After the divorce, he left his father's side, taking a temporary break from Denver and managing the San Antonio PT's for about six months. On nights off, he could be found at the local country bar, Denim and Diamonds. It was the kind of place where the ladies wore fringed shirts and low-heeled boots. The men wore Stetsons and addressed their dance partners as ma'am. Lowrie liked these kinds of places. He'd run the Grizzly Rose in Denver for a short time while his dad tried to buy it. (But the county, afraid Hal would turn it into a monster strip club, killed the deal.) Lowrie felt at home in these Urban Cowboy-style Texas bars. One of the waitresses at Denim and Diamonds was, as the cowboys say, a pretty little thing named Pam. Lowrie knew immediately when he met her that she was The One. She was-and still is-a petite beauty with a whip-smart sense of humor. "I knew," he says, "she was the woman I would raise my kids with." Pam was a small-town Texas girl. The two talked about how they wanted to raise a family and discussed their values. She knew about the strip bars; she checked out the local PT's with Lowrie. It didn't scare her off. When Lowrie ultimately returned to Colorado, they did the long-distance thing for six months before he convinced Pam to drive her pink VW Beetle to Colorado.
Pam wasn't the only thing Lowrie brought back from Texas. Watching a sea of cowboy hats move in unison across the dance floor got him thinking. Country dancing was huge at the time, dominated by 50,000-square-foot bars that could hold 4,000 people. Lowrie's brain ran the numbers. "My dad always said, 'If there was an easier way to make this much money, we'd do it.'" He brought the idea to his dad, and the Lowries decided to try their hand at country music.
Hal provided the seed money, and Lowrie opened up his first country bar, A Little Bit of Texas, in Indianapolis. The money was good, but it was clear that Hal's strip-club largesse would become a problem for expansion. "Cities get nervous when the Lowries come to town ready to lease 50,000 square feet," he says. So Hal removed himself from the country business and Lowrie, on his own, took the company public, raising funds for more country bars in St. Louis and Tucson. "Opening country bars is great. Half the city comes to the opening, and the mayor shakes your hand and says, 'Thank you,'" says Lowrie. "Nobody says thank you when you open a strip club." Eventually the country fad fizzled and Lowrie sold the clubs. "I would've loved to be the King of Country," he says. Instead he was rightful heir to a strip-club crown. And there was only one way to assume the throne.