September 2010 Issue

On the Cover

Arms Race

We used to be known for running backs, but all of a sudden, we’re famous for producing some of the country’s best passers, from Drew Brees to Colt McCoy. What turned our high school football programs into quarterback factories?


Dennis Johnson standing in front of an oil well in jeans and a hard hat.

That’s Oil, Folks!

Forget the Outer Continental Shelf. There’s a good old-fashioned boom happening in Midland, thanks to a crafty drilling technique that unlocked the secret reserves of the Permian Basin and revived the late, great West Texas oilman.


About a Boy

The short life and tragic death of Johnny Romano, the youngest professional skateboarder ever.


The Super

After a year on the job, the superintendent of the largest school district in Texas is loathed and loved in equal measure. Does that mean he’s doing his job?

Rick Bass

Fish Story

One more trip—would it be the last?—to Toledo Bend Reservoir with my dad.



In this high-desert hub just north of Big Bend National Park, you’ll find Western artwork, Mexican handicrafts, and the unexpected snow cone.

How to Cook Authentic Barbacoa

“The kernel of South Texas cuisine is economy,” says Melissa Guerra, a South Texas native and the author of Dishes From the Wild Horse Desert: Norteño Cooking of South Texas. “Barbacoa, made from the meat of a cow’s head, is cheap yet rich in flavor.” Customarily served at weekend breakfasts,

Jackie Hopper, 911 Call Operator

Hopper, who grew up in Weatherford, became one of his hometown’s 911 call operators right out of high school. In 1997 he joined the Austin Police Department, where—except for a hiatus to get his college degree—he has worked in the emergency communications division for seven years.When you call 911, the


Web Exclusive

Get on Board

Michael Hall talks about researching acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), walking the halls of Texas Children’s Hospital, and interviewing the parents of a remarkable skater kid who died.


Can your backyard brisket taste as good as the meat you’d get at your favorite barbecue joint? Bill Karau, a native of Pittsburg, thinks so. There’s only one catch—you’ve got to use one of his pits.


Baby Boom

On October 27, 1900, an Austrian-born mining engineer named Anthony F. Lucas spudded in an oil well on a hill near Beaumont. He’d drilled a previous well in the vicinity to a depth of 575 feet before running out of money and giving up, but this time he’d secured financing

Roar of the Crowd

Roar of the Crowd

Dove TalesAs a fifth-generation Californian—a state that long ago lost its self-worth to historical revisionism—I applaud your insightful observations on Larry McMurtry and Lonesome Dove [“True West,” July 2010]. Luckily the rich history and traditions of Texas have withstood the politically correct demythologizing process that has destructively

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