126–150

From Buzz Bissinger arriving in Odessa—with a notepad—to Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen writing songs in College Station

126 | Buzz Bissinger arrives in Odessa—with notepad

4700 Golder Avenue, Odessa | July 15, 1988

In the summer of 1988, a Philadelphia Inquirer Writer named H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger moved from the Pennsylvania suburbs to live full-time in Odessa and report on the upcoming football season. The book that resulted, Friday Night Lights, was an instant sports classic that launched a movie and a television show. During the ’88 season, when Bissinger wasn’t on the sidelines, you could find him with his family at Dos Amigos on Sundays. “It’s the ultimate Texas bar,” he says. “The lights are low, the music is on, and there’s real bull riding in the back. As a Yankee Jew, I got a little nervous when I first went in, but everyone was great.” Bissinger would find Odessa much the same today, including the fact that Gary Gaines, the coach of the Panthers at the time, has returned. “I went back with my son Zach twenty years after the book came out,” Bissinger says. “And the first thing Zach said was ‘Let’s go to Dos Amigos.’ ” —BDS

127 | T.S. Hogan builds Petroleum Building

214 West Texas Avenue, Midland | July 4, 1929

The builder was T. S. Hogan, a Montana attorney who had come to West Texas to search for oil in the newly discovered fields of the Permian Basin. Hogan correctly guessed that Midland, which just a few years earlier was nothing more than a railroad depot, would soon become the region’s leading city. His twelve-story office tower, complete with ornate Gothic spires soaring into the sky, became known as the Petroleum Building, as dozens of oilmen moved in to make their fortunes. Today the great Midland tycoons work in modern skyscrapers that dwarf the Petroleum Building, which is leased mostly to small, independent oilmen still searching for their first gushers. But every now and then, you can hear a “yeehaw” coming out of one of those ancient offices. —S. HOLLANDSWORTH

128 | Buddy Holly opens for Elvis

1012 Avenue A, Lubbock | February 13, 1955

The ads that circulated around town proclaimed “The Be-Bop Western Star of the Louisiana Hayride Returns to Lubbock.” Elvis, just twenty years old and eleven months away from superstardom, would be paid $75 for a four o’clock performance at the Fair Park Coliseum, which had opened just the year before. But the rest of the bill was not to be overlooked, including a senior at Lubbock High School named Buddy Holly, who performed with his friend Bob Montgomery. They had played at parties and church events and on local radio, but this show was different. With the crowds and the venue and the stage, it had the feel of the big time. Indeed, Holly would open for Elvis twice more that year at the coliseum, which still hosts events. These performances would lead to a meeting with Eddie Crandall, the manager of Marty Robbins, who would introduce Holly to the execs at Decca Records. —BDS

129 | Flying Queens begin their historic winning streak

1900 West Seventh, Plainview | November 7, 1953

Today the sports world celebrates the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, which set a major conference record earlier this year by winning its ninetieth consecutive game. But even the Huskies didn’t come close to the accomplishments of the Wayland Lassies, the women’s hoops squad from Wayland Baptist College, a tiny school in the heart of the Panhandle. Wayland’s streak began with a 51—31 win over the Dowell’s Dolls, a team from Amarillo, and continued, incredibly, for the next five years—131 consecutive games in all, including four national Amateur Athletic Union championships. During their remarkable run, the Lassies barnstormed around the country in a private airplane funded by a local alum, which earned them the nickname “the Flying Queens.” Before games, the girls carefully did their hair and makeup in the locker room, and then they hit the hardwood, performing dazzling pregame dribbling and passing drills that they learned from the Harlem Globe-trotters. The streak finally ended in 1958, at the hands of Nashville Business College, but it could very well be the most durable record in all of sport. The original gymnasium where it began has been turned into the Nunn School of Business, but at almost every Wayland home game, you can still find one of the two coaches from that era. —S. HOLLANDSWORTH

130 | First suspects rounded up in fraudulent drug sting

136 East Broadway Avenue, Tulia | July 23, 1999

They started bringing them to the old red-brick Swisher County Jail on the courthouse square at first light, making sure the local TV news had a chance to film the defendants in their bedclothes, with their uncombed hair. By the time it was over, the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force had arrested 47 people on the scantest of evidence—including 10 percent of Tulia’s black population—for dealing cocaine. The case ignited a scandal that would keep this small farming town in the national news for years. The fall from grace for Tom Coleman, the itinerant narc who made the cases, was breathtaking: from Officer of the Year in 1999 to convicted perjurer in 2005. Governor Perry pardoned almost all of Coleman’s victims, but the damage to the statewide drug task force program—and the hundreds of narcs it employed—could not be repaired. By 2006, it was dead. —NB

131 | Hunters kill Bison the old-fashioned way

Texas Highway 207, outside Silverton | c. 7500 BC

Aboriginal hunters armed with state-of-the-art weapons (chipped-stone spears) lie in wait for dinner (and lunch and clothing and shelter) as a herd of giant bison grazes near the mouth of a canyon that is now submerged beneath Lake Mackenzie. The hunters patiently wait for the right moment and then, with a prehistoric racket, they move in for the kill. Scientists are still unclear how they disabled the massive beasts, but man triumphs over nature. As they butcher and skin the carcasses, some hunters discard

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