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Willie’s done it seven times. So has George W. Bush. Ross Perot and Troy Aikman have each done it four times. Kinky Friedman has done it three times (twice dressed as a woman). Lance Armstrong, Ann Richards, Rick Perry, and Selena have also done it three times (and pssst: Selena will do it again in April). Farrah Fawcett, Lyle Lovett, Laura Bush, Tom DeLay, George Strait, Jerry Jones, Henry Cisneros, Dennis Quaid, Joel Osteen, and Kay Bailey Hutchison have all done it twice. A lot of people have done it once—Dan Rather, Beyoncé, Chuck Norris, Lena Guerrero, Stanley Marsh 3, Mack Brown, Nolan Ryan, Barbara Jordan, T. Boone Pickens, Herb Kelleher, Vince Young, Dick Cheney, Carolyn Farb, George Foreman, Pat Green, Billy Graham, Clinton Manges, Karl Rove, Ty Murray, Hallie Stillwell, Edie Brickell, Van Cliburn, Heloise, Sandra Bullock, the Stoner family, the pitmaster at Smitty’s Market, and, improbably, our own Paul Burka, holding aloft a steaming bowl of chili.
I’m speaking, of course, of being on the cover of texas monthly. All the people listed above, plus many more, have spent at least one of the past 446 months staring out from newsstands and up from coffee tables, some in poses more memorable than others. Who can forget Governor Richards straddling a Harley in July 1992 or Vice President Cheney brandishing a shotgun in January 2007? What about Kelleher wearing a skintight Disco Elvis getup in April 1989? Or a barefoot Cisneros in September 1987, reclining on a white bedspread in a white sweater with his infant son, John Paul Anthony? Our covers run the gamut from serious to seriously irreverent, but over the years this little 8.125-by-10.5-inch piece of real estate has become a fixture in the psychic landscape. Occupying it for thirty days is a thrill that most of us can only imagine.
This month we gathered together a bucket list of things that all Texans should do before they die (see The Bucket List), uniquely Texan activities that give us great pleasure or remind us in some way of what it means to be Texan. As we were brainstorming the items, someone said, “What about being on the cover of texas monthly?” A dozen or so meetings, some generous code-sharing from the folks at Mother Jones (who recently did something similar), and many long hours of work from the wizards on our Web team later, I’m happy to announce that this month, you can join the ranks of Willie, Kinky, Selena, Vince, Boone, and George W. (and also Burka, who’s written about his experience being on the glossy stage).
Just go to texasmonthly.com/covercontest, where you can upload photos of yourself, your kids, or your friends onto a version of this month’s cover. You can save it, print it, e-mail it, make it your Facebook profile photo, plaster every telephone pole in your neighborhood with it, and enter it in our cover contest. We’ll choose the best-looking covers and display them in a gallery on our Web site (hint: we’ll be looking for covers that are in keeping with the theme of this month’s cover story, shots of classic activities that you think should have been on our bucket list, so go find that picture of your kid eating a corny dog under Big Tex or your girlfriend at the South Rim, in Big Bend National Park).
Of course, we won’t be printing hundreds of thousands of copies of your cover, slapping it on a magazine, and mailing it out to subscribers and discerning newsstand operators everywhere (unless you happen to be “Willie N., of Austin”), but this should give you a taste of what it’s like to be on the cover of texas monthly. That way, you can cross this item off your list and get on to drinking a Dublin Dr Pepper and diving into Dolan Falls.
The life and tragic death of Selena, on the fifteenth anniversary of her murder; the plight of endangered Galveston Bay oystermen; sex trafficking in Houston; how to cure post-traumatic stress disorder; and l’affaire Leach.