Hog Arkansas High Texas High Tiger

Taken from Dallas Morning News, 09/15/89

Texarkana College president Dr. Cheesie Nelson, who played for the Razorbacks in the 1955 and 1956 games, grew up eight blocks from State Line Avenue.

"I hated Texas more than the kids who lived 10 blocks in, but not as much as the kids two blocks from the border," said Nelson, 50, who taught at Texas High in the 1960s and whose son, Clay, played for the Tigers. "Here's the state line in the middle of a town, and the enemy is on the other side of the line. I couldn't bring myself to root for Texas High, even when my own son played for the Tigers."It runs that deep."

Nelson remembers 1957 as the year of the rivalry's greatest notoriety, He had graduated the year before, but he was in town the night before the game, when the first Hog's Head Battle took place. It began at Lee's Drive-in on Seventh Street, several blocks over the state line in Arkansas.

The way Nelson tells it, the Texas boys secured a hog's head from a butcher shop, lined up their cars and ventured over to Lee's to disrupt the curb service. The theater of war moved to the intersection of State Line and Broad Street where a flagpole stood. They ran the head up the pole. Arkansas partisans would work their way up the pole, capture the head, and run with it. Then the Texans would get it back and send it up pole again.

In his office on the Texas side of State Line Avenue, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce president Swede Lee gazes at a wall of framed paintings of classic football scenes from the leather-helmet days.

Lee, 53, played for Texas High in the 1950s and coached at Arkansas High School in 1962-1964. "This game is kind of like a season in itself," said Lee, who in 1964 coached the Razorbacks to their first victory over Texas High in 21 years. "There's a feeling that Texas High represents Texas and Arkansas High represents Arkansas."

Lee was the one guiding the Razorbacks when they stopped Watty Myers unbeaten streak in 1964. Lee played for Myers and knew well his means of motivation. "He was by nature an intimidating type," Lee said.

But Myers, who at 73 still teaches driver education at Texas High, said players in the Texas High-Arkansas High game never required much prodding. Nor did they forget the combative tension of that game. Said Myers: "I had a former player come back from the war and tell me, "When we lined up against those Koreans, that reminded me of Arkansas High."

I remember that warm night in September (1957) when the boys of Arkansas met the boys of Texas. Lets not forget the girls, for they were there too. When I arrrived at Broad & Stateline the hog head was hanging from the stop light. Many fights broke out over the hog's head between the boys and a few among the girls. After the head was taken down more fights broke out. Where was the police? They were there, setting in their cars (It seems like there was one police car from Ark & one car from Tex) watching what was going on. The party ended when someone hit the fire alarm box, which was located on a pole in front of the bank. Within a few minutes the firetrucks arrived, the police got out of their cars and sent everyone running. As I was returning to my car, I saw someone jump up and grab the end of the ladder on the back of the ladder truck and hung on. The last time I looked he was still hanging and swinging from that ladder as it went speeding down Broad street back to the station. The next day, on the front page of the paper was pictures of the fights. The only person you could reconize was Pat Burns (58). The following year when I went downtown the police was ready. We couldn't even think about stopping and getting out. Anyway, thats the way I remember it.
Jimmy Nicholas (1958)

We were red but the Texans were blood.
And at pep rallies we yelled:
Give it the red Give it the white,
and we called the hogs.
Then the night before the game
the rough, the tough, the rowdy
met downtown at Broad and Stateline
for the big fight.

And the angriest of Tigers
dared the wildest of Razorbacks
to climb the flag pole
and rescue the hog that they had hung.

© Pat Shipp Lieb (Class of 60)

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