Honoring the Marathon Mustangs 1976 State Champions

Honoring the Marathon Mustangs 1976 State Champions

The tiny west Texas town of Marathon in Brewster County will honor their 1976 State Championship Mustangs football team on February 12, 2021. An awards ceremony and introduction of the 2021 homecoming court starts at 5:30 p.m. that Friday at Marathon Football Field. After the ceremony, a commemorative flag football game will feature junior and senior players.

The 1976 Marathon Mustangs team, from an article in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, were “put into a one-team district for the first and only time in UIL history. The Mustangs –a six-man squad—played seven games against 11-man teams, winning all of them, before dominating every opponent in the playoffs for a remarkable undefeated state championship season.”

Marathon HS Achievements

Honoring the Marathon Mustangs 1976 State Champions

Photo: Marathon High School

JP Bryan, owner of the Gage Hotel in Marathon, said, “This recognition demonstrates the incredible human accomplishment that can occur in this wonderful country of ours, on the smallest of platforms. While I am extolling the achievements of the football team, let me not ignore what the school has achieved academically. You will be pleased to know that Region 18, the Midland District, includes 40 schools spread throughout our region. In our district, Marathon High School ranked 3rd in 2018 and 2nd in 2019. Marathon also ranked 1st in the three surrounding counties of Brewster, Presidio, and Fort Davis.”

“The continuing status of providing quality education to its students is the school’s major purpose. In fact, for families considering a change in residence to accommodate an outstanding education for their children in a safe and vast place, consider a move to Marathon,” Bryan said.

Historic Gage Hotel

Honoring the Marathon Mustangs 1976 State Champions

Photo: Jason Risner

The Gage Hotel received national historic register recognition in December. The hotel was built by local rancher Alfred Gage, who commissioned famed El Paso architect Henry Trost to design and build a hotel. Gage planned to use the hotel to oversee his vast (over 500,000 acres) ranching operation. The beautiful hotel, with its Mission and Spanish-style design, opened in April 1927.

Many high profile guests have stayed at the Gage Hotel over the years. Legendary author Zane Gray supposedly wrote one of his western novels there. But as Marathon’s commerce and population dwindled, the hotel was closed for a while. Oilman and philanthropist JP Bryan, a descendant of Texas founding father Stephen F. Austin, understood the historic value of the Gage and purchased it in 1978.

Bryan’s love of Texas history and his passion for the Big Bend region, which offers some of the most intriguing landscapes in the entire West, led to his four decades of careful restoration of the property and town. Thanks to these ongoing restorations, the historic Gage Hotel offers visitors an authentic and unique place to stay. For information, visit GageHotel.com.

Written by Jo Ann Holt