Amarillo is one of the last places on earth where the Old West is just minutes away. Amarillo sits at the crossroads of America, almost equidistant from both coasts. Air travelers reach the city through connecting flights from every major air terminal in the central U.S. Motorists simply take I-40 – one of the best-traveled routes in the country – or I-27. Since the 16th century, Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle have drawn visitors fromaround the world. Francisco Coronado, the first European to see the vast open spaces of the American Southwest, crossed the high plains in 1541 – nearly 80 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. He was followed by cattlemen and sheep herders from all points of the compass looking for fresh grazing grounds and a place to start a new life. Most famous of them was Charles Goodnight, inventor of the chuck wagon and a the basis of a character in Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series.
When the oil boom hit Texas, it exploded across the Texas Panhandle. Vast fortunes were made overnight and the region’s economy grew because of the lure of black gold. Since World War II, the Panhandle
economy has diversified to include heavy manufacturing, petrochemicals, farming and, of course, modern ranching. In the last decades, the ranches have been the key to a new industry–tourism. The Amarillo area is now a major destination for Old West enthusiasts from all over the globe. The lure of the Old West also draws thousands every year to attractions like the internationally-famous outdoor musical “TEXAS”, and Western Breakfasts and Dinners.
Amarillo and the surrounding Panhandle area are a unique blend of two American eras. There are the working ranches, essentially unchanged in the day-to-day operations from the late nineteenth century, and there is a vibrant twenty-first century economy, providing leadership for the modern west. That’s why we say when you step into Amarillo, you “Step Into The Real Texas.”