50 Reasons Texas Is the Best State in America

Gawker has been stirring things up by putting out a list of The Worst 50 States in America, with Number One being the worst of the worst. (Amazingly, Manhattan-based Gawker picked New York to be least worst.)

We expected Texas to be Top Three material at least, but instead the Lone Star State came in at 13. (Yay!?)

The Texan ego is as big as the state, and no matter how much you point out to them that, uh, hey what about all this extremely terrible stuff, they will not listen. If you guys would just shut up about it for a while, the rest of us might like you a little more.

No can do, Gawker. Here are 50 things that make Texas great (IMPORTANT NOTE: This list contains no mention of the Dallas Cowboys. We just can't bring ourselves to do that.):

50. Port Arthur: A gritty Golden Triangle refinery town that somehow produced Janis Joplin, Jimmy Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg and UGK.

49. Schlitterbahn is the greatest waterpark in America, and it makes excellent use of its Hill Country surroundings.

48. Chuck Norris. He doesn't sleep; he waits. And he's a Texas Ranger, dammit.

47. Dublin Dr Pepper -- for those people who think regular old Dr Peppers aren't Texan enough.

46. We gave the world the Quaid brothers, who have given us some great performances both off and on the screen. And we just don't mean Randy with the off-screen stuff, either.

45. You are never very far from a Whataburger.

44. Texas has produced some of the world's best music, but Bob Wills is still the king.

43. The stunning ecological diversity of the state, from the arid canyons of Big Bend to the shadowy forest of the Big Thicket.

42. No state income tax, suckaz.

41. Texas absolutely kicks ass in producing wind energy, and it doesn't get much greener than that.

40. Willie Nelson. Beloved by the most stonered Austin dreamer to the most rigid born-again Baptist, and no one bats an eye when he racks up another weed arrest.

39. "Failure is not an option." Yeah, it was never actually said by Gene Kranz, but it summed up generations of work at NASA that hopefully will not end with the shuttle era.

38. Friday Night Lights. Not the book, movie or show -- the real thing. High school football in small-town Texas is something everyone should experience at least once.

37. Tex-Mex. Comfort food, hangover cure, drunken latenight scarfing: It has many purposes, all of them delicious.

36. Crossing the Pedernales near the LBJ Ranch is a classic Hill Country moment and it's always redolent of history both happy and tragic.

35. You want music festivals, SXSW, Austin City Limits and Summerfest are hard to beat.

34. When you say you're from Texas, no one in the world needs to ask where that is.

33. From a windswept dustbowl like Lubbock, Buddy Holly unleashed pop rock on the world that is still the basis for new and great music.

32. The cheapest and best oysters in the world are plentiful from the Gulf.

31. Watching families in their Sunday best getting the wildflower pictures that generations have taken before them. 30. The Gruene Dance Hall on a Saturday night, where it doesn't seem like the 21st century at all.

29. Earl Campbell was a legend in Austin and Houston and shows every bit of what it took to become one.

28. The State Fair on Texas-OU Weekend is an amazing, appalling, exciting thing to see, even if you're not wearing crimson or burnt orange.

27. ZZ Top have told the world about Texas and still revel in it.

26. If there's an ethnic food that's not available in Houston, it involves a very, very small ethnicity.

25. Selena remains in the hearts of fans long after her murder.

24. Strolling around the Buckhorn Museum in San Antonio with a beer.

23. We're the biggest state in the Lower 48 so, you know, suck on that, Delaware.

22. The remoteness of El Paso: Waaaaay out there in the desert, all by its lonesome, still considered part of the family.

21. You have to admit -- Texas politicians can be very entertaining. Dangerous, yes; misguided, almost always; but at least they provide lots of laughs, none of them intentional.

20. October in Texas almost makes up for August.

19. South Congress in Austin is always changing but always keeping the spirit that made it what it is, unlike Sixth Street.

18. The state's musical history is filled with blues greats like T-Bone Walker, Leadbelly and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

17. Blue Bell ice cream and the way Texans are fiercely loyal to it.

16. Bat colonies in big cities like Austin and Houston.

15. Fiesta Marts carry food you never knew existed.

14. Few states have legislatures that meet less often than Texas's, and we like to keep it that way.

13. The stunning art museums in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth. And the fact that we know enough not to act shocked at the idea that Fort Worth would have a world-class art museum.

12. Hippie Hollow isn't as weird or free as it once was, but it's still Hippie Hollow. Everyone should get naked there once.

11. Houston took rap and made it its own and gave it to the rest of you. You're welcome.

10. The Frio River on a scorching summer day. There's a reason they call it the Frio.

9. The odds of meeting an actual astronaut are higher here than anywhere else.

8. George Strait populated the state with his exes.

7. The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo draws farm kids and their animals to Reliant Park and some of the biggest concerts of the year.

6. Sunrises over the Gulf. Even if you had a rough night, they can brighten your spirits.

5. Beyoncé: "Cruising down 8th Street, off-white Lexus / Driving so slow, but BK is from Texas." Jay-Z, she's just trying to keep you from getting one for going 55 in a 54.

4. Nolan Ryan is someone who can unite Houston, Dallas and Austin.

3. For better or worse, three of our last nine presidents have been from Texas.

2. Kolaches: You will never find better ones than you do here.

1. Texans are so damn charming when they brag about their state. (Um, aren't we?)

What'd we miss? Fill us in with a comment or on our Facebook page.

Sister paper Dallas Observer has one-upped us with 100 more reasons Texas rocks.

And if you liked this, enjoy our memes of Texas and our memes of Houston.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly