A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

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Entry from October 06, 2007
Oil Bowl (Maskat Oil Bowl at Wichita Falls)

The Oil Bowl began in 1938 as a Texas high school all-star football game. No game was held in 1944. In 1945, the Oil Bowl game became Texas against Oklahoma high school all-stars.

The Maskat Shrine Temple of Wichita Falls, Texas hosts the game and proceeds go to charity.

In 1936, Tulsa, Oklahoma chamber of commerce officials had tried to get that city to host an “Oil Bowl” featuring college football programs. In 1939, a junior college football matchup in Kilgore, Texas was also called an “Oil Bowl.”

Maskat Oil Bowl
It started as a simple summertime West Texas vs. East Texas high school all-star football game back in 1938. Today, the Oil Bowl is one of the most prestigious postseason all-star games in the United States.

Texas vs. Oklahoma. It doesn’t get much better than that.

And in all but one year since 1945, Texas vs. Oklahoma has been the format of the Oil Bowl.

The top high school players from the two states go head-to-head every June for football bragging rights.

Many Oil Bowlers have gone on to be stars in college and professional football. Steve Owens went from here to win the Heisman Trophy. Others—like Jack Mildren, J.C. Watts and Steve Largent—have not only made names for themselves in football, but also politics.

The game has also featured some coaching legends, both in the high school and college ranks. Texas high school coaching legends like Gordon Wood, Joe Golding and G.A. Moore all have coached in the Oil Bowl, as did Grant Teaff (Baylor), Matty Bell (SMU), Blair Cherry (Texas), Dutch Meyer (TCU) and Jess Neely (Rice). Another coaching legend, Hayden Fry, once played in the Oil Bowl.

But the main purpose of the game is to raise money to help crippled children in Texas and Oklahoma.

“Strong legs run, so weak legs may walk” has been the motto of the Oil Bowl ever since the Maskat Shrine Temple of Wichita Falls, Texas, came up with the idea to stage this game every summer.

Thousands of dollars have been raised to benefit the less fortunate. The proceeds from each game are divided equally between the two states. Texas’ share goes to help the North Texas Rehabilitation Center in Wichita Falls. Oklahoma’s share goes to the Oklahoma Society for Crippled Children.

Oil Bowl History
1938: The first Oil Bowl matched Class B football stars from East and West Texas. The East wore the uniforms of the Wichita Falls High School varsity. The West wore the uniforms used by the junior varsity Rowdies.
1944: There was no Oil Bowl this year.
Instead, Wichita Falls played host to the Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual coaching school and with it, the North-South All-Star Game. But the Maskat Shrine Temple still records this game as an Oil Bowl.
1945: In the first Oil Bowl matching Texas vs. Oklahoma, August Pelz of Wichita Falls was the passing star in a 13-0 win for the Texans.

4 December 1936, Ada (OK) Evening News, pg. 6, cols, 6-7:
ULSA, Dec. 4.—(UP) J. E. Miller and Chet Benefiel of the Tulsa junior chamber of commerce were to attend the Big Six and the Missouri Valley coaches conference at Kansas City today and tomorrow to propose an “Oil Bowl” football game at Tulsa.

3 December 1937, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Tulsans Again Bring Up Idea of ‘Bowl’ Game,"section 2, pg. 6:
TULSA, Okla., Dec. 2 (AP).—An idea for an Oil Bowl football game New Year Day between the pass-flinging University of Arkansas Razorbacks and maybe the undefeated Wildcats of Villanova was blooming Thursday here in the oil capital.
The Oil Bowl idea has been mulled over here for several seasons. It was pointed out the game would have to take a chance against either cold or rain which would cut down attendance.

19 August 1938, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, Sports, pg. 2, col. 4:
DEAN BAGLEY, the San Saba high school youngster who scored 269 points to pace the nation’s schoolboy footballers last season, will play in that Class B Oil Bowl charity game at Wichita Falls on Labor Day...Senior stars of Class B schools in East and West Texas will play in a charity game sponsored by the Maskat Shrine Temple.

