THE ODESSA AMERICAN
FEBRUARY 18, 2003
Raising a stink creates hot times for those in Wink
You don’t often get a chance to say this,
but it seems as if Wink is the hot spot of West Texas these days. The
standard response at this point would be: “Wink?????!!!”
Now no offense to anyone associated with Wink, but the town hasn’t exactly
been a beehive of activity in recent years. Oh sure, the place has a
First it was oil boomtown, known for its football teams that sometimes
suited up a roughneck or two.
Later, it would be known as the home of Roy Orbison, a musician who is
still acclaimed for his talent years after his death.
But attention has been fairly sparse for the small town in recent years.
And when the outside world does notice, it’s usually for something fairly
For instance, there was a weatherman for an El Paso television station a
number of years ago who always had a “Wink is so small” joke that
accompanied his segment. You know, like, “Wink is so small that both city
limits signs are on the same pole.”
And then there was the big controversy that erupted when a giant sinkhole
appeared halfway between Winkler County’s two biggest towns. Residents of
the Permian Basin were treated to one of those “tastes great, less
filling” debates about which metropolis got to claim the hole. It was
either the Kermit Crater or the Wink Sink.
And that’s another thing. Wink is just a funny name for a town. It invites
headlines on sports stories about the football team that read, “Lots of
teams not as quick as Wink.” Plus you have wise guys who suggest that the
town slogan should be: “Wink. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”
With all that stated for the record, let’s check out the newfangled image
that Wink has assumed in 2003.
Seems the big talk around the area is about the demonstrations that were
staged in Wink. And the extraordinary measures that were taken to maintain
order in the town.
Naturally, it all started with the dismissal of the high school football
coach and athletic director, Randy Tankersley. What else but football
would be a powder keg issue in West Texas?
Anyway, the school board fired Tankersley. That caused a protest by
students and community members.
A couple of the demonstrations last Wednesday were broken up by school
officials and Wink Police Chief Sherrell Glenn.
Glenn then called the Texas Department of Public Safety for help. On
Thursday, three state cruisers and six troopers were dispatched to Wink.
The officers promptly went into official mode — pulling over students
during the lunch hour and issuing warnings and citations for various
offenses. Some people claimed that the troopers threatened arrests if
another protest broke out.
That would appear to blow all sorts of holes in the old “One riot, one
Ranger” reputation of Texas lawmen. The demonstrations were a long way
from anything resembling a riot and it took six uniformed state troopers
to secure the bustling village of Wink? Can you say, “Overkill?”
At any rate, tempers have been running high and rumors have been running
rampant in the previously sleepy little community of Wink.
While protesters took to the streets of several large cities across the
nation to demonstrate against an impending war with Iraq, some citizens of
Wink were massing (as much as anyone can mass in a town that size) for a
more grassroots and down-home controversy — who’s running the show on
Friday nights down at the stadium.
By Friday, school officials were trying to knock down rumors that players
who had been involved in the demonstrations would be barred from playing
sports. Both the superintendent and the principal said that wasn’t the
case. And you only have to do the math to realize that Wink doesn’t have a
lot of athletes to spare.
Chances are good that the hot button issue will gradually cool and Wink
will go back to its sleepy mode.
But this probably adds another chapter to town history — the time the
populace had officialdom (to borrow an Orbison song) running scared.
Ken Brodnax’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. E-mail comments
may be sent to email@example.com.