Watching the world watch Texas.

July 12, 2022

In this issue of Branding Texas: Media attention of Uvalde still continues; what ARPA-H is and the race for Texas to be its home state; the rivalry continues between The University of Texas and Texas A&M University; and how Texas barbeque still reigns supreme

Thomas Graham


A State Healing

A month has passed since the tragic shooting on May 24th in Uvalde, Texas, and the town still heals. Many came together to support the city of Uvalde in the wake of the tragedy.

The media has had non-stop coverage of Uvalde and everything that has happened in the days following. Many stories cover what legislators are doing about gun reform or the events that happened on May 24th. Still, many news sites like Global NewsUSA Today and The Washington Post have highlighted Texans helping the Uvalde community.

Global News reporter Michelle Butterfield reported the story of Trey Ganem, the owner of SoulShine Industries, of Edna, TX.  Ganem donated 19 custom caskets for the victims of Uvalde. The 19 caskets were painted in different themes for each child, some were Spiderman-themed, TikTok, Encanto and softball-themed to help the families remember and honor their loved ones.

Ganem told Global News, “There’s nothing we can really ever do to make it easier, but that’s our goal: to help the families.”

His story has gained worldwide attention for his generosity in donating the 19 caskets, and he credits his family, community and others across the state for the quick turnaround for the families.

Texas has a history of coming together to support its community, and Uvalde was no different. Love and support cried out from across the state, many came to offer help in whatever way they could.

The Washington Post reported on the counselors who came to offer their services. The New York Times wrote a heartfelt story on the Little League All-Star Championship in Uvalde that honored those in the tragedy with 21 seconds of silence and signed baseballs given to the families whose kids were unable to be there. The Rolling Stone even reported on Mariachi Bands that came to play at the fountain park in a memorial service for the 21 victims. Uvalde will always be healing from the tragic event, but Texas will be right there to help them along the way.


The Texas Fight for ARPA-H

The Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H) has been approved as an individual health agency when The House passed Rep. Anna Eshoo’s bill 336-85. ARPA-H was proposed by President Biden to improve the U.S. government’s ability to speed biomedical and health research.

Texas has entered the race to host ARPA-H since it will be under the Health and Human Services Department but outside of the National Institutes of Health. Politico reported on the race for ARPA-H in a recent article by Sarah Owermohle and Krista Marr. The article explains what Texas has to offer. Texas hosts the largest medical center in the world, the largest military medical complex in the nation and the only one to have a biosafety level 4 lab co-located with a national primate center.

Other states like Georgia and California have also thrown their name in the ring to host ARPA-H. Boasting about their diverse talent pool and medical schools in their state. Media coverage has been sparse on the race for ARPA-H,  but as things heat up there is sure to be media coverage from all over the nation.

Thomas Graham, Crosswind leader and President of the Coalition for Health Advancement and Research in Texas (CHART) is advocating for Texas to be the home of ARPA-H. Through strategic planning and messaging CHART hopes to win the race.


The Rivalry Lives On

The University of Texas and Texas A&M University have long had a rivalry over who can be the best in Texas. And since Texas A&M’s move to the SEC there haven’t been a lot of times UT and A&M have met in the sports world. Until when they played each other at the College World Series in Omaha.

Elizabeth Merrill with ESPN broke down the history between UT and A&M baseball in her recent article. She highlighted the 1989 baseball season when number 1 ranked A&M was defeated and UT coach Cliff Gustafson famously said, “Where are the Aggies now?”. The rivalry game garnered media attention from ESPNSports Illustrated and other national news sites.

UT and Texas A&M played on Sunday, June 19, and A&M sent UT home by beating them 10-2. When Texas A&M was still a part of the Big 12, the rivalry between them was among the status of Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University’s Bedlam, Alabama vs Auburn and Michigan vs Ohio State.

When A&M made its move to the SEC in 2012, Crosswind Media and PR had a hand in supporting Texas A&M’s transition. Now, UT has plans to join the SEC no later than 2025. Along with another Big 12 school Oklahoma University. With UT making the move, fans are excited to see the rivalry more often in the future.


Texas BBQ Reigns Supreme

If there is one thing Texans could all agree on, it would be Texas has the best BBQ in the nation. And every four years, Texas Monthly releases its top 50 BBQ joints in the state. Reporter Forest Brown at CNN Travel did an affectionate story celebrating Texas Monthly’s list of mouthwatering top-50 barbecue joints.

BBQ is near and dear to every Texans heart; it reminds us of home cooking and nights with good friends or a Sunday meal shared at the favorite local restaurant. So, what’s so important about the top 50 BBQ places in Texas? Well, because it puts Texas on the national map of BBQ. Many argue that other places like Florida, Memphis and Kansas City have the best BBQ in the nation, but every Texan knows, that’s just not true.

The CNN travel article was filtered down to local and smaller new sites but also sparked attention from more national and bigger news sites. The Washington Post mentioned the Texas Monthly article in their recent story on Marfa, Texas, and a BBQ joint that recently made the list.

Texas BBQ has been recreated in many other states and news sites like The Tasting Table have given insight into what makes Texas BBQ so popular. In a recent article by Amanda Bretz, she laid out what makes Texas BBQ sauce so great.

In the CNN Travel article, Daniel Vaughn, the full-time barbeque editor for Texas Monthly, laid out exactly how they pick the top BBQ joints. It comes down to the basis of who is using the best meat, do they have specialty items, are the sides just as good and are the desserts on another level. It’s more than who has the best brisket, but who is doing the best overall. And mostly, those who did the best in these categories weren’t in rural Texas, but actually in big cities.

Big City BBQ has taken the place of locally owned joints like previous top contenders of  Lockhart. It comes down to consistency, how well a place can be over and over again without making a slip-up. But, we believe nothing can beat walking into your locally owned BBQ joint and being greeted with that familiar smile.


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