22 August 1939, Corpus Christi (TX) Times, pg. 8, col. 6:
Oil Bowl Game
Slated at
Wichita Falls

Class B Boys of
Texas Play
All-Star Game

WICHITA FALLS, Aug. 22 (AP). The Class B boys of Interscholastic League football have their inning here Labor Day when they stage the second annual Oil Bowl all-star game.

The game, sponsored by Maskat Temple Shrine for its charity fund, will be the second played in the state this season. The first was at Houston, when Class A youngsters battled to a 6-6 tie in which several of the Class B performers were outstanding with their play.

These all-star contests are for boys who have finished their high school eligibility.

16 December 1939, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Foe Is Sought For Kilgore in Oil Bowl Tilt,” section 2, pg. 4:
KILGORE, Texas, Dec. 15 (AP).—The Kilgore Junior College football team, Texas junior college champions, have agreed to meet any opponent selected in the Texas Oil Bowl here on Dec. 28, Leo D. Haney, sportsman, said Friday night.

17 December 1939, San Antonio (TX) Express, pg. 2B, col. 4:
LAWTON, Okla., Dec. 16.—The Cameron Aggies accepted an invitation today to play Kilgore Junior College in an “Oil Bowl” football game at Kilgore, Tex., Dec. 28. Coach Jess Thompson, whose team won the Oklahoma Junior College title, said practice would begin Monday.

23 February 1940, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Oil Bowl Game To Include AA Players in ‘40,” pg. 2, col. 7:
WICHITA FALLS, Feb. 22—(AP)—The annual Oil Bowl football game, which in the past matched the stars of class A football in Texas, this year will be changed to take in both class A and class AA players but will include only the top districts of the inter-scholastic league.

31 August 1941, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 6, col. 3:
WICHITA FALLS, Aug. 30. (AP) A sectional football rivalry struck up in the annual Texas schoolboy playoffs goes into another inning here Labor Day when the North Texas all-stars kick off with West Texas in the fourth renewal of the Oil Bowl classic.

30 August 1942, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, pg. 13, col. 3:
WICHITA FALLS, Aug. 29—(AP)—True to southwest tradition, a wide open passing game is in prospect for the High School All-Star Oil Bowl game here Tuesday night.

Leo (Dutch) Meyer of Texas Christian and Frank Kimbraugh of Baylor—coaches of the North and West Texas teams respectively—have drilled their stars extensively on the overhead attack and promise to shoot the works.

22 August 1943, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Oil Bowl Grid Teams Ready For Workouts,” pg. 17, col. 7:
Homer Norton, head coach of Texas A. & M. assisted by Ted Jefferies of Wichita Falls, will direct the North Texas squad. Dell Mogran of Texas Tech assisted by Eck Curtis of Breckenridge, will coach a West Texas aggregation.

22 August 1944, Amarillo (TX) Daily News, pg. 4, col. 2:
They’re working on a great idea down at Wichita Falls. A bunch of high school all-stars have been playing a football game late in August every year there, called the oil Bowl Game. it wasn’t held this year because the Texas High School Coaches’ Association All-Star Game was staged there. The Oil Bowl contest has been just another all-star battle.

But now officials are working on a plan to have the game played between the Texas All-Stars and the Oklahoma All-Stars.

Say, wouldn’t that be fine?

Oklahoma has an all-star game held in Oklahoma City every year in August. The squads could be picked following the games in each state.

Surely hope the idea is worked out.

17 August 1945, Port Arthur (TX) news, “Sooners Favored In Oil Bowl Tilt,” pg. 11, col. 4:
WICHITA FALLS, Tex., Aug. 17 (AP).—All-star schoolboy squads from Texas and Oklahoma clash tonight in the annual Oil bowl football game with the versatile Sooners given the favorites nod.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, October 06, 2007 • Permalink