert Ellis, down in Texas, Cowboy Bob was around pro-wrestling since he was a young boy as his father was on the wrestling commission in the San Angelo, TX area. Ellis’ father used to bring Bob around the matches all the time. However, before he entered into pro-wrestling, Cowboy Bob was a successful football player. Ellis had an accomplished football career in high school, college and even had a chance at playing professional ball with the Philadelphia Eagles. Perhaps, no accomplishment was greater than Bob’s service for this country as he was an Army paratrooper for 3 years during the Korean War.
“I was in the Army for 3 years during the Korean War. I was an Army paratrooper and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. During the Army, I played football on a team that had six pros and 2-3 all-Americans. They were a great team. That was real football”.
Ellis’ success in football could be directly attributed to his overall athleticism and his great physique. Ellis stood about 6’3″ and weighed roughly 240 pounds. He was into bodybuilding before it was popular in America. Ellis even owned a few gyms in San Angelo.
” I had 2 or 3 gyms, I started them in Texas. Texas was way behind in bodybuilding. I was really into bodybuilding for athletics.”
His commitment to bodybuilding and staying in great shape has stuck with him throughout all of these years. It should be no surprise to anyone that the Cowboy is still active in his local gym down in Oklahoma.
“Oh, I still workout. I go to the gym 2 or 3 days a week. I also have some weights here at home”
While running his gyms, and after the Army, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Ellis an opportunity to play professional football. However, the Cowboy wasn’t as excited to play for the Eagles as he was for the Army team:
“All they wanted was a blocking dummy. I got to play in a few games but it was little money. The most a linemen could make at that time was about $5,000 a season. I was making alright money with my gyms and would quickly find out that I could make a lot more money in wrestling. In fact, I would make more money some nights wrestling than I would have playing football for the entire season.”
With football off the list of options and 2-3 gyms not quite satisfying his desires, Ellis decided to try his hand at pro-wrestling. But his journey into pro-wrestling wasn’t as easy as one would think, especially when your father is a wrestling commissioner. Ellis commented on how hard it was getting into pro-wrestling at that time:
“It was practically impossible to get into wrestling. Back then, they protected the business and didn’t really share with anyone how to become a pro-wrestler. You had to really know someone in wrestling like a family member or have a great background in athletics.”
Ellis would go on to mention who helped him get his break into pro-wrestling and where he trained:
“Fortunately, Pepper Gomez gave me the information about a wrestling school in California run by Sandor Szabo. I went out there for about a year. They really worked you hard. They would only graduate 1 or 2 wrestlers per year. I happened to be one of them.”
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