Webb Report: Longshots, barbecue gloves and a grab bag of Texas tales

The biggest news stories of the past week? Why, probably President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, a GOP memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance tools and Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy snubs.

But none of that stuff happened in Texas. And as any good Texan knows, if it didn’t happen here, it basically didn’t happen at all. Here’s a grab bag of some of the Statesman web desk’s most Lone Star-flavored stories of the week.

Shoot your shot

Imagine for a minute you’re standing on a ledge atop the Texas Capitol dome, with a rifle in your hand that looks a sight more sci-fi than most.

Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. Still, the Texas Rangers are watching you closely.

You’ve got that gun pointed south down Congress Avenue, all the way to a target no bigger than a couple of large refrigerators standing next to each other … next to Southside Flying Pizza. That’s right, as far as you could see before the road makes a curve toward the east.

You fire. Adjust. Fire. Adjust. On the eight shot, you hit that target, which is about 2.5 miles away from your perch.

Two and a half miles! Congratulations!

But it’s not a record. Bill Poor has you beat by half a mile.

A couple of weeks ago, the West Texas blacksmith used a highly modified .408 CheyTac rifle to hit a target 3 miles away. It took 14 seconds for the round to reach the target.

Poor has witnesses and video for his world-record shot, but Guinness isn’t recognizing the feat — saying shots using scopes don’t qualify.

Nonetheless, Poor has the crown among the Extreme Long Range shooting community … and a challenger. Retired Navy SEAL Charles Melton, whose 2.8-mile mark Poor eclipsed, is planning a 3.4-mile shot.

Though the notable straightaway on Austin’s South Congress Avenue wasn’t long enough to exactly illustrate Poor’s shot (three miles would take you past the H-E-B at Oltorf, all the way to the Habana Restaurant), there’s not a 3-mile straight shot anywhere.

No matter how many stand-on-a-tuna-can-and-see-Canada jokes you make about West Texas or Kansas or anywhere, at three miles you have to adjust six feet for the curvature of the earth. Then there’s cold weather, hot weather, wind, humidity — they all affect the flight of the bullet, and the shooter has to account for all that. Poor discussed the science behind his shot with the Abilene Reporter-News recently.

Poor made his record shot on a ranch near Midland but lives in Tuscola (once home to former Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy) south of Abilene. In addition to a range of shooting interests, the blacksmith makes custom knives and shoes horses. His Facebook page makes the claim that he holds the world record for longest tomahawk throw.

— Dave Thomas, American-Statesman staff

OK, but what about Hollywood Video

Goodbye, old friend.

Is it news that the last Blockbuster in Texas recently closed, or is it news that there was still a Blockbuster open in Texas? Either way, the time has come to say goodbye to the shelves, late fees and strange-patterned carpets you once knew.

As TV station KGBT in the Rio Grande Vallery reports, the last Blockbuster Video in Texas closed Jan. 21 after a final sale. Located in Edinburg, the store reportedly drew widespread attention in recent years for being one of the only remaining open locations in the country.

The store was owned by Alan Payne, who still owns six Blockbusters in Alaska, the Houston Chronicle reports. According to Blockbuster’s website, the only other open locations in the country are two stores in Oregon.

“If you would’ve come into this store on a Friday night 15 years ago, you would’ve seen this many people in here and they would’ve been running, talking movies and having fun,” Payne told KGBT.

Ah, yes. We remember.

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

For the love of the glove

We’ve got something new for you to blame for your dry and underwhelming homemade brisket. Maybe it’s the gloves.

If you’ve noticed, barbecue pitmasters are often spotted wearing black gloves when handling and cutting meat. But what kind of gloves are these exactly? Why do pitmasters wear them? And how much of it has to do with them looking cool?

According to food news site Grub Street, the black gloves are made of something a little tougher and less medical than latex: nitrile. Nitrile is a slightly heavier material than other glove materials, meaning they’re less likely to tear or puncture. Although not entirely heat resistant, their thickness does make handling hot, hot meat a little easier.

But also, don’t they look so cool?

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn told Grub Street the gloves are “purely about aesthetics.” Because of their color, the gloves don’t show unsightly sauce, grease and rub stains. And when you’re one of, as Vaughn says, the “few types of restaurants where you’re watching the people handling your food, right in front of you” that’s great news.

If you’re opting to skip the line this weekend and make your meat at home, get yourself some gloves. Maybe there’s more to it than they say. And if not, you’ll still look pretty cool.

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

Rotel us about it

No matter if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, a Houston Texans fan, a Philadelphia Eagles fan or a New England Patriots fan, it looks like Texans can agree on one thing: Queso reigns supreme as the preferred dip for Super Bowl parties.

That’s according to the folks over at Offers.com, a website that searches for coupons for consumers. They put together a survey of each state’s favorite Super Bowl foods ahead of the match-up between the Patriots and Eagles. And no matter what you actually ended up serving at your own party Sunday, we can all agree with these results.

In addition to queso being Texas’ favorite dip, Texas survey respondents also favored barbecue sauce as their favorite wing sauce and pepperoni as their favorite pizza topping. Pizza, by the way, was also Texas’ favorite Super Bowl food, which was tied with wings for the national average. (Other states listed foods like chips and dip, as well as nachos.)

Sadly, the rest of the nation only ranked queso as its third-best dip, coming in at 28 percent behind guacamole and ranch.

As for reasons why people watch the Super Bowl in the first place, 37 percent of Texas responders said they were watching the Super Bowl for the game, 27 percent were just in it for the commercials and 12 percent said they were excited about all the food they were going to get to eat.

— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff

Will the eyes follow you around the room?

Selena fans — get ready for an Orlando road trip. The Madame Tussauds in that Florida city will host the museum’s wax figure of Tejano queen Selena Quintanilla for a six-week #LoveSelenaOrlando installation from Feb. 13 until April 8.

Fans are encouraged to leave letters to the singer about her legacy.

“Our family is excited that Selena fans in Orlando will have a chance to see this beautiful wax figure in person. We are thrilled to continue to work with Madame Tussauds to celebrate her legacy with fans from all around the world,” Selena’s sister, Suzette Quintanilla, said in a news release.

If you want to try to win a trip to Orlando to see the wax figure, share a clip of yourself singing your favorite Selena song to Instagram with the hashtag #LoveSelenaOrlando. Winners will be announced on Twitter (no, not Instagram) on Feb. 9, according to the Madame Tussauds website.

What are you waiting for? Start warming up those vocal cords.

— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff

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