Strangest State: December 2017

Weird news from far-flung Texas.

Drue Wagner

ROCKWALL COUNTY // Responding to a complaint that someone was hunting from a public road, a Texas game warden found three men standing next to a pickup truck. One of the three “was only wearing a trucker hat, boots and some brightly colored underwear,” as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Field Notes newsletter reported. The scantily clad hunter admitted that he’d bagged a skunk, which then sprayed him. After that, his friends “wouldn’t let him back in the truck with his clothes on.”

DALLAS // In the most Dallas-y of Dallas news, local Girl Scouts are now earning a Neiman Marcus badge alongside first aid, swimming and cookie selling. “What must the scouts do? Study the precious metal construction of David Yurman Cable bracelets?” scoffed D Magazine. To its credit, the badge wasn’t all about shopping: Scouts earned it by submitting artwork to a contest seeking kids’-menu designs for the luxury retail chain’s in-store restaurants. “Our little shoppers will be thrilled,” said Kevin Garvin, vice president of corporate food services, in a statement.

Flickr

FREDERICKSBURG // The rangers at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area had never received such an unusual package: a small granite stone accompanied by a terse note. “I’ve had nothing but bad luck since I took it,” wrote the sender, who signed her name only as “Maria.” The park superintendent declined to reveal the stone’s new location. “We’re going to put it in a very special place where nobody knows it except me and one other person,” he told FOX 7.

GALVESTON // A father and son on a fishing trip reeled in the largest tarpon ever caught in Texas. Lured with a special bait called a “coon pop,” the behemoth weighed 229 pounds and was 90 inches long. Mike LaRue told the Houston Chronicle that he and his son Shane struggled with the fish for a little less than an hour before finally getting it out of the water. “I said, ‘This is a pretty good fish,’” Mike recalled.

HILL COUNTY // A hunter in the woods was surprised to realize he was standing in the middle of a giant marijuana farm. “The area includ[ed] temporary living quarters for workers, a kitchen area and gathering areas to conduct the work of harvesting the marijuana,” wrote the Hill County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page. Officers worked for three days to remove about 10,000 plants, which were valued at $8 million.

Cuero town favorite Ruby Begonia.  Cuero Turkeyfest

CUERO // A bird named Paycheck triumphed at the annual Great Gobbler Gallop, a literal turkey trot and the main event at Cuero’s 45th annual Turkeyfest. “The race started slow with both turkeys standing still and then making their way to the sidewalks,” the Victoria Advocate reported. Hometown favorite Ruby Begonia was in the lead, but was hit with a 30-second penalty after she veered off course and her handlers carried her back. “Like in football, penalties will kill ya,” said Keith Goebel, Cuero turkey team captain.

BROWNSVILLE // An employee of the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department was busted for allegedly stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas. Gilberto Escamilla was out for a doctor’s appointment when his usual 800-pound meat order arrived from the county’s vendor and a confused co-worker intercepted the delivery. “If it wasn’t so serious, you’d think it was a Saturday Night Live skit,” District Attorney Luis V. Saenz told the Brownsville Herald. Police confiscated packets of fajitas from Escamilla’s refrigerator before charging him with felony theft.

Find more “Strangest State” and links to original stories here. Got a local oddity or some small-town news to share? Tips are welcome at [email protected].

Rose Cahalan is managing editor at the Observer and also edits the magazine’s arts and culture coverage.

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