Tag Archives: Canyon

Goofy Canyon statue makes SI news

Intriguing, to say the least.

Tex Randall, that gangly statue that looks as though it’s about to collapse onto U.S. Highway 60 in Canyon, has become the backdrop for a most interesting photo shoot.


A Sports Illustrated swimsuit model is seen perched on one of ol’ Tex’s boots.

What an, um, interesting location to shoot a swimsuit babe.

SI has made a serious name for itself with its annual Swimsuit Edition. Some mighty fascinating young women have graced the cover of the magazine known for its coverage of, well, sports. I think of Elle McPherson and Christy Brinkley immediately. I know other famous super models have sprung toward stardom after appearing on the SI swimsuit cover.

SI shot Tex’s boot as part of a Route 66 tour. As my friend Karen Welch noted in her article in the Amarillo Globe-News, U.S. 60 isn’t all that close to Route 66, which runs east-west through Amarillo. But I guess it was close enough to suit the editors at SI.

As Welch reported in the Globe-News: “The group made no guarantees any photo involving Tex Randall would make the print or digital editions.”

Hey, does it really matter? It’s good to know the editors at SI found something to accompany a photo of one of its models.

Meanwhile, keep standing tall, Tex.


Time to 'dampen' Canyon

A little birdie has tipped me off to a possible sea change election coming up in a sleepy little town just south of Amarillo.

There might be a ballot measure up for decision this November that would determine whether Canyon, Texas — in the words of my little birdie-snitch — goes “damp.” He means voters could be asked to decide on a measure to allow the sale of liquor by the drink within the city limits.

My question is as it’s always been with regard to “dry” counties and communities: Why in this age of extreme mobility, when people can travel quickly from town to town, county to county, would you want to maintain a prohibition on the sale of liquor by the drink?

There once was a time — when we traveled by horse-drawn wagons or walked by oneself — when establishing dry communities made a modicum of sense. If you didn’t want people drinking in your town, then you banned it and forced them to stay in their own towns to drink until they passed out.

The invention of the automobile changed that.

Now we can drive from one city to the next. If your town doesn’t allow liquor by the drink, you get into your car and go the next city that does allow it. In Canyon’s case, it’s only about a 12-mile drive to the southern outskirts of Amarillo.

Another question: Why subject motorists, passengers — or other motorists — to those who might have imbibed a bit too heavily in Amarillo but choose to drive home to Canyon to sleep it off?

Am I condoning excessive drinking? Of course not. As one who only occasionally enjoys a cold beer on a hot day, I am acutely aware of the dangers of alcohol abuse. No one should fall victim to it and I do not wish our communities to become full of drunken sluggards.

My Canyon snitch said something about a meeting planned for Wednesday in which this ballot measure idea is discussed. I hope it produces a plan to proceed with an election.

I also hope the election occurs and the good folks of the Randall County seat decide to enter the 21st century.

Potter-Randall merger: Is it remotely possible?

Nancy Tanner is running for Potter County judge.

I’m seeing an increasing number of her lawn signs cropping up on yards — in Randall County.

The appearance of these signs begs a question I’ve been kicking around in my noggin for the nearly two decades I’ve lived in Amarillo: Why don’t the counties merge?

Here’s a bit of background for readers of this blog who live far away.

* Amarillo straddles the line dividing Potter and Randall counties. It serves as the Potter County seat; the Randall County seat is about 12 miles south on Interstate 27 in Canyon. The city’s population is now very close to 200,000 residents. Roughly 60 percent of whom live in Potter County, the rest in Randall County.

* Randall County’s main courthouse complex is in Canyon, but the bulk of its business is done at its annex in south Amarillo, which collects about 80 percent of all the revenue for the county and adjudicates a similar percentage of all the small-claims crimes decided by the justice of the peace.

* Amarillo, indeed, comprises about 85 percent of Randall County’s population and generates about 80 percent of the county’s property tax revenue.

* The Randall County jail sits on the southern edge of Amarillo, next to the Youth Center of the High Plains.

All that said, the Potter County judge race featuring five candidates running for the Republican nomination is of interest to Randall County residents because many of them work in Potter County. As for Tanner’s yard signs showing up in a county where residents cannot vote for her, that’s just good politics on her party. They put her name out there and give her more of a ubiquitous presence. I’m quite sure the other candidates — those with the money to spend — will do the same thing eventually.

Back to the question of a merger. It’s always made sense to me to meld the counties into one, given their common interests and the fact that Amarillo sits atop the line dividing them.

It’s an immensely complicated process politically. How would one merge the county governments? Who gets to keep their job? Who would lose theirs? How do you settle the obvious turf fights? How do you accomplish this thing legally? Would Canyon residents want to lose their status as the county seat? Lastly, what would you call this new county and how do we settle on a name?

It would require at minimum a constitutional amendment election, meaning that all Texans would have to vote to allow the counties to merge in a statewide referendum. We’ve amended the Texas Constitution for far less consequential things than this, so this is a natural.

I know this topic has been nibbled at for many years. Nothing ever happens for obvious reasons. Merging the counties would step on too many political toes and there would be too many battles to fight. No one seems to have the stomach for fighting them.

I get all that.

Lawn signs, though, for candidates running for office in a neighboring county seem to make as much sense as having two counties of nearly identical size sharing a single significant city.

Which is to say it makes little or no sense at all.

West Texas A&M has explaining to do

I’ll leave it to folks who are more in the know on West Texas A&M University athletics issues, people who are adept at parsing language or looking for things said or not said.

Jon Mark Beilue, writing for the Amarillo Globe-News, writes that he smells a rat in the sudden resignation/retirement of head WT men’s basketball coach Rick Cooper.


My pal Beilue has been around more WT locker rooms than most individuals. He knows the lay of the land at the Canyon campus.

But from my vantage point here in the peanut gallery, I have to concur that something’s just not right with the WT athletic program. This year has produced a couple of stunners.

First came the firing of head football coach Don Carthel, just two weeks before the start of what has turned out to be a successful season. The Buffaloes are still in the Division II playoff hunt for the national title. Carthel was canned for an NCAA ethics violation.

Now comes Cooper’s “retirement.” Beilue believes Cooper just walked away because he’d “had enough.”

Of what? Or of whom?

The common denominator in both coaches’ departure is WT athletic director Michael McBroom. Is he the reason for Cooper’s decision to quit barely a quarter of the way into this basketball season?

About four years ago, WT made a big deal out of its desire to create a first-class athletic environment. Its strategy was to become a magnet for blue-chip athletes who could come here to participate in revenue-producing sports — such as football and basketball. They would bring fans to the games, generating revenue for the school, enabling WT to build better facilities. It all sort of feeds on itself and that was WT President Pat O’Brien’s stated mission.

Then — poof! — the two most successful coaches in the school’s history are gone. That is no way to build the kind of athletic program a university envisions.

Something smells at West Texas A&M University. Are you paying attention, Texas A&M University System Board of Regents?