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Editorial Columnists


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?????!!!”
Yep, 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 unique identity.
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 funky.
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





        Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2007