What are Texans Proud to Be Known For?

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One unique and fascinating thing about Texans is their sense of nationalistic state pride. Texas’s complex and colorful history has led to an extraordinarily strong sense of state-level pride among people who currently or formerly lived in Texas. Texans tend to be Texan first, American second. When you meet a person from Texas, you will definitely know that they are from Lone Star State because they are proud of their homeland. Do you ever wonder why?

It’s because Texans have a lot to be proud of! Here are some favorite things Texans love about their state and their people, which they are proud to be known for:

Their independence

a flag of Texas

Texas has a strong sense of independence, and Texans are proud of its history as an independent nation before joining the United States. This is a big source of pride for them, and many feel they could secede from the U.S. if things get too bad. The famous slogan “Remember the Alamo!” symbolizes this spirit. They are proud of their heritage and will fiercely defend their state against people who criticize it.

As it turns out, demographic pride in Texas is taught to children at a young age, as a significant portion of the elementary and middle school social studies curriculum is dedicated to Texas history. Also, Texas law requires that the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag and the pledge of allegiance to the Texas flag be said daily.

Their size

Texas on the map

Texans have a “big state mentality,” as their state is often known for its behemoth size and “everything is bigger in Texas.” Texas proudly claims the title of the second-largest state in terms of both land area and population in the United States. It spans over 268,597 square miles, making it twice as large as Japan or Germany and 10% larger than France.

From sprawling landscapes to large ranches, Texans embrace the idea of a bigger and grander lifestyle. The size of Texas is not only reflected in its landmass but also in the character of its residents. Texans embrace a larger-than-life attitude, often donning big boots and big belt buckles and sporting larger-than-average hairstyles, which has given rise to the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” The term “Texas-sized” is commonly used to describe something larger than other objects. Even the state’s capital building surpasses the size of the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Their diverse landscape

The valley and the landscape beyond between two peaks in Big Bend National Park

Texas offers a wide range of landscapes, from stunning beaches along the Gulf of Mexico to expansive deserts, serene lakes, beautiful mountains, lush forests, and everything in between. This diversity makes Texas a truly unique state with something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re seeking coastal towns, peaceful ranches, vibrant cities, fishing spots, or something else, Texas has it all.

So, when it comes to activities, you will have lots of options in Texas. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, relaxation, or indulging in the local cuisine – Texas can cater to you. With its diverse landscapes, Texas ensures there’s never a dull moment. Each region has its own distinct offerings that Texans take great pride in.

Their friendliness

Welcome to Texas sign

When you cross into Texas, you’ll be greeted by a massive road sign that reads “Drive Friendly – The Texas Way.” Texas gained a reputation for its welcoming and genuine people. Native Texans are considered some of the friendliest individuals you’ll ever meet. They are renowned for their warm welcomes, genuine smiles, charming “howdy!” greetings, and willingness to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s a neighbor in need or a stranger passing through, Texans take pride in treating others with kindness and respect, making them feel like a part of the community. You’ll find that even in the big cities in the state, there’s a small-town vibe where locals welcome you with open arms.

So, it’s no wonder that Texas proudly displays its friendly reputation on that giant road sign. It reminds visitors that they’re entering a state where friendliness is a way of life.

The Alamo

Exterior view of the historic Alamo shortly after sunrise

The Alamo is a famous Spanish mission and fortress near San Antonio. Texans cherish it because it’s the site where their founding fathers fought fiercely for their independence. During the Texas Revolution in 1835, a group of brave Texas soldiers, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, fought against a larger Mexican army for thirteen days. Though they were eventually overpowered and killed, their heroic stand at the Alamo became a rallying cry for Texas independence. Today, the Alamo attracts 2.5 million visitors annually and symbolizes the state’s fight for freedom.

