LET'S CHAT ABOUT BILLY BOB'S TEXAS


It’s hard to say exactly where that most famous of verbiage about everything being “bigger in Texas” might have first originated from. Was it a starry-eyed traveler new to these parts; or perhaps a local cowpoke who was schooling some greenhorn on the benefits of the Lone Star State? Whoever it was, they were right on the money. Everything is bigger here, from the wide-brimmed hats to the wide-open spaces; from the rhinestone belt buckles to the saucer-sized chicken fried steaks you can feast on in Sundance Square. Texas and in particular, Fort Worth, have amassed a huge reputation for giving both locals and visitors an experience worthy of that old cliché. And if it’s music and entertainment that you want done up big, then you can pull on your snakeskin boots and bring your rockabilly swagger on down to the one and only place in Cowtown that does it bigger than anyone else: Billy Bob’s Texas.

To say that Billy Bob’s got its start in the early 80’s is both true and a bit of a disservice. The venue that countless Texans scoot their boots to did become one of the biggest entertainment meccas of DFW in 1981. The building itself, however, got its start as far back as 1910 when it originated as an open-air barn space for prize cattle during the burgeoning years of the Fort Worth Stock Show. In fact, the now-famous “slanted” layout of Billy Bob’s floor space owes its design to the cattlemen that first created it (to make animal clean-up a bit easier). The space later morphed into both an airplane plant and a retail store before eventually being re-born into the venue that draws hundreds of thousands of patrons every year.

The reason for that impressive amount of attendance is fairly self-explanatory when you walk through the doors. Some of the most popular artists in country music and beyond have played Billy Bob’s, from icons like Willy Nelson, Hank Williams Jr. and Randy Travis to emerging artists like Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll, and The Damn Quails. In fact, the club’s Marketing Director Pam Minick even shared an amusing anecdote about past headliner Ringo Starr’s love of both “country music and vintage western shirts”. According to Minick, the fact that “a Beatle played here” is a testament to both Billy Bob’s appeal and the diversity of talent that the club draws year after year.

Not only does Billy Bob’s unique design allow for a large main concert stage (with two smaller stages) and ample recessed seating in the middle of the building to accommodate such talent, but the surrounding areas offer enough variety and diverse forms of entertainment to satisfy everyone from the most hardened of western roughnecks to the youngest of whippersnappers.  After a short walk down the hallway adorned with all manner of country and western memorabilia, you’ll find a large billiards room. Not a few tables, mind you; an entire room. There’s also a Texas-sized gaming area with carnival-style attractions for visitors of all ages. Guests can also commemorate their experience by paying a visit to the eclectic gift shop offering everything from T-shirts and hats to custom jewelry and assorted leather goods.

The piece de resistance however, or as locals would say, the tall hog at the trough, is the gigantic indoor entertainment center that offers up nothing less than live, professional bull riding. You won’t find any mechanical bulls at Billy Bob’s, only the real deal, ridden by some of rodeo’s most accomplished sportsmen. There’s nothing like watching an unassuming cowboy go toe-to-toe with a 1500 pound bull, and Billy Bob’s does it every Friday and Saturday night to a crowd of hundreds of energetic fans. 

If, after all of your cheering and hollering, it’s a taste of Texas cuisine that you’re after, look no further than Billy Bob’s Roadhouse Café. This down-home eatery offers a veritable smorgasbord of goodness, from hand-cut Texas barbecue with all of the fixins’ to gourmet steaks and seafood that’ll have you happier than a tornado in a trailer park. In fact, we have it on good authority that B.B. King himself (who has also headlined on the main stage) has “a standing order of ribs” shipped to his house from time to time. If that’s not endorsement enough, what else is? Daily and nightly drink specials abound as well, so eager imbibers can bring all their friends and try and topple the record of 13,000 bottles of beer that were once consumed during one of Clint Black’s concert appearances.


