What’s In a License Plate?

| December 2, 2011

GRTU Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited License Plate

A few Texas Fly Caster readers have spotted the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited license plate around the great big State of Texas. I saw one last week when I was headed from Houston to Dallas on I45.

Out of curiosity, and because I have a rather boring car now, I am often looking for something to make it stand out in the parking lot. Easy to find, it’s not.

What I found was rather disturbing.

It coincided with a brief excursion to a store in Dallas, Texas, called “Curiosities.” Curiosities is a fantastic store on Abrahams road in the Lakewood area, and once you’ve walked inside, you are sucked into a time warp of antiques, art and other odds and ends – including license plates. I dug through the piles of plates looking for a particular year, the last one missing from my father-in-law’s collection (1935). Just about forever, Texans have been able to easily identify Texas license plates. At times they were the same color for a few years, and when we Texans were still in control of our prison populations, the colors changed every year. Those were the days. A new plate every year, before stickers and all those other budget cutting measures. In those days, a Texas plate was A TEXAS PLATE.

Surfing around the other evening, and curious about all these different black and white Texas plates I’d been seeing (Texas black and white plates have a strong and deep history), as well as the GRTU license plates, led me to MyPlates.com.

Freebirds License Plate in State of Texas

It turns out that a private company was awarded the contract to create a complete line of specialty plates for the State of Texas. All I can say is, somebody has opened Pandora’s Box. Texas now has plates for Liberty Christian School (just outside Denton, Texas), OU – yes the University of Oklahoma, Jeff Gordon and who could live without Freebirds World Burrito.

New Texas License Plate Option

Now there are a few winners among all this strangeness – I still like the black-and-white plates and really like the “Don’t Tread on Me” plate (how Texas can you get?). I think it’s only a matter of time before the backlash sets in, this ultimate quest for individuality and unravelling of the fabric of Texas is quelled, and we go back to the unity of boring flat prison grade plates. Besides, it must be cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners at the Huntsville prison to have to think about what they’re doing.

Meanwhile, can we interest you in a “Sunflower” plate that says “Sunshine” on it?

Sunflower Sunshine Texas License Plate

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Category: Causes, Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, On The Road

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.