By: Kurt T. Johnson
Picture yourself in a country western line dance hall in West Texas,
maybe Lubbock or Amarillo. But not so fast! It's right here locally
in Tualatin at Bushwhackers! With a huge hardwood dance floor and the
room set as a Texas corral, the music and dancing cover the range from
two-step to west coast swing and line dancing.
Along with regular dancing, Bushwhackers offers free dance lessons
Wednesday though Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. With a hi-tech computer
controlled music system, the DJs spin the most up-to-date MP3 cuts
loaded on their laptop music server system. The crowd whirls around
the floor in unison to the music and dance instructors moves to anything
from Alan Jackson to Trick Pony.
Much more than just a dance hall, Bushwacker's offers a roomy pool
hall section with multiple tables for the competitive types, a separate
gaming room with video poker machines. With a full bar, there's something
to meet every persons favorite request. The menu features specialty
sandwiches, burgers and steaks and a large assortment of appetizers
and snacks. There's a lunch menu catering to the mid-day meal crowd.
On this visit, the writer tried a cheeseburger with fries and a coke.
Served promptly, it arrived hot and delicious with a huge serving of
fries and plenty of soda refills; more than enough to fill you up on
a rainy weeknight.
The layout and design of Bushwhackers are unique. Completely designed
and built by the owners themselves (with the exception of the plumbing
and wiring), the interior is completely lined with rough pinewood,
along with pine log beams, a wood log corral fence, hard wood dance
floor, rough wood tables. All the walls and nooks and crannies are
lined with barn and farm implements that you might find around a horse
corral. The walls are lined with funny country western sayings on wood
panels and the perimeter has many custom-made country beer signs.
Co-owner Jay Johnson explains the concept behind the layout. "We
saw an opportunity to put in a country bar because there weren't a
lot of country bars around. So we built it. We're the architects. We
built the dance floor, the corral, wall and bar all ourselves. Everybody
really likes the log cabin atmosphere and we get a lot of comments." He
further remarks that an important part of the design was the bright
lighting and excellent ventilation system. He points out that they
went out of their way to create a safe and comfortable ambiance, as
opposed to the typical dark and smoky bar environment. He explained
that is something that isn't found too often and is a big plus for
many of their customers.
A big feature of the place is the superior sound system installed over
the dance floor, with a strong, clear wall of sound that really adds
to the dancing experience. The bar features several DJs throughout
the week. On this visit, the sound system was manned by DJ Dan Bullis.
He points out the advantages of using their new laptop computer controlled
sound system. He says that with the computer, all the songs were in
MP3 format, allowing for massive storage of song selections on the
hard drive. It allows all the selections to be made with the click
of a mouse and also controls the sound of the songs at the same time.
In addition, with everything on the laptop, there's no longer a need
to deal with scratched and dirty CDs. It simply makes for a more controlled
and reliable sound system and is very convenient for the DJs.
With free country western dance instruction as the featured attraction,
you can learn anything from two-step to west coast swing and line-dancing.
On this evening, the featured instructor was Mary Gruen. At Bushwhackers
since it's opening, she's featured on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Gruen specializes in two-step and line-dancing and offers both a beginning
and a beyond beginning two-step class. She tries to make it as comfortable
as possible for new learners, while keeping it just as interesting
for the advanced students.
As the class starts, Gruen will be in the middle of the dance floor
with her partner, surrounded by students ringing the dance floor. Using
a wireless headset mike system, she then can demonstrate the steps
and techniques while calling out movements and describing the technique.
The newbies catch on very quickly and pick up the groove and beat.
By the end of the evening, they've become quite competent in the lesson's
dance and steps. The learning system is very smooth, and easy to understand.
One of Bushwhackers’ dance students is Barb Wells. She explains
that she comes to Bushwhackers because she lives in the area and was
curious about the bar. She came out and tried it and has been coming
back ever since. She also likes the lessons early in the evening so
she doesn’t have to deal with the late night party crowd. She
also mentions the good lighting, and that it’s a safe and comfortable
place to come.
With a huge dance floor, the best in contemporary country
western dance music and free professional dance instruction, Bushwhackers
has a winning
combination. Add a pleasant atmosphere, comfortable ambiance and
a realistic setting, you get a real value for an evening out! Stop
and try a few steps! You'll quickly be two-steppin' along like all
the rest! They also feature Karaoke on Tuesdays. You can see more
of Bushwhackers at their website www.home.earthlink.net/~bushwhackers.