Maybe we long-time Panhandle residents soaked that courtesy up from our roots. After all, it's just plain good manners to make people feel welcome.
All right, we can't deny it. Despite the disparity of beliefs, there is no doubt, that for many, faith comes first.
Beef is king here. Free love community Amarillo TX Feeders, the world's largest privately owned cattle feeding operation, owns 10 feedyards, six being around Amarillo. I can still walk into a restaurant, a store or a meeting and either see someone I know or meet someone I don't because I was greeted with a smile. But the beef industry doesn't just revolve around consumption. The courageous folk that settled this vast region the size of West Virginia made it prosper despite the hardships they endured.
At ,plus people, Amarillo is a city poised to do great things. However, if steaks don't get your tummy rumbling, there's a smorgasbord of restaurants to fulfill your palate's every craving. The community as a whole is genuinely concerned about the well-being of its neighbors. Apple thinks we're cool enough to be in its commercial and so do we. While Amarillo is predominantly Christian, with the majority affiliated with the Southern Baptist religion, the city boasts diverse cultures and ethnicities that practice their beliefs here as well, such as a Buddhist group, Jewish community, Chin members, Islamic adherents and Hindu followers.
The city stayed afloat during the recession, thanks to our top employers and industries, such as education, the medical field, oil and gas, aircraft assembly, energy, the railroad, agriculture, meat packing and banking. Utilities are also quite affordable at 20 percent less than the national average. As the main area of research at WTAMU, the agricultural department focuses on solving issues within the cattle feeding industry, such as reducing the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases, improving air quality.
Because you can live in a palace on the plains for the price of a loft on the island of Manhattan.
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No Excuses: Building Student Success, aims to retain students and implement more remedial and entry-level courses to better prepare students for real life. In our humble city, the adage, "What's mine is yours," seems to be the standard attitude. But it's a city that hasn't lost its small-town friendliness. Also south of town in Canyon, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is the largest history museum in the state and the first of its kind.
Because we've made our mark in the rodeo arena and even a shout out in an iPhone 4s commercial. I love Amarillo because I can write about what there is to do in town 52 weeks a year and never go wanting for something new to point readers to. And while we're bragging, we can't ignore the staggering amount of Asian offerings in town.
That's pens of 2. But one of our biggest claims to fame was granted to us by nature.
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We like it hot off the grill and rare, thank you very much order well done or use Ketchup and you might be shunned by locals. That was after decades after being away from where I was born, many times trying to explain to people that Amarillo wasn't nearly as pathetic as they imagined it must be. Because Amarillo is a place that demands the best of those who live here and repays the effort with the freedom of wide open spaces. You can live quite comfortably in Amarillo. Here, we mostly wave.
There are the spectacular locally owned restaurants and the myriad of other ways Amarillo residents find to entertain themselves. Dubbed the "second-largest canyon system in the nation" and nicknamed The Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon is miles long, 18 miles wide and 6, feet deep.
It touts a life-size replica of a pioneer town, a to-scale drilling rig and some of the first manufactured automobiles in addition to permanent galleries that display paintings, geological artifacts from the region and traveling exhibitions. This is a generous, prosperous city with culture, civic pride and caring citizens who'll go out of their way to make you feel welcome. And that's the key: We do it for ourselves.
Whether it's organizing fundraising efforts or volunteering at local non-profits, this is a place where altruism and magnanimity shine. The Texas Cattle Feeders Association is headquartered here, and Texas Beef, which has been producing beef for more than years spanning four generations, producescattle annually from two feed yards. After a warm introduction, and the requisite, "What do you do for a living? Just look at the horses parked in the Dairy Queen parking lot on Washington Street.
The Achievement through Commitment to Education Scholarship Program, through the Amarillo Area Foundation, for example, has assisted 2, students by paying for college tuition, fees and books for up to hours. According to Don Topliff, Dean of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, the agriculture industry in the Texas Panhandle will be responsible for feeding 9 billion people by There's a reason this area is called cattle feeding country.
Well, The Texas Panhandle is the nucleus of beef production. Within a mile radius of Amarillo, there are feedlots. In a city swelling to , there are more than houses of worship. Cutting-edge facilities abound, a credit to the people who have supported our prospering arts community, funded improvements to our medical centers and helped shape our thriving town, knowing they'd leave things a bit better than they found them for generations to come. Our pioneering families helped establish community theaters one of the oldest in the nation and orchestras, and we carry on that tradition today, experimenting with music and theater and dance and free love community Amarillo TX and countless other ways to celebrate life, to gather joyfully with our friends, to stimulate our better selves.
