Do Texans In Wichita Falls Wish They Were Okies?
There's a running joke that has persisted for years just south of our border, that the Texans down in Wichita Falls secretly would prefer if their town was actually part of Oklahoma. It's probably stemmed from some old-fashioned measuring contest in the Lone Star State, but there is a large portion of Texans that don't consider Wichita Falls to be Texas, and from the outside looking in, you have to wonder if there's any truth to that...
When I first moved here in 2006-ish, I too came from Texas. I'd been living down on the Coastal Bend outside of Corpus Christi in the land of real tacos, and while I looked forward to being closer to home as my sister made my nephews, I dreaded the culture change. Much to my surprise, Lawton was and is still really diverse... and there is a shocking number of Texans here in Southwest Oklahoma.
I was actually setting up a new bank account, striking up some light conversation with the absolute smoke show that was my banker person. Talking about travel, jobs, how everyone ends up in Lawton, you've probably had this conversation a million times too... and she said "Well, I live in Wichita Falls. I just drive up here every day." It struck me as really odd given the commute.
I've met thousands of people in my time here in Lawton. Most are somewhat from the midwest. Lots of Florida and California, a handful of New Yorkers, but about half of everyone I've met is from the Wichita Falls area... Falls/Holliday/Burk/Cashion/Iowa Park/etc... It always struck me as somewhat weird. Who leaves Texas?
Those first few years after moving to Oklahoma, and to somewhat cleanse my soul in those early days, I'd pop down to Wichita Falls for an afternoon or evening to be with what I thought were "my people." I was always on a mission to seek out decent Mexican food and some decent tejano. What I found in The Falls were domino players that couldn't keep a poker face and beans in the chili. Something odd was afoot.
I don't remember what age I was when I first saw it as a kid, but King of the Hill put a spin on this topic once before. That those in Wichita Falls were Texan by birth, and Okies by choice in part to OU being their closest Division1 football school.
Even now, I don't "know" Wichita Falls, but I know a Sooners fan when I see one because they're overwhelmingly over the top like this lol..
If you spend enough time in Wichita Falls and ask someone what there is to do there, eventually someone will tell you "Oh, you have to drive up to the refuge. It's just north of Lawton." Others might tell you "Hop on forty-four and hit one of the casinos across the river." One day I just realized there's no sense in traveling the fifty-seven miles south just to get told I should visit something fifty-seven miles back north at home.
I do know first-hand that living somewhere else doesn't make you less of a Texan... but this could be the first case of in-state, "Okies by the grace of god" within the failed Texas republic.
I can't tell you if the theory has merit. I'm sure my email will be full of angry Texans by morning but keep in mind, it's not polite to shoot the messenger. We're just talking here, no declarations have been made, this is not "journalism," and the most un-Texan thing you could do would be going full-Karen about how Texan you really are. Just remember, those who can, do... those who can't just talk about it.