By Joe Gulick
The Great Plains Life Building, now known as Metro Tower, made what is surely the only appearance of a downtown Lubbock building in a Dirk West football cartoon.
It happened in 1973, during a difficult time in the history of Lubbock’s tallest building. The 20-story structure, built in 1953, was damaged in the May 11, 1970, tornado and remained vacant for more than five years.
A large section of the brick facing on the building’s north wall — amounting to thousands of bricks — fell in 1972, damaging cars and breaking power lines but not causing any injuries.
This cartoon was printed on Oct. 12, 1973, the day before Texas Tech hosted Texas A&M. The Aggies, of course, didn’t stay in the damaged office building, but that was the premise of a gag that included protesting pigeons — which looked like they were close relatives of Dirk’s Boo Bird.
Tech beat the Aggies 28-16 in the game, and the Great Plains Life Building was repaired, renamed and reopened two years later.
The Longhorn had good reason to be apprehensive about the annual Red River Shootout game with Oklahoma the next day — the Sooners crushed Texas 52-13. Similarly, the Bear didn’t seem very enthusiastic about hosting Arkansas, which overcame Baylor 13-7.
Note the Aggie’s reference to the City Council. Approximately six months later, Dirk would be elected to that “unusual item.”
Previous Dirk West Cartoons