BBQ

a large platter of barbecue meats and sides, including pork ribs, beef brisket, smoked turkey, mac and cheese, coleslaw, pickles, and bread

Texans have a deep love for BBQ, which has a long history in the state. When it comes to barbeque, Texans are culinary experts, and if you love BBQ, you’ll taste some of the best in Texas. They produce world-class barbeque foods (brisket, burgers, ribs, etc.) and fixings. Central Texas adopted the meat smoking tradition from Czech and German settlers in the mid-nineteenth century, and it soon became a culinary staple.

Texas BBQ has four popular styles. In East Texas, ribs are slow-cooked over hickory wood and coated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce until they practically fall off the bone. Central Texans prefer spice-rubbed meat cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood. West Texas BBQ involves ribs cooked over direct heat from mesquite wood, resulting in a slightly bitter taste. South Texas BBQ features thick, molasses-like sauces that keep the meat juicy. You should try each style and join the lively Texas BBQ debate with your own preference!

Football

a football stadium at the University of Texas in Austin

Texans have a deep passion for football, both at the professional and collegiate levels. The state boasts two NFL teams, the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys. As legendary Cowboys Coach Tom Landry once said, “Football is to Texas what religion is to a priest.” High school football is particularly important in Texas, with intense rivalries and a strong football culture. It’s not uncommon to see high school football stadiums worth $30 million packed with 40,000 fans for a playoff game. Additionally, historic college rivalries between teams like Texas, A&M, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, and SMU add to the excitement and passion for the sport.

Cowboy culture

a cowgirl on a barrel race with her horse

The cowboy’s image is synonymous with Texas, evoking images of wide-brimmed hats, leather boots, and distinctive Western attire. Texans have a deep-rooted pride in their cowboy culture, which is a cherished part of their history and a vibrant aspect of their present-day identity. Known for their rugged independence, strong work ethic, and love for the land, Texans embrace the cowboy way of life with unwavering pride.

Cowboy culture in Texas symbolizes the spirit of the Wild West and the iconic figure of the cowboy. From the days of cattle drives and ranching to the modern rodeo circuits, Texans have embraced the traditions and values associated with the cowboy lifestyle.

Texans take pride in dressing the part and often don cowboy hats and boots as a symbol of their heritage. In 2007, cowboy boots were officially designated as the state footwear of Texas. These iconic boots were designed to be comfortable for riding horses, durable, and easy to wear. Wherever you go in the state, you’re bound to see people proudly wearing their cowboy boots. These traditional cowboy fashion choices are not just a fashion statement but a way for Texans to pay homage to their cowboy ancestors and showcase their pride in their cowboy culture.

Beyond fashion, Texans engage in activities that celebrate cowboy culture. Texas takes the lead in the rodeo scene, and it all started with the first-ever rodeo held in Pecos, Texas. The tradition continues to this day, with Pecos hosting its annual rodeo and the state hosting numerous others, including the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. These events attract thousands of cowboys from across the country who compete against each other in thrilling rodeo competitions.

NASA

the logo of NASA

If you’ve ever seen a space movie, chances are you’ve heard the famous line, “Houston, we have a problem!” When things go astray in the vastness of space, Texas is often called upon. Houston, Texas, is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, established in 1961. It serves as the forefront of NASA’s human space exploration efforts and is the leading center for U.S. space missions involving astronauts. The space center served as the mission control for the Apollo moon missions.

Oil and Energy

Texas’ journey into the world of crude oil started with a bang on January 10, 1901, when the Lucas No. 1 well erupted at Spindletop near Beaumont, shooting mud, gas, and oil over 100 feet into the sky. This dramatic event transformed Texas’ economy from rural and agricultural to one driven by petroleum and industry.

The discovery of oil had a profound impact on the state’s culture, turning it into a place where fortunes could be made. Texas has historically been the largest oil producer in the United States, with oil production contributing 9% to its gross domestic product. In 2018, Texas reached its highest oil production ever, generating 1.59 billion barrels (40% of U.S. production). The state is also home to several major oil companies and has played a significant role in the energy industry.