Billy Bob’s Texas is a disarmingly rare venue these days; it’s both a rip-roaring honkytonk and a family-friendly entertainment attraction all at the same time. Patrons visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards for the 1st or 100th time can bring the younger guests and enjoy the indoor games and rodeos during the day, while the older folks can kick back in the evening with a good brew and enjoy some of the hottest musical acts in the world. There are even dance lessons conducted by professional instructors for eager women (and brave gentleman) looking to break in that new pair of tight fitting jeans. So, whatever your pleasure on a weekday or weekend night out, the friendly staff at Billy Bob’s will be waiting to offer visitors a bit of good ole’ Texas authenticity.

 - Richard Dennis

Courtesy of Morris Publications/Where Guestbook Fort Worth

SUNDANCE SQUARE


It’s practically impossible to wander the red-bricked streets of Sundance Square and not ponder how and when the city of Fort Worth got its start. From the stones underfoot to the distinctive styling of the rooftops overhead; the city speaks volumes. Tough and leathery, with equal touches of western nostalgia, down-home charm, and lasting craftsmanship; Fort Worth has enjoyed all manner of reinventions since it was first established way back in 1849 as a Trinity River military outpost on the borders of the west Texas frontier. It’s a town rife with ghosts; but not the scary kind. These ghosts whisper lonely songs that herald the arrival of tired farm hands; they echo the sounds of the broken wagon wheels carrying hopeful pioneers looking for a fresh start; and they call to mind the ricochets of the final gunshots that marked the end of the Mexican-American War after the Compromise of 1850.

Iconic and rich with history, Fort Worth went through severe growing pains during its initial transformation from a series of forts to a bustling metropolitan area. In fact, at the beginning, it was Hell. Literally. During the late 1800’s, Sundance Square was known as Hell’s Half Acre. It was so named because it had already developed a reputation for being an arduous and demanding area. The city at that time was bursting with the vitality of the emerging American West, but it was also a rough, crude expanse that housed all manner of residents; from the hardworking upstarts looking to start a legitimate life, to the grizzled roughnecks looking for easy money and trouble in fair measure. It was home to both the lawman and the outlaw; both as coarse as the landscape the city was born out of.

Today, Fort Worth is aptly nicknamed Cowtown. The name has significant meaning because one of the city’s first, and most lasting, enterprises was the herding and driving of cattle from Fort Worth’s section of the Chisholm Trail on up through Kansas. In fact, Fort Worth served as the backbone of the Chisholm Trail for many years and established the city as one of the most prominent ranching industries in the country. It wasn’t until the arrival of the railroads, specifically the Texas & Pacific Railway in 1876 that the city truly morphed into the contemporary wonder that many know and love today. Nowhere is that more on display than in Hell’s Half Acre itself.

No longer hellish at all, Sundance Square was originally named after the Sundance Kid, who was a guest and admirer of the area. It’s even said that he often used the location as hideout from his frequent misdeeds. Outlaws aside, the square is now a hotbed of culture, education, and modern conveniences. It’s a section of Fort Worth busting at the seams with the city’s new revitalization. While it may have once been the former stomping ground of Texas legends like Doc Holiday and Butch Cassidy, it’s now the former stomping ground of…well, Texas legends like T-Bone Burnett and Kelly Clarkson among others. In fact, during one of his many trips to Fort Worth, rumor has it that Big Love actor and Texas native Bill Paxton even stopped off at Peters Bros. Hats in downtown to pick his friend Tom Hanks up a Shady Oak western hat; the very same style of hat that was given to John F. Kennedy on the morning of his assassination.

Visitors to Sundance Square today don’t have to worry about outlaws. They can enjoy casual strolls among the area’s art deco buildings and designer landscapes, or they can get their shopping on full steam ahead with distinctive stores like Retro Cowboy or Pappagallo Classiques. The retail shops in the square carry as much variance and diversity as the very city in which they are housed in. It’s just as easy to pick up a t-shirt for the old man at the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop as it is to find that one-of-a-kind treasure at the unusual, but equally impressive Earth Bones store.

