Tuesday, May 3 – We drove the car a few miles to the neighboring town of Odessa to do some sightseeing. Like Midland, Odessa is located in the geographic region known as the Permian Basin, where the discovery of oil in 1929 propelled the area into the center of the oil boom. It is still the center for service, workforce, transportation, supply and manufacturing to the oil industry. It is considered one of the major oil field technology centers in the world. Oil, Oil, everywhere....why is gas so expensive here.....JEESH!
Our main reason for visiting Odessa was for Marsha to see RABBITS. There are 37 brightly decorated hoppers at scattered locations throughout the city (Paul says: “Why couldn't they be in one park?”) The Jackrabbit is Odessa's official mascot. Why Jackrabbits you ask. It all started with the great Odessa Jackrabbit Roping Content back in 1932, as a “hare-brained” publicity stunt for the Rodeo. Although opposed by many, a judge ruled that the contest did not violate any Texas law. The competition was held and a cowgirl named Grace Hendricks roped a jackrabbit from horseback in 5 seconds flat, winning over all her embarrassed male competitors. For unknown reasons, the event disappeared in the following years.
Then in 1977, the notorious contest was revived, causing a coast-to-coast outcry. An animal lover from Midland successfully delayed the event by liberating the caged rabbits that had been captured for the rodeo. However, the event was back on schedule when the rabbits returned to their pen at dinner time. Seven ropers competed in the event with Jack Torian winning with a six-second scamper.
Today the only competition comes from the awards presented for the best entry in the “Hoppy Trails Collection” and the scholarships awarded to local students.
Don't worry, we didn't visit all 37 rabbits (Paul wouldn't stand for it), so here are only a few pictures. But, if you want to see them all, visit the official website.
TEXAS "HARE" TAGE…If you don't get it, say it fast.
We also visited the Stonehenge replica on the University of Texas of the Permian Basis campus.
It is identical to the original; however, vertically it measures 70 percent of the original in size. Each stone weighs over 20,000 pounds and is composed of limestone slabs.
Our final stop for the day was the Odessa Meteor Crater. It is the second largest in the nation, approximately 550 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep.
Odessa Meteorite…Iron…70 lbs.
Unfortunately, the crater has been filled by silt and wind driven sand and today is only 6-feet deep. The circular impression is very obvious with a rock-buttressed rim sounding the crater. Luckily, admission to this National Landmark is free.
Two days is PLENTY of time to see Midland and Odessa. If you aren't planning to come this way, don't change your plans. Unless you like lots of dust and dirt, you won't miss anything. On a positive note…everyone is very friendly and helpful.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!