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Pro baseball may come to Great Bend
Pecos League Great Benders would play its first home game set for May 24
spt deh great benders pro baseball Al Burns Field
Al Burns Field in Great Bend will be likely home for the new professional baseball team the Great Benders. - photo by Tribune file photo

 The Pecos League is an independent professional baseball league which operates in cities in desert mountain regions throughout New Mexico, southern Arizona, Kansas, west Texas and southern Colorado. Pecos teams play in cities that do not have major or minor league baseball teams and is not affiliated with either.

The Pecos League covers three time zones, five states and has two divisions. The regular season is nestled in the middle of the summer from May 20-July 27.

In the Summer of 2010 Ryan Stevens, Donnie Randal, JR Smith, Andrew Dunn and Chris Schmidt met in Van Horn, Texas, to discuss options on how to start an independent league that would continue the Big Bend Cowboys and the Las Cruces Vaqueros of the Continental League. The Continental Baseball League announced it would cease operations after the 2010 season. The Continental Baseball League played from 2007-2010 in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, Houston and East Texas.

In 2011, the new league was formed and named the Pecos League, named after the Pecos River which runs from Santa Fe, N.M. to Del Rio, Texas.

Pecos League teams include:

• White Sands Pupfish, Alamogordo, N.M.  

• Las Cruces Vaqueros, Las Cruces, N.M.

• Roswell Invaders, Roswell, N.M.

• Alpine Cowboys, Alpine, Texas

• Tucson Saguaros, Tucson, Ariz.

• Santa Fe Fuego, Santa Fe, N.M.

• Trinidad Triggers, Trinidad, Colo.

• Garden City Wind, Garden City

• Topeka Train Robbers,Topeka

• Great Benders, Great Bend

 Plans are in the works to bring professional baseball to Great Bend, said Andrew Dunn, commissioner of the independent Pecos League.

The team name would be the Great Benders and Dunn hopes it will play ball at Al Burns Field located in Veterans Memorial Park. The team colors would be purple and orange.

However, the matter has yet to come before the Great Bend City Council which must sign off on the idea, the use of the field and other issues, City Administrator Howard Partington said. League officials pushed the deadline for city officials to get the matter on the council’s Jan. 18 agenda and Partington was in the process of informing council members about the proposal.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Dunn said. “We’re excited about playing in Great Bend.”

The Great Benders would join the Garden City Wind and Topeka Train Robbers as the only Pecos League squads in Kansas. There are 10 teams in all, with the remainder located in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The Wind was formed in 2015, but the Train Robbers and the Great Benders are both new this year. The Alpine, Texas, Cowboys is the oldest team, dating back to 2010.

“It’s been great in Garden City and its been great in Topeka,” Dunn said. He is confident it will also go over well here.

Great Bend would open spring training in May in Garden City and its first game will take place May 19 against the Santa Fe Fuego in Santa Fe, N.M. The first home game would be May 24 against Topeka.

The season runs through the end of July.

According to the league’s website, this is an independent professional league and was named for the Pecos River region from Santa Fe to Del Rio, Texas. The league is headquartered in Houston with offices in most cities that have a team. 

Dunn said team members are pros up to the age of 25 who are out of college or have been released from a major league-affiliated minor league team. 

“These are good players,” Dunn said.

The Pecos League has promoted 282 players to higher independent and affiliated teams from 2010-2015. Players are signed from Pecos Spring League, Pecos League tryout camps, and major league baseball scout referrals.

However, these athletes come from all over the United States and other countries. “We are looking for host families for the players,” Dunn said.

Tickets for the games will cost $6.

To contact Dunn, email

For more information, schedules, rosters and more information about the Great Benders, visit To learn more about the Pecos League, email or visit or call 575-680-2212.