Texas Longhorns

Texas longhorn lying down in the grass

If you’ve driven through the Texas countryside, you’ve likely encountered the Texas Longhorn cattle breed. These remarkable animals are known for their impressively long horns, which can reach up to 7 feet in length. The Texas Longhorn holds several official titles, including being the official State Large Mammal and the official symbol for Fort Worth. Additionally, they serve as the mascot for the University of Texas at Austin.

Chili and Tex-Mex cuisine

a bowl of chili with tortilla chips

Texans have a deep affection for chili, almost as much as they do for BBQ. The origins of Texas chili date back to the 1840s when cowboys on the trails would mix beef fat, dried beef, chili peppers, and salt to create trail food. Later, they would boil it to make a dish they called chili.

Legend has it that cowboys even planted oregano, chiles, and onions along their trails, harvesting them on their return to combine with beef, resulting in a recipe known as “Trail Drive Chili.” This style of chili is unique because it doesn’t include beans or tomatoes like other variations. Instead, the focus is on ground meat as the primary ingredient. Unsurprisingly, many Texans have their own “secret chili recipe,” as annual chili bake-offs can get quite competitive!

Besides chili, Texas is also renowned for its Tex-Mex cuisine, wherein chili is one example. Other dishes like nachos, tacos, and fajitas have become popular across the United States because of Texas.

The Assassination of JFK

a black and white portrait of John F. Kennedy

Tragically, Texas is known for one of the most significant events of the 20th century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. On that day, President Kennedy was shot while traveling in a motorcade with his wife and others in Dallas, Texas. This shocking event led to a nationwide outpouring of grief and panic. Even now, many people still discuss and debate the details and implications of this historic tragedy.

Slogans

Don't Mess with Texas sign on the highway

Texans love their catchy slogans, and alongside “Remembering the Alamo,” they playfully (or sometimes seriously) warn visitors, saying, “Don’t mess with Texas.” This slogan originated as a statewide advertising campaign in 1986 to combat littering on Texas roadways and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. It is officially a trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation, and the phrase is often cited as an example of Texans’ pride in their culture.

Music

Tyler Ward & guitarist Lance Gregory, performing at Stubb's in Austin

Also, Texas is home to the live music capital of the U.S. Austin, Texas, is the ultimate destination for music lovers because it boasts more live music venues per person than anywhere else in the country. Whether you’re into jazz, country, indie rock, or blues, you’ll find a spot to enjoy the music you love among the nearly 200 venues that light up the city’s nights.

Texas has a vibrant music scene and has produced many influential musicians in various genres. The state is particularly well-known for its contributions to country, blues, and western swing music, and Texans are responsible for popularizing these genres across the world. Also, artists like Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Beyoncé hail from Texas.

Wool

Texas has a rich history in the wool and mohair industry, dating back to the arrival of the first sheep and goats brought by Spanish soldiers and missionaries in the 18th century. Today, Texas proudly holds the title of the largest wool producer in the United States, surpassing all other states in wool production!

The Heat

The clear desert landscape with blue skies outside of Big Bend National Park

Yes, even their climate is something to boast about for Texans. Texas is known for its scorching temperatures, making it one of the hottest states in the country. Around seventeen Texan cities, including Dallas, El Paso, and Austin, are listed among the 50 warmest cities in the United States.

During summer, Texas experiences a wide range of maximum temperatures, from 79°F (26°C) in places like Galveston Island and the West Texas mountains to 100°F (38°C) in areas like the Rio Grande Valley. The climate in Texas varies significantly, with the eastern half being humid and subtropical while the western half is semi-arid. This variation is due to the influence of sea winds and moisture from the Gulf Coast in the east, whereas the moisture evaporates in the vast desert expanse to the west.

Conclusion

From the storied Alamo to the dynamic Dallas skyline, the spirit of Texas is as vast and varied as the state itself. Texans wear their hearts on their sleeves—proud of their cultural heritage, pioneering spirit, and the legendary hospitality that greets each visitor. It’s this pride that not only defines but also drives the state forward, making every Texan tale one of resilience and warmth.

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