It started as a simple summertime West Texas vs. East Texas high school all-star football game back in 1938. Today, the Oil Bowl is one of the most prestigious postseason all-star games in the United States.
From 1945 until 2012 (except for one year) the format was Texas vs. Oklahoma. It didn’t get much better than that. The top high school players from the two states went head-to-head every summer for football bragging rights. Beginning in 2014 the Oil Bowl became a East vs. West Texas Game.
Many Oil Bowlers have gone on to be stars in college and professional football. Steve Owens went from here to win the Heisman Trophy. Others — like Jack Mildren, J.C. Watts and Steve Largent — have not only made names for themselves in football, but also politics.
The game has also featured some coaching legends, both in the high school and college ranks. Texas high school coaching legends like Gordon Wood, Joe Golding and G.A. Moore all have coached in the Oil Bowl, as did Grant Teaff (Baylor), Matty Bell (SMU), Blair Cherry (Texas), Dutch Meyer (TCU) and Jess Neely (Rice). Another coaching legend, Hayden Fry, once played in the Oil Bowl.
Initially, the primary purpose of the game was to raise money to help children with orthopedic and burn injuries. “Strong legs run, so weak legs may walk” was the motto of the Oil Bowl from the time Maskat Shrine Center of Wichita Falls, Texas, came up with the idea to stage this game every summer.
Thousands of dollars were raised to benefit the less fortunate. For the first seventy-four years of the game (1938-2011), the proceeds from each game were divided between the two states–Texas’ share going to help the North Texas Rehabilitation Center in Wichita Falls and Oklahoma’s share going to the Oklahoma Coaches Association charities. Beginning with the Seventy-Fifth game in 2012, net proceeds went to Shriners Hospitals for Children. (Please visit their WEBSITE for more information about the great work Shriners Hospitals do to “help the Children.”) In 2014, the format of the game changed from Texas vs Oklahoma to East-Texas vs West-Texas All-Stars. In 2020, the Oil Bowl game became a fraternal fundraiser for the benefit of Maskat Shriners. The 2020 game was not played because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
For more information on Maskat’s Oil Bowl Classic check out the web site Maskat Oil Bowl.