If it’s one-of-a-kind cuisine that fits the bill after all of that bargain-hunting, hungry patrons can take in the freshest in Mexican fare at Cabo Grande, or wallow in the hand-cut, smoky deliciousness of The Mercury Chop House. Of course, no culinary visit to Sundance Square would be complete without a sampling of the best in authentic Creole and Southern flavors at Reata on Houston St. The chicken chile rellenos alone are worth catching the next plane or hopping aboard the first available Grapevine Railroad into Fort Worth.

Once the palette is satiated, visitors can continue their adventure through Sundance Square and indulge in a vibrant nightlife consisting of everything from the authentic Texas soundscapes of the Lone Star Nightclub, to the silky smooth rhythms inside the doors of the Scat Jazz Lounge in the celebrated Woolworth Building. If it’s a good brew that makes you as happy as a clam at high tide, consider The Flying Saucer on 4th St. With so many countless bottles and drafts available, imbibers might even be lulled into imagining that they’re actually hearing the strains of Lyle Lovett or Robert Earl Keen’s signature voices wafting from the legendary Bass Hall across the street. With dozens of visits to the celebrated venue between them, it might not be imaginary at all.

Fort Worth and Sundance Square have a wealth of history hidden in every crook, crack, and crevice of the town’s signature make up. From the tallest buildings to the most unassuming of retail shops, there’s a story around every corner. The richness of Cowtown’s legacy isn’t subtle, but then again, it doesn’t have to be. Fort Worth has earned its place in the pantheon of America’s great cities; it has been carved out of the countryside by the hardest of workers and the loftiest of dreamers. You can still hear the trains running daily in and out of Stockyard Station, and the train whistles carry with them the voices of the very people who had a hand in crafting the city’s legacy. Whether it’s through the music and culture, or the food and the people, there’s something here for everyone to appreciate.

 - Richard Dennis

Courtesy of Morris Publications/Where Guestbook Fort Worth

References:

STATE FAIR REFLECTIONS

So long, Big Tex. Let's do it again next year, buddy.

Another season has come and gone, dear readers. This past weekend, the 2014 State Fair of Texas closed up shop after its nearly month-long run and set some new records, both in ticket/concession sales and overall attendance. The weather was beautiful, the live music offerings were quirky and varied, and the newest food temptations were both as ridiculous as always and strangely tasty.

So, now our cholesterol is a little higher; the scale is tipping a couple of pounds in the wrong direction, and we've consumed enough fried dough to last us until...

Well, until Thanksgiving anyway, right?

Regardless, let's take a look at some of the weirdest, and most tantalizing, food choices that the fair had to offer this season (as sampled by yours truly):
  • The Original State Fair Brew - Funnel Cake Ale - This was one of the best newbies of the season, if we're being honest. Upon ordering, I thought I was going to get a sickly sweet, dessert variation of the fried favorite in a cup. Instead, what hit my taste buds was an IPA inspired bitter that wasn't sweet at all, but had a refreshing, yeasty taste. Compliment that with the powdered sugar-lined rim and you got a beer that tasted like Texas Beer. Imagine that. Nicely done, folks. Nicely done.
  • Chicken Fried Bacon - Okay, this one I could have lived without. While the actual product was exactly what was promised, it lacked any seasoning, spice or Texas flair that would have made it a tasty new favorite. Instead, I got a greasy paper bowl with four or five pieces of relatively flavorless bacon strips in a personality-free batter. A valid attempt at taking something fattening, and making it more fattening. But it wasn't worth the calories this time around.
  • Twisted Texas Tacos - Holy crap, now we're talking. What looked like it was going to be a doughy mess of too-much-fried-foodness, instead emerged as one of the best dishes this side of the corn dog. The taco was filled with slightly fried pieces of barbecued brisket and topped with fried okra, cheese, poblano corn and slaw. Oh. My. Goodness. My taste buds are still doing the happy dance after downing this bad boy. I'm currently working on re-creating this one at home.
Top off those three choices with some adult beverages a roasted corn stalk or two and a LOT of walking, and you have another rockin' season this year. 

Sometimes it's easy to ask ourselves as we sit in traffic for 20 minutes on I-30, brave the shady parking lot attendants, and walk a mile and a half into the fair grounds, why we're doing this exactly. What is it about this event that keeps us coming back each and every year? It's frustrating. It's expensive. It can be a pain in the ass, frankly.

