It has stood as an icon of Texas High School football for 76 years, but the future of the iconic Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater is now in jeopardy as the west Texas fracking industry tries to stay afloat.
Thurman Norb of Norb’s Fracking in Snyder says he believes there is oil underneath the Mustang Bowl. “We found more oil under that stadium than all of Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East, the problem is, there’s only one way to get it.” Norbs said the way to the oil is a way most in Sweetwater won’t be fond of, “we need to set up a drilling rig on the football field.”
Norb’s Fracking is now working on a deal to take ownership of the stadium from Sweetwater ISD. “We are prepared to buy the stadium for up to $19,000.” When asked about such a low offer, Norb’s said that depreciation has to be a factor in such an aging facility. “That stadium is nearly 80 years old, if I calculated true depreciation it’d probably be even less. It’s not even a freestanding structure, it’s just a big hole in the ground with fake grass.”
If Sweetwater ISD declines the deal, Norbs plans to take legal action citing an irregularity recently discovered that legalizes “eminent domain for the purpose of drilling for oil on high school athletic fields.” The legal battle could tie things up for several months.
If Sweetwater ISD accepts the deal, Norbs says that drilling could start sometime this spring. No one is sure where Sweetwater would play their home football games, but a deal to rent Tiger Stadium in Snyder or Bulldog Stadium in Abilene are not out of the question. “Snyder folks really don’t want the Mustang fans over here, but if they’re willing to pay to rent our stadium who’s going to turn down their money? And Wylie said Sweetwater would have to rename their mascot to Bulldogs if they wanted to rent Bulldog Stadium”
The longterm plan for a new home for the Mustang football team would be to build a new stadium. “If we undertake this plan, that stadium will be unusable in the future. We plan to dispose of all our fracking wastes there when we finish with it. Why dig a hole when you already got one that needs filled?”
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