I’ve always maintained that the Nebraska Panhandle, where I’m from, is not in the Midwest. Omaha, where I went to college – total Midwestern city. You could change whole parts of it out with Cincinnati and no one would even notice. Scottsbluff, my hometown – more like Cheyenne.
By geography, climate, and culture, the Panhandle has practically nothing in common with the Midwest. A hundred times more Wyoming than Ohio.
Now I’ve got the map to prove it:
The only real link – other than all those bothersome laws and institutions – that western Nebraska has to the rest of the state is our beloved Husker football team. I’d take them even if we seceded. Which probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. I doubt they’d miss the Panhandle back in Omaha, and I’m sure we wouldn’t miss them.
In the 1890s the residents of the Panhandle threatened to join Wyoming if the water laws didn’t get changed. They were foiled then, but the idea was vetted again in the 80s. It went nowhere again. Damn easterners.
Nonetheless, out here the term “Wyobraska” has persisted. Katie Bradshaw has a pretty good run-down on how that term is more common in the Scottsbluff phonebook than, well, Scottsbluff.
I should clarify that I now live in the eastern Wyoming part of Wyobraska, enjoying the various advantages of Wyoming life (no income tax, a state capital that is not 450 miles away, no associations with the Midwest … no income tax). I’d just like my brethren across the border to share in the wealth, too.
I should add, too, that the above map, while starting in the right direction, includes way too much of the east. This is the Panhandle. Everything else is just Back East: