Times Record News
Friday, June 8, 2012

The first Wichita Falls Times story on the birth of the Oil Bowl read:

“The game conceived by Henry Ford, Wichita Falls hotel owner and Shriner, will bring outstanding Class B football stars and two brilliant coaches to Coyote Stadium each year to play a game that will be known as the Oil Bowl classic.”

Howard Brickey, a sports writer for the paper, had his doubts about how a game like this would survive in Wichita Falls.

“One thing appears certain if the classic does turn out to be a flop this year,” Brickey wrote. “Beyond the slightest doubt, the game will be perpetuated, perhaps not as the Oil Bowl or played in Wichita Falls, but under a different name and a change of scenery.”

The first Oil Bowl was not a flop. More than 5,500 football fans turned out at the stadium on Sept. 5, 1938.

The game did change scenery. It started at Coyote Stadium, moved to Midwestern’s Cullum Stadium, moved back to Coyote Stadium and later to Memorial Stadium.

But it has never left Wichita Falls.

On Saturday night, the Maskat Shrine Temple’s annual all-star game will celebrate its 75th birthday.

Our Oil Bowl is the longest high school all-star game in the country.

The Shriners, however, had to fight a lot of wars to keep it going.

They did it not just to entertain football fans each summer — although that has certainly happened.

They did it to support hurting children.

If you have read our sports section this week, you know about how Shrine hospitals have helped kids from right here in our own backyard.

So on this special birthday night, we need to fill every seat in Memorial Stadium and show our support for such a worthy cause.

Tickets are just $10 or $15, and all profits will go directly to the Shrine Hospitals.

The Wichita Falls area has always been generous in lending a helping hand to those in need.

And there are many children and their families out there who need your help.

Some believe this is a make-or-break year for this grand old game.

Let’s do everything we can to keep it around.

So get off the couch, go to the game. Enjoy some good football and help some hurting kids.