People Of The Plains: Look Good, Feel Good, Smell Good

Sep 23, 2018

Sonjia Trevino
Credit Courtesy

When you grow up poor in one of Texas’ poorest counties, a life of happiness and wealth can be difficult to fathom. 

“You look back and wonder ‘was it hard having no dad?’ Yeah, it was, but my mom did the best that she could with six of us, but when I grew up, I was not gunna struggle, I was gunna own a vehicle big enough for all of my kids, and I wanted more than what my mom could provide for us.”

For Sonia Treviño, that was all she could ever think of, from the moment she was in the fifth grade. Look Good, Feel Good, Smell Good is a biography about the local Throwbacks Sports Bar owner, Sonia Treviño, and her life-long determination to be successful.

“I believe it was the summer of my sixth-grade year and we were working in the fields. We were cutting weeds from a field of cotton, in Lubbock, Texas. It was me, my mom, my brothers David and Sonny, and my sisters Stephanie and Christina.

It was that summer that I said, “I AM NOT. I AM NOT doing this for the rest of my life. That’s what people from my hometown do -- they weed, they hoe, they cut by hand, and they get blisters. It is so hot and we were in the sixth and seventh grade, working this kind of job. I knew then, that I was not doing that for the rest of my life.”

As soon as Treviño was 18 years old she took the first bus out of Batesville, Texas to start her new life in the Navy. Treviño attended a propulsion engineering A-school, where she was the only woman out of her class of 23 Despite her lack of knowledge in the engineering field, Sonia was determined to be a diesel mechanic, who ranked at the top of her class.  

One of Trevino’s goals was to fulfill her dream of going to Japan. After graduating at the top of her class, she was forbidden from going to Japan, because the billet was only intended for men. Heartbroken, Sonia responded to the rejection by working hard to earn a Navy Achievement Medal within two years, a medal that is rarely given.

“It was disappointing, because I busted my ass, trying to be at the top of my class so I could choose to go to Japan. The standards at the school were hard because it was something I didn't know anything about. So I was learning, basically from scratch.

I was only 18 and some of those guys were 30 -- guys who already had background knowledge in the engineering field. They knew more than I did. I wanted to go to Japan more than anything. I did, however, get to go to Puerto Rico and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was later recognized as Junior Sailor of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, and Junior Sailor of the Atlantic Fleet.”

Trevino later moved to Northfield “Little Creek,” Virginia where she settled down with a man she met in the Navy and had fraternal twins. After another heartbreak in Virginia, Trevino packed up and headed to Amarillo, Texas with her six-month-old twins.

“I was young, I had no kids, no responsibilities, no bills, and in Northfield I met the father of my kids and that's when the hardships came. It was a broken marriage and it didn't work.

My family was in Texas and I was in Virginia, so when my kids were six months old, I moved back to Texas. I went through a hard time for about three months. I cried for about three months, because I was alone with the twins, with no help, and I hadn't slept for I don't know how long, and I finally said, 'That's enough. I need to take care of my kids and move on.'

Sonia Trevino
Credit Courtesy

Trevino struggled to find an engineering job in the area because she was a woman, and no one wanted to invest their time and money in a woman.

“I tried to get a job with my engineering background and no one wanted to hire me, so I was devastated. I went to the unemployment office where my VA Representative got me a job with Kiewit Corporation.”

After landing a job with Kiewit Corporation, Trevino earned an Associate’s degree in Business Management. She then earned Bachelor's degree in Business Management at West Texas A&M University.

She then began operating Western Horseman, a local bar in Amarillo. In 2011, Sonia opened her very own bar, locally known as Throwbacks Sports Bar.

“When I left for the Navy I was 18, with no responsibilities, and I keep going back to that because all we did was party. I guess alcohol, cigarette smoke, and the Navy all come together. So with that being said, I knew that when I got out of the Navy, I would eventually own my own bar, because I spent A LOT of my money at a bar. I said, ‘I was gunna find a way to get my money back.’ I knew since then, that that is what I wanted.”

Trevino currently owns and operates Throwbacks Sports Bar and is in search of the “next big thing.”

“I've got to work on pursuing what's next. Don't get me wrong, I'm 46 years old and I'm already bored. I always have to find the next big thing. You can never just settle and call it good. There always has to be something else. It doesn't matter what you do. If you're good at it, if you work hard, and if you strive to be a perfectionist, people WILL notice. If you look good, feel good, and smell good, you will be successful.”