The 1991 Bum Steer Awards

You can relax—1990 is over. But who enjoyed it? Not Clayton Williams. He spent $10 million, most of it out of his own pocket, to roll up a twenty-point lead over Ann Richards in the governor’s race, but he forgot to buy the one thing he needed to assure victory—a muzzle. He vowed to “head and hoof her and drag her through the dirt,” but the only hoof he caught was in his own mouth. For his gaffes—from joking about rape to volunteering that he paid no income taxes in 1986—he earns our Bum Steer of the Year award.

But Claytie had lots of competition. Willie Nelson wound up even deeper in the hole than Claytie; the feds say he owes more than $16 million in back taxes. Southfork Ranch of Dallas fame was so far in the hole that it went into foreclosure. And the Arkansas Razorbacks wanted to crawl into a hole when they lost seven out of eight Southwest Conference football games after deciding to leave the conference for better competition.

Dallas lost a police chief when Mack Vines got indicted. Houston lost a school superintendent when Joan Raymond flunked out. San Antonio lost a chance at the NBA championship when the Spurs couldn’t win in Portland. But we did win a couple of titles. In 1990, Ralph Nader declared us the nation’s worst energy hogs, and the federal government said we were the worst air polluters. The last ranking should change now that Claytie isn’t talking anymore.

WHERE ARE RAPHAEL, LEONARDO, DONATELLO, AND MICHELANGELO WHEN YOU NEED THEM?
Troy Brewer, a deliveryman for Domino’s Pizza in Balch Springs, was robbed of about $50 by two thieves armed with a snapping turtle.

WENDY AND MIKE, FIRST AT THE SCENE
Wendy Sheldon and Mike Reeder, two news anchors at KWTX-TV in Waco who were reported missing, resigned after they were found together in Albuquerque.

OH, I WISH I WAS IN THE LAND OF HOUSTON/OLD TIMES THERE ARE NOW FOR BOOSTIN’
Following complaints that he had a Confederate battle flag on display in his courtroom, state district judge Allen Daggett of Houston replaced it with a “Houston Proud” banner.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY PASTRY
A Fort Worth man complained to authorities that when he opened a new box of Pop-Tarts, he discovered a Christian religious pamphlet wedged between the breakfast pastries.

FROM THE ULTIMATE IDIOT
Jerry Hodge, the vice chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, took two friends on a training exercise in which they tracked prison inmates trying to elude search dogs. Afterward, he gave his friends jackets embroidered with “The Ultimate Hunt.”

IT WAS A MATTER OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY
Responding to the Dallas Zoo’s request for businesses to adopt an animal through contributions, the Dallas law firm of Bickel and Brewer underwrote the adoption of all the zoo’s snakes.

FIRST HE CONSULTED NANCY REAGAN
Citing stress, Lago Vista alderman Claude Neinast resigned from the city council and explained, “My decision today has been prompted by my horoscope.”

FIRST THEY HAVE TO PROVE THAT THEY ARE ADULTS 
Ten-year-old Natasha Dennis played goalie so well in an eleven-year-old-and-under girls’ soccer league in Lewisville that fathers with daughters on opposing teams demanded that she undress in front of witnesses to prove that she was a girl.

YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN
Two months after dying of a heart attack, Ken Groves of Arlington won the Democratic nomination for Tarrant County judge.

WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?
Two and a half hours after Manuel Alvarez of San Antonio recovered his stolen car, thieves stole it from his apartment house parking lot.

AND WE SAY THAT THE SO-CALLED GOVERNOR HAS BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED
One day after declaring Galveston Bay a disaster area because of a 700,000-gallon oil spill, Governor Bill Clements returned from a helicopter tour of the scene and said, “The so-called oil spill has been greatly exaggerated.”

HE ASKED FOR A CHANGE OF VENUE TO DUVAL COUNTY
Michael Taylor of Austin was indicted for registering to vote 37 times, using the names of dead people.

TOO BAD. IT WOULD HAVE MADE A GREAT SPEECH
The Austin Chamber of Commerce invited Skirvin Johnson, the business-finance manager for the city’s economic development office, to speak on how to get money from the government. But Johnson failed to show up because he had been arrested on charges of engaging in fraudulent financial transactions with loans to minority businesses.

HE BEAT CURTIS' FIST TO A PULP WITH HIS FACE
A spectator at the Dallas regional Golden Gloves boxing tournament started a fight with a fellow onlooker without realizing that his adversary was Curtis Cokes, a former world welterweight boxing champion.

THE RUNNER-UP: A GREAT VIEW FROM HER HUSBAND'S OFFICE WINDOW
When USA Today asked the mayors of fourteen cities to pick the top must-see attraction in their city — such as the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Alamo in San Antonio — Dallas mayor Annette Strauss chose J. Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, in which her son-in-law is an investor.

DON'T BLAME THIS ONE ON THE SERPENT
Concerned that visitors would be offended by the nudity of three small figurines in an art exhibit at Dallas City Hall, city officials covered the figurines with tiny handmade fig leaves.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER SPECIFICS THAT YOU CAN'T GIVE US?
Commenting on the Air Force’s decision to relieve Lieutenant General Peter Kempf as the commander of Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, spokesman Ron Sconyers said, “I cannot give specifics of the investigation. I can tell you that our definition of misconduct includes inappropriate conduct with members of the opposite sex that includes subordinates.”

DIAL V FOR VANDALISM 
The San Antonio police discovered that members of Damage Inc., a teenage street gang, carried professionally printed business cards.

WASH HIS CAR OUT WITH SOAP
Texas state officials approved an application from Stanley Hooper of Dallas for personalized license plates that read, FKNCNB.

HE WANTED THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE KEATING

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