Leaner, Lunker and Betsy were a mainstay at Steamboat Springs watering holes in the 1970s. The band's three members, from left, Joe Ghiglia, Mary MacGregor and Rick Bear, will perform a reunion show at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Chief Theater. Tickets are $15.

Photo by John F. Russell

Leaner, Lunker and Betsy were a mainstay at Steamboat Springs watering holes in the 1970s. The band's three members, from left, Joe Ghiglia, Mary MacGregor and Rick Bear, will perform a reunion show at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Chief Theater. Tickets are $15.

Steamboat's Leaner, Lunker and Betsy to play reunion show Sunday

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— It started with one lone piece of ice.

And it wasn’t clear exactly which group started it — the ski club from Kansas City or the one from Dallas.

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Mary MacGregor, who's hit song "Torn Between Two Lovers" topped the Billboard charts for two weeks in the 1970s, will perform with Leaner (Joe Ghiglia, right) and Lunker (Rick Bear, left) on Sunday at the Chief Theater. Leaner, Lunker and Betsy were a mainstay at Steamboat Springs watering holes in the 1970s. The band's three members, shown while performing at The Rusted Porch, will perform a reunion show at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15.

But one ice cube turned into handfuls. Handfuls morphed into drinks, then drinks into fists and eventually into a full-on donnybrook.

“We just looked at each other,” said Rick Bear, who was onstage at the old Thunderhead in Ski Time Square playing with Leaner, Lunker and Betsy. “Joe (Ghiglia) said, ‘I guess just play faster.’ It was like something out of an old movie. The ladies were into it more with hair pulling and that sort of thing. It was pretty wild and woolly back then. Those were fun days.”

Those were the early 1970s in Steamboat Springs.

And from 1973 to 1975, Leaner, Lunker and Betsy was a mainstay in Steamboat, playing Thunderhead all the time.

The band included Bear, Ghiglia and Mary MacGregor. They played all across Steamboat, churning out tunes from the early '70s.

On Sunday, they’ll be back again for a reunion show.

The band plays at 6 p.m. at the Chief Theater. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by clicking here.

The band often competed for an audience with other local bands playing at The Tugboat Grill & Pub.

In those days, the Tugboat and Thunderhead were the main après ski areas for locals, visitors and all revelers.

“It was a pretty rowdy ski town in the early '70s,” Bear said. "We were always competing with the Tugboat and always having a competition on who could draw better. Nobody ever won because we always had great crowds.”

The band parted ways, and in 1976, MacGregor went on to record the 1976 hit “Torn Between Two Lovers.” The song was No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts in February 1977.

MacGregor, who lives in California, had planned a trip to Steamboat to take her son snowboarding.

When Bear found out about it, he decided to see if they could do a reunion show. The group has done several in past years to sold-out crowds.

They hope Sunday will be the same. Bear said the group went back to its set list and dug things up. They’ll play many of the same tunes they did to the crowds at Thunderhead.

“I guarantee it’s going to be a fun night,” he said.

No ski club fights allowed, however.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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