Bobby Lee Bobcat was born Robert Leon Bretenberger on February 25, 1943 in Lubbock, Texas. He attended elementary school in Wichita Falls, Texas where his father was a test pilot at nearby Sheppard Air Force base.
Due to a double-dog dare by his elementary school classmates, Bobby Lee stowed away on an experimental aircraft his father was piloting, the Northrop XB-35 "Flying Wing," but fell out of the landing gear assembly a hundred miles northwest of Abilene. Fortunately, Bobby Lee landed on a giant pecan tree and survived the fall, but a rescue team failed to locate him for several months. (As a side note, Bobby Lee refuses to eat any food containing pecans.)
Just as he was about to give up hope of ever being found, Bobby Lee was befriended by a pack of North American bobcats. The pack helped him survive his six-month ordeal in the wild by leading him to water and demonstrating how to chase and catch wild hares for food. Bobby Lee never forgot his new feline friends and later adopted their name when he entered the music business.
Once rescued and reintroduced into human society, Bobby Lee's family moved back to Lubbock, Texas.
After school, he rode horses, roped cattle, and shot rattlesnakes with a six-shooter, all the while enjoying the antics of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers on television. These activities inspired Bobby Lee to become an all-purpose singing cowboy.
After graduating from Lubbock High School, Bobby Lee and his best friends, Willie "Boots" Walker and "Skid" Mark Higgins, took off for Nashville, Tennessee to make their fortunes in country music. Despite numerous appearances in Nashville radio's famous Country Cattle Call, the boys failed to land a recording contract and were soon sent packing back to Lubbock.
During the ensuing years, Bobby Lee Bobcat has worked on oil rigs, on cattle ranches, and at a Walmart. Married to his fifth wife to whom he is currently legally separated, Bobby Lee's latest gig is at Jasper's Big Spur Tire and Alignment Center next to the Wendy's on Highway 46 where he performs oil changes, aligns tires, and sometimes, after hours, performs live at the parking lot with his band, the Lone Star Landlubbers.
Illustrations by Lester Picasso.