Currents
Globs of Gold
Some topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

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    “You’d hear the crack of the bat, and you’d think that they’d want to see what play was going on, but they stayed in line to get their nachos,” says Anthony “Tony” Liberto, son of Frank Liberto, inventor of nacho cheese sauce.
    IMAGE: David Moore
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    The first producing oil well in Texas was about 13 miles east of Nacogdoches.
    IMAGE: Oil barrel: Tuulijumala | Dreamstime.com. Oil drop: Timurd | Dreamstime.com

Ballpark experiences and the state of Texas got richer thanks to two men determined to squeeze the most out of their ideas. The result in Arlington 40 years ago was quick-serve nacho cheese sauce. At Oil Springs 150 years ago, the result was the first well to bring oil out of the ground.

 

Cheese Wiz

Because of tradition and song, hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack remain iconic fare at baseball games. But thanks to a vendor at Texas Rangers games, nachos have been a popular menu item at ballparks for 40 years.

Frank Liberto introduced nachos to fans at Arlington Stadium in 1976. Nachos were already popular at Texas restaurants when he concocted a “cheese sauce” that didn’t need to be refrigerated and that could be pumped or ladled onto the chips so they could be served at a brisk pace.

Liberto’s idea was an immediate success: The first season Arlington Stadium sold nachos, they went at the rate of one sale per every two-and-a-half patrons—over $800,000 in sales. Popcorn, which previously had the highest sales, only sold to one in 14 patrons for a total of $85,000.

 

Did You Know?

Nachos originated in 1943 when maître d’ Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya threw ingredients together to feed hungry army wives at a restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

 

Good Stock on Display in Amarillo

The Tri-State Fair & Rodeo in Amarillo brings out the best in the region’s 4-H and FFA members who bring their top livestock projects for competition. It also brings out the best in electric cooperatives, which sponsor the calf scramble by offering 10 scholarships of $250 each.

Deaf Smith, Greenbelt, Lamb County, North Plains, Rita Blanca, Swisher and Tri-County electric cooperatives, and their power supplier, Golden Spread EC, sponsor the scholarships.

The fair and rodeo, September 16–24 this year, includes Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competition and American Quarter Horse Association shows, plus a carnival and concerts.

 

Milestone for Texas Oil

It’s not entirely true to say that Texas marks 150 years as an oil-producing state, although Lyne Barret struck oil September 12, 1866, at Oil Springs, making it the first well in the state to bring oil out of the ground.

Oil had been seeping from the ground in southeastern Nacogdoches County for centuries. Native Americans used the oil for medicinal purposes. In the 18th century, Spanish and Anglo settlers used the seeping oil as a salve for their animals and to grease axles and wheels.

Then, 150 years ago, Barret and his Melrose Petroleum Oil Company drilled and struck oil at a depth of 106 feet. The well produced about 10 barrels a day, but the operation soon shut down because it lacked financial backing.

 

Narrowing of Broadband

Broadband use is falling among homes in rural America, in part because residents say it’s not worth the cost.

Only 55 percent of rural households have home broadband—a 5 percent drop between 2013 and 2015—the Pew Research Center finds. More than 40 percent of nonusers cited high costs as a reason they don’t have broadband.

 

Labor and Materials

Labor Day, September 5 this year, was created to recognize the advancements that various labor associations contribute to the American economy and workforce.

Many Texans observe their own custom around this end-of-summer holiday, switching from straw to felt cowboy hats. The thinking goes that felt is suited to cooler weather and straw is better for hot summers. Cowboy hat wearers generally switch back to straw around Memorial Day.

 

Worth Repeating

“What is a soul? It’s like electricity—we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” — Ray Charles

TAGS: Currents, Events, History, Texana


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