There's the vibrant arts community, the object of envy for cities our size and larger around the country.
Rodeos are a long-lived tradition in these parts and this Old West custom continues to rope in crowds. There's not much question the people aren't shy, the sky really is the broad heavens and about anything can and does happen. We think Amarillo and its people deserve kudos.
And for every public recognition, there is just as much behind-the-scenes giving from humanitarians who believe it's our duty to care for one another. Amarillo College is the first post-secondary school in the nation to the No Excuses University Network of Schools, along with 10 local schools. Does it make me odd that I knew I was back home in Amarillo when on a winter's day I was on a lonely downtown street watching a sheet of paper hurtle toward me through the snow flurries?
The Amarillo Independent School District alone encompasses more than 50 public elementary, middle and high schools, in addition to alternative institutions and private academies.
Because we all know, depending on the direction of the wind, there are some days when the smell of flatulent cattle hits you so hard you can almost taste it. Our predecessors on the prairie lived miles apart, making personal relationships all the more precious. InAmarillo's residential real estate ranked in the Top 10 Markets to Watch, and the housing market posted a double-digit increase in sales, up 10 to 13 percent from And builders paved the way for the construction of new homes.
We've already mentioned folks here are some of the friendliest, most polite people you'll ever encounter. Recently, one of AISD's own educators was named runner up for the Brock International Prize in Education, being the first alternative education teacher to be nominated for the prestigious award.
They have a capacity to holdhead of cattle. I'd like to think that neighborly aspect will always stay with us, no matter how much our city grows.
They set a gold standard for our city that has been sustained for more than a century. But the locals will cheerily say, "Smells like money! There's a live music scene that encourages the growth of local bands like Cooder Graw and, thanks to our handy location on Interstate 40, it lets us play host to rising stars on the regional scene like The Dixie Chicks, Ben Kweller and Cross Canadian Ragweed, to name a few. Many of their descendants still reside here and continue to carry on their ancestors' legacies and independent spirit.
In some places, drivers gesture as they pass each other.
The obvious tourist attractions are Cadillac Ranch, the 10 graffitied cars protruding from the prairie along I and the infamous ounce steak challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch advertised on billboards scattered down I and Route 66, which are quite the magnet for foreigners. WTAMU, the year old institution that serves the Texas Panhandle, is home to an internationally recognized faculty and 8, students. Because the outstanding education system gives students the support they need to graduate.
We let someone with a gallon of milk and loaf of bread cut in line because our grocery baskets will take longer.
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It's not for sissies - note the droughts, blizzards and lonesome drives to the big cities not thinking Lubbock here - but I wouldn't have it any other way. The generosity of philanthropists is evident throughout Amarillo. We're proud to be a city that supports its homegrown, Mom-and-Pop eateries as well as the variety of chains around town; our people simply love to eat well.
All in all, we have each other's backs. Our diverse economic base gives us staying power.
Late last year, Amarillo maintained the third lowest unemployment rate in the state, and as of November, the unemployment rate was 4. CISD's student population is 9, in its entirety. Amarillo's hole-in-the-wall eateries, or as we like to call them, "little gems," are simply top-notch. We rule the Tex-Mex scene, and you can fill up on traditional Western-style comfort food here, from mouthwatering mashed potatoes and chicken-fried steak smothered in gravy, true Texas pit barbecue and fresh cobbler, and even calf fries.
Amarillo ranches and feedlots produce 30 percent of the nation's beef and 88 percent of Texas' beef. It has the capacity of holding head of cattle and produces 25, pounds of feed per day. Things are strong here. You'll find the city's best offerings tucked away in the most unassuming of locations: a refurbished filling station, a wooden shack on a country road, a remodeled bank or even a reclaimed church.
We hold doors open for one other. Ninety-six percent of beef on the market today comes from the Texas High Plains. Our economy is stable and growing, and the unemployment rate continues to drop. Competitor's athleticism is put to the test bull riding, calf roping, bareback riding and team branding.
Don't let some of the exteriors fool you. The canyon also serves as the natural stage for the longest running outdoor musical drama in the country, "Texas, the Musical Drama.