Well, that's easy folks. It's home. The State Fair of Texas reminds us of why we live here. Wrapped in all of the excess, you find a bunch of really good people setting up shop to entice us with uniquely Southern items and trinkets. You have fantastic food and familiar music that sets the tone for this region; and you have a bunch of friends and families that want nothing more than to get out there with the people closest to them and have a good time. The smell of barbecue and beer are everywhere. People are smiling and riding rides while Big Tex looms large overhead with that oddly shaped hand, beckoning us into the grounds.

Opinions may vary, but for this State Fair fan, that's reason enough. See you next year.

 - Richard Dennis



SUD-SATIONAL

Three words, Texas Culture Hubbers: Thirty. Rotating. Drafts.

It almost goes without saying that any burger and beer joint that opens in the Big D is going to have a lot to live up to, especially considering the wealth of choices and availability of good beef in the area.  However, if the youthful energy, spirited crowds and cool Greenville Ave. location are any indication,  then the freshly hatched Dallas Beer Kitchen seems to be off and running in the right way so far. The DBK features nearly three dozen selections of suds ranging from local and hard to find to globally accepted and admired. The menu is movie themed (complete with cinema style popcorn) and features fat Southwestern-inspired burgers that take their names from famous films, as well as thick fries and creative desserts. Dallas might just have another long-lasting, and tasty, favorite on its hands. 

www.dallasbeerkitchengreenville.com 

1802 Greenville Ave. Suite 110, 214-484-2481

- Richard Dennis

Source: Where Magazine/Morris Publications

GREETINGS TEXAS CULTURE HUBBERS!

As the newest blogger to grace the hallowed grounds of the Texas Culture Hub, I thought it fitting to introduce myself a bit, give you the lowdown on where I'm coming from (literally and figuratively speaking, folks) and tell you a little bit about the fledgling posts that I'm leading off with this week. 

First off, like many of you, I'm a tried and true Texan. I love every nook and cranny of this great state, from the Corral Theatre in Wimberly to the legendary music (and lack of air conditioning) that emanates from Gruene Hall. This big, eccentric and utterly fascinating Lone Star State has always held a special place in my heart. 

In fact, I love it so much that I've spent the last decade of my life writing about it. All of it. The good and the bad, the quirky and the mainstream. If it exudes a Texas flavor, it's a ripe subject for me to discuss, rave about and mull over. I could be grooving to the jazz and blues-infused rhythms of Lyle Lovett or chasing down chorizo-stuffed jalapeños...it doesn't matter. Nothing says home to me like the warm weather and Southern appeal that Texas holds. 

So, to start off my time here at the Hub, I wanted to post a couple of my past pieces to give you a sense of what interests me, what some of my posts might look like going forward, and to get your opinion. I'm kicking things off with a piece on one of my favorite subjects: FOOD. Tex-Mex, in particular. Got your attention? Good! Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Lastly, seeing as how it's that time of year again, I thought I might attempt to lure you into a trip down a foggy passageway, or through a dark hallway by taking a look at some of the most spine-tingling haunted houses that litter the metroplex during this time of year. So, gather your nerves and click on Haunted Texas if you'd like a taste of some of the creepiest goings-on around town this October.

That's all for now, my fellow Hubbers. I'm glad to be a part of the Texas Culture Hub and the Tumbleweed TexStyles family, and I hope to hear more from you as I continue. Now grab a cold one and get to reading!

 - Richard Dennis

WHAT IS TEX-MEX?


Everyone is familiar with the zesty crunch of a good plate of nachos. To the uninitiated, it could seem that these simple but delectable creations have always been with us. After all, who would need to invent a nacho? Take some cheese; put it on a deep-fried chip, top it with sour cream or guacamole, and it’s finished. But where did it actually start? A quick Google search confirms officially that it all began in Piedras Negras, Mexico in the early 1940s by a man named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. The story goes that Anaya threw the blessed union of cheddar cheese, tostadas and jalapeno slices together (using remaining ingredients from the day) to appease some last minute lady patrons to the Victory Club restaurant where he was employed. For whatever reason, the gamble worked, the dish was a huge success, and the recipe stuck. Now, nachos are devoured in restaurants all over the world, every hour of the day. From the sloppiest ballpark concoction to the most distinct gourmet creation, nachos, like so many other dishes native to the Southwest, are standout symbols of a cuisine that has been birthed and re-birthed countless times throughout history: Tex-Mex.

