Bobby Moore couldn’t be happier as the new athletic trainer for the Rapid City Rush.
It could be a little warmer, maybe, for the native of San Marcos, Texas, who spent the last 10 years working for the Laredo Bucks before that team shuttered in June.
“The happiest I’ve been is since I’ve been working hockey. Now that the Laredo team is no longer in operation, I landed in a great spot. I’m really enjoying it so far,” said Moore, while watching a Tuesday team skate at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
Moore found an opening in Rapid City after last year’s trainer, Greg Heuer, moved to Park City, Utah, to take the head athletic trainer’s position with the United States Freestyle Skiing Team.
Moore’s father was a general-practice physician in San Marcos, located midway between Austin and San Antonio.
“He delivered babies and I grew up thinking, well, I guess I want to be a doctor,” Moore said.
“He was the trainer for the high schools and I didn’t grow, so the only way for me to be on the team was to be the athletic trainer, so I was a high school athletic trainer in the late 60s,” he said.
Moore wasn’t accepted into medical school, but after working various jobs and even racing karts and stock cars in Texas, he had what he called a “back to the future” moment.
“I decided the best thing I’d ever done was be a high school athletic trainer, so I went back to school at (age) 30 and got certified as an athletic trainer at 35,” he said.
“The story of my life is I get to everything, but I get to everything late."
After four years with the University of Texas at Austin, and nine years with Southwest Texas State -- now Texas State University at San Marcos -- Moore set his sights on working in the National Football League.
He worked three preseason camps for the Carolina Panthers, and in the off-season two years with NFL Europe. He also spent the one and only year of existence, 2001, with the Las Vegas Outlaws of Vince McMahon’s Xtreme Football League.
“That’s probably the best full-time job I’ll ever have. It only lasted eight months,” Moore said.
Moore believed he was on the cusp of an NFL career, but by then the Panthers had made a coaching change.
“Right after that, they made a change in head athletic trainer and that ended my chances in the NFL,” he said.
Moore returned to his native Texas and was pointed toward, of all things, a hockey rink.
A former student of his from Texas State was head athletic trainer for the Austin Ice Bats of the Central Hockey League.
“We had a conversation in the summer. He told me how much he liked it. That summer the Laredo Bucks were starting operations. I interviewed for it and I got it,” Moore said.
Moore owns a unique distinction for his time in Laredo.
“I was the only one to have been at every Laredo Bucks hockey game,” Moore said.
Moore said he likes the level of cooperation between teams, which distinguishes minor league hockey from other professional sports, including the NFL.
He also has found limited time for the past two years to feed an interest in history as a member of a Civil War re-enactor group based in San Antonio.
“I haven’t had time for a lot of hobbies. It’s really given me something to look forward to in the off-season,” he said.
The group represents the 6th Texas Infantry on the Confederate side, and on the Union side, the 165th New York Infantry, the Zouaves, with their distinctive short blue jackets, baggy red trousers and fez headwear.
“When the need arises, they try to keep the numbers accurate according to history,” Moore said. “When the Yankees outnumbered the Confederates, sometimes we have to be Yankees.”
With the War Between the States in its 150th anniversary commemoration, Moore has attended re-enactments of the Battles of Wilson’s Creek, Shiloh and Antietam.
“I’m really looking forward to Gettysburg this next summer,” he said.
That’s if he can get through the approaching winter. One thing he is still getting used to is the change of climate moving from south Texas to South Dakota.
“It’s already snowed three times before Halloween. That’s three times more than I’ve seen in the last 10 years in Texas. They tell me I haven’t seen anything yet,” Moore said.