Who is the most Texan Texan? Is it an Alamo defender? A political giant? Legendary singer? Gruff actor? Dignified football coach? Maverick businessman? Enterprising businesswoman?
The Lone Star State turns 181 a week from today, and with that birthday will come the chance to choose the most Texan of all Texans. But today we introduce the Texas Bracket and its field of 64 nominees.
That’s right, 64 Texans from all corners of Texas history, each ready to advance through a “March Madness” style bracket — depending on your votes. We have selected the field of 64 from at least twice that many nominees and organized and seeded them (no doubt controversially) … but the rest is up to you. Vote for (or against) whomever you wish. If you haven’t played the Statesman’s UPickem game before, you’ll have to register to vote, but there’s no cost involved.
(Don’t forget to vote in all four “regions” — Musicians and the Arts, Actors and Athletes, Politics and History and Wildcard.)
Today’s 32 matchups predictably feature some heavyweights who are likely going to win big, but also some very intriguing matchups. Let’s look at 4 of them …
Musicians and the Arts Region
George Strait vs. Billy Joe Shaver
“King” George has one of the most devoted fan bases of all Texans, but faces a very difficult road to the quarterfinals. In the second round he’d likely face off against Beyonce, just to have a chance to face favorite Selena in the third round.
But first, he has to beat out underdog Billy Joe Shaver. Not a problem when it comes to album sales, but when it comes to being “Texan” … a young Billy Joe threatened to beat up Waylon Jennings in front of God and everybody in the Nashville street. An old Billy Joe shot a man in the face at a bar in Lorena. And in between he wrote some of the most authentic Texas music ever. Vote here.
Politics and History Region
Ann Richards vs. Clayton Williams
The Texas Bracket is meant to be non-partisan. Republicans should be able to appreciate the “Texan-ness” of Richards the same as Democrats should tip their hat to Williams’ Lone Star bona fides. But if you aim to vote by party, this rematch of the 1990 gubernatorial race offers you the chance.
Richards won in 1990 after a series of gaffes by Williams. But there’s no guarantee she’ll win this time around. Vote here.
Actors and Athletes
Babe Didrickson Zaharias vs. Bum Phillips
A pair of Southeast Texans who could not be possibly any less alike.
A quote from Babe: “Before I was ever in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived.”
A quote from Bum: “He can take his’n and beat your’n, and he can take your’n and beat his’n.” (Talking about Alabama coach Bear Bryant)
Hallie Stillwell vs. Mary Kay Ash
When it comes to Texas women, who ya got? The Dallas entrepreneur who built a cosmetics empire? Or the Big Bend ranch wife who could ride and shoot and handle rough living? (Also a shout-out goes to the matchup between Houston TV reporter Marvin Zindler and Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson. And we wish good luck to Texas Country Reporter Bob Phillips … who has to face Special Forces soldier Roy Benavidez. Nobody wants to go up against Roy Benavidez.)