When you think of Tex-Mex, many tantalizing images come to mind. Whether it’s the cheesy goodness of a plate of enchiladas and refried beans, the toasted aroma of a bowl of freshly made corn chips or even the sweet temptations of post-dinner empanadas or sopapillas, this hugely popular fare has been a mainstay of U.S. culture since before the second World War. While Texas and Mexico are the obvious inspirations, Indian influences (such as the addition of cumin) are also credited to the perfection of the recipes. Also, despite the misleading sound of its handle, Tex-Mex isn’t, strictly speaking, Mexican food at all. It’s a purely American concoction crafted on American soil; but it has been made famous by the talented Mexican chefs and culinary artists that grew up enjoying more traditional versions of these one-of-a-kind creations in their family kitchens.

In fact, Jorge Cortez, owner and operator of Mi Tierra in San Antonio’s El Mercado (or Market Square), doesn’t see this unique collaboration as any kind of who-did-what or who-gets-credit-for-what at all. He sees it as a natural progression of history and inspiration. “Tex-Mex evolved according to the tastes and influences of the country,” he states. “It stands right alongside the music, tradition, and unique artistry of the region. It’s what America is about.” One need only experience the aromatic emanations from the 24-hour Mi Tierra itself to tell you that Cortez is right on the money. It isn’t a competition, or question of authorship. The winners are the patrons.

Strictly speaking, the purely Mexican originations of Tex-Mex actually tend to lean more towards a simpler, more old-fashioned style of cooking; with the spices, time-honored recipes and much-loved ingredients getting their basis in Mexico’s customs. However, the U.S. eventually brought something decidedly different to the table. The American influences led to the “beefing” up of the spices, the sauces, the meat, and the overall heartiness of the dishes. It was this combination that led to Tex-Mex evolving into much of what it has come to look like today. Now characterized by large portions, an affinity towards beef and pork meat products, flour and corn ingredients, and an assortment of beans like black and pinto, Tex-Mex has become a beautiful amalgamation; a distinct blending of sensibilities born out of these separate cultures and turned into something wholly original. To some, it’s the perfect plate.

Mr. Cortez even wryly volunteered that he loves to tell his cooking staff the fairytale story of the Mexican and American ranchers who went to work together with their homemade lunches in tow. According to Cortez, “The Mexican rancher had a dozen enchiladas made up of simply corn tortillas and meat, while the American brought his wife’s homemade chili.” Curious, they decided to share their meals, and to their delight, enchiladas with con carne sauce were born. As any lover of Tex-Mex can attest, that particular dish has been a staple of the fare for generations.


While Tex-Mex endured some backlash because of its tradition-bending, supporters like Cortez are happy to argue that the flavors are simply a well-orchestrated symphony “originated in the markets and plazas” of the Southwest region. Starting with eager-to-please restaurateurs serving up generous portions of food to soldiers, families and the myriad of travelers and newcomers to San Antonio and the surrounding areas, and continuing right into the modern area where Tex-Mex is found in some form in many places throughout the world; the sights, sounds, and smells of this delicious cuisine are as far-reaching as the influences it draws from. At its best, Tex-Mex cooking seems to represent many of the melting-pot aspects of the country. Not much unto itself, but melded together it becomes something greater than the individual ingredients alone. Like a good plate of nachos, it’s the layers, not the individual parts that create the masterpiece.

 - Richard Dennis

Source:

Originally Posted in the San Antonio Guestbook in an article entitled, “What is Tex-Mex?”
Used with permission from Morris Publications

HAUNTED TEXAS

As the leaves begin to turn as orange as the store pumpkins, and the chills in the air become a reality, it’s time to turn our attention to that most horrifying of holidays. Whether you fancy a low-key slog through a ghostly hayride, or a pulse-pounding trip into the bowels of an eerie castle, there’s no time as frightfully delicious as Halloween. So wrap your favorite sweater just a little tighter and keep the hot chocolate close; it’s time to explore the goriest and goofiest October happenings in the Big D.

Screams
Just a short jaunt out of Dallas and into the foreboding realms of Waxahachie, this blood-curdling “Halloween Theme Park” awaits. Residing on the same grounds as Scarborough Faire, Screams offers thrill-seekers a truly rousing experience complete with themed food, haunted mazes, activities and shows, and spooky hayrides. The grounds are family friendly and range from slighter scares for the little ones to more terrifying temptations like the newly opened Castle of Darkness for the older monsters. 2511 FM 66, Waxahachie, 972-938-3247, www.screamspark.com

Thrillvania Thrill Park and the Verdun Manor
Be warned, trespassers. Touted as one of the most popular haunts in the country, this one-of-a-kind location offers a full night of scares with eight different attractions ranging from the 3D Labyrinth of Terror and the Maze of Chaos to the haunted Voodoo Bayou and of course the werewolf-themed Verdun Manor itself. There’s even a brand new 4D spooktacular this season designed to petrify even the bravest of patrons. Interstate 20 and Wilson Rd., Terrell, www.thrillvania.com

The Boneyard Haunted House
Guaranteed to leave no hair un-raised, this bone-chilling Arlington favorite has earned a national reputation as “the world’s largest haunted house” and features over 2,800 square feet of terror. Willing adventurers take an adrenaline fueled (and nearly hour long) walk through every kind of fright imaginable. Both truly visceral and all in good fun, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. 2921 E. Division St., Arlington, 817-451-2663, www.theboneyard.org

Reindeer Manor
Hold on tight, and get ready for a wild night. A DFW favorite for nearly four decades, the Haunted House at Reindeer Manor is not only an actual house, but it might actually be haunted as well. Steeped in real history going back to the early 1900’s, this frighteningly unique creep-fest prides itself on showcasing a realistic and truly unnerving experience. Ominous farmland and macabre undertones almost dare visitors to run as they make their way through the grounds’ three different haunted attractions. Our condolences. 410 Houston School Rd. Red Oak, 972-514-RATS, www.reindeermanor.com

- Richard Dennis

Source:

Originally posted in Where Magazine/Morris Publications

100 Reasons Texas Is Twice As Awesome As Any Other State

Do any of these still apply?
The Top 100 Reasons Texas Is Twice as Awesome as Your State:
1. NASA
2. World class birding. Even in the middle of Dallas at White Rock Lake.
3. Tex-Mex
4. El Capitan
5. South Padre Island (best sand castle sand in the world)
6. Molly Ivins
7. Ann Richards
8. Taco Cabana
9. Sons of Hermann Hall
10. Barton Springs, Balmorhea, Krause Springs and all the rest
11. When Katrina refugees needed places to stay, we took them in.
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12. Nolan Ryan 
13. Willie Nelson
14. Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Lyle Lovett and Townes Van Zandt
15. The most popular poker game in the world isn't called New York Hold 'Em, is it?
16. The Frio River
17. The Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater
18. Bottle RocketReality Bites and Robocop were filmed here.
19. Also, GiantLogan's RunFandango and No Country for Old Men.
20. The Last Picture ShowBonnie and ClydeLonesome Dove and Dazed and Confused, too.
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Patrick Michels
21. Walker, Texas Fucking Ranger OR Chuck Norris
22. Texas high school football is Friday Night Lights.
23.In some Texas towns, you can hear native Texans speaking Spanish, German and Polish. 
24. Oh, and Czech, too
25. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
26. Our school kids take a full year of Texas History. Can they name all other 49 states? Not sure but they sure as hell wouldn't bother to rank them below us in a list.
27. Chili. Real chili, with no beans and not made with chicken or other yankee bullshit.
28. That "The stars at night are big and bright..." scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure? That shit really works in real life. And not ironically. We've seen it many times. 
29. Aggie jokes/tests. [Updated. Applause for commenter Missy!]
30. SMU Physics Dept.'s Dark Matter Research (apparently leading the field)
31. Top Tier Universities: Rice (17) and the University of Texas at Austin (45)
32. You've heard of "Texas Music," right?
33. Kris Kristofferson, the guy who wrote every song you've ever heard (pop and country)
34. Waylon Jennings, not from Texas but got here quick (Luckenbach, anybody?)[Corrected. Editor's note: Dude, we know, but apparently some of the contributors to this list haven't yet gotten their honky tonk degrees.]
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35. Tommy Lee Jones
36. Can we count Bill Moyers? Born in Hugo, OK but went to UT Austin and was press sec for LBJ. 
37. That Larry McMurtry guy with all those badass books he wrote about us.
38. Lon Tinkle, writer, literary critic and Dallas Morning News journalist who now (posthumously) pays for a lot of kids to go to school (Lon Tinkle Award at SMU, for instance)
39.The Texas Freedom Network - watchdog against radical religious conservatism
40. Dallas Mavericks! 
41. Dirk Nowitzki!
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42. Mark Cuban! 
43. Denton proving that you don't have to be a big city to have a phenomenal music scene.
44. You can sing any Emily Dickinson poem to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." 
45. More mega-churches
46. Dr. Denton Cooley performed first artificial heart transplant
47. Best state shape for cookies
48. Regional theater started here with Margo Jones in the 1940s
49. "Cowboying" is still a profession.
50. The Marfa lights and Janis Joplin still aren't fully understood by outsiders.

51. Everybody knows somebody who has a ranch.
52. Bill Hicks lived and died here.
53. We still have the moon rocks.
54. Betty Buckley was born here and still lives in Fort Worth.
55. SXSW is now cooler than the Sundance Film Festival.
56. Cheap avocados.
57. Great surfing. But we like to keep that to ourselves.
58. You can go to an opera and a rodeo and see the same people in the crowd at both.
59. No state income tax. So far, anyway.
60. We get heat, ice storms, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.
61. Lots of chupacabra sightings.
62. Frozen margaritas were invented here.
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63. The State Fair of Texas, which has changed very little in 50 years but is still the biggest, best damn state fair in the land.
64. Farrah Fawcett splashed in the NorthPark fountain and was born and raised in Corpus Christi.
65. Currently the leader in most reality shows filmed about one city/state.
66. Did we mention our State used to be a nation? Our state used to be a nation.
67. More songs written about/involving Texas than rest
68. "Everything is bigger in Texas" -- We have the most "legendary" perception from others, national and internationally.
69. More than 10 distinct ecological regions (Coastal Plains, Delta Valley, Deserts, Mountains, Hill Country, etc.)
70. UT Austin owns all the Woodward and Bernstein files from Watergate.
71. First state to successfully prosecute those nutty FLDS pedophiles.
72. Dinosaur tracks in Glen Rose
73. Texas toast.
74. Real iced tea from teabags, not that California mango crap.
75. Gruene Hall, which has a unique history all its own
76. Tubing down the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers
77. The Alamo, y'all; it's especially beautiful lit up at night
78. Joe Ely
79. UT Austin has Norman Mailer's papers, and also LBJ's
80. Fiesta in San Antonio (it's a citywide party)
81. Wes Anderson was born here
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82. The sky! And the best thunderstorms you've ever seen.
83. Larry McMurtry's Booked Up shops in Archer City
84. The Harry Ransom Center
85. Chicken fried steak
86. A state shape that makes for excellent souvenirs, aside from the aforementioned cookies
87. The Texas Rangers are nice boys.
88. Buddy Holly
89. And therefore, the very excellent Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock
90. Big Bend National Park
91. Austin City Limits (the show, not the fest)
92. East Texas Bigfoot
93. John Graves
94. Shiner and Rahr
95. Enchanted Rock
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96. Barbecue
97. Dead Armadillos Drinking Lone Star, and related folk art/crafts
98. Roy Orbison
99. Roky Erickson
100. George Jones
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