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  • Wichita Falls, Texas
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    Wichita Falls,

    Texas

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    Wichita Falls ( WITCH-i-tah) is a city in and the county seat of Wichita County, Texas, United States. It is the principal city of the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Archer, Clay, and Wichita counties. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 104,553, making it the 38th-most populous city in Texas. In addition, its central business district is 5 miles (8 km) from Sheppard Air Force Base, which is home to the Air Force's largest technical training wing and the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, the world's only multinationally staffed and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for both USAF and NATO. The city is home to the Newby-McMahon Building (otherwise known as the "world's littlest skyscraper"), constructed downtown in 1919 and featured in Robert Ripley's Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
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    This Weekend: Bicyclists get hotter than Hell in Texas

    Riding 100 miles in 100-degree heat? In Texas? For fun? Believe it. Wichita Falls, Texas, will be invaded by bicyclists doing just that in the 27th annual Hotter'N Hell Hundred endurance bike race this Saturday. Begun in 1982 as a way to celebrate Wichita Falls's centennial, the event now draws more than 11,000 cyclists—the largest single-day, 100-mile bicycle ride in the nation. In past years, the heat has exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, weather.com predicts a 90-degree high in Wichita Falls on this year's race day. (Phew!) The ride starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and features a trek through neighboring towns Charlie, Burkburnett, Electra, and Iowa Park. Other activities include a 10K bike race, a 10-mile off-road area for mountain bikes (this single track has short climbs and drops), plus a spaghetti dinner and a chance to buy official Hotter'N Hell clothing, bike paraphernalia, and other items from community vendors. The event is free to watch. Registration for riders is $25; late registration opens at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

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    DESTINATION IN Oklahoma

    Lawton

    Lawton is a city in, and the county seat of, Comanche County, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Located in southwestern Oklahoma, approximately 87 mi (140 km) southwest of Oklahoma City, it is the principal city of the Lawton, Oklahoma, metropolitan statistical area. According to the 2010 census, Lawton's population was 96,867, making it the fifth-largest city in the state, and the largest in Western Oklahoma.Developed on former reservation lands of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Indians, Lawton was founded by European Americans on 6 August 1901. It was named after Major General Henry Ware Lawton, who served in the Civil War, where he earned the Medal of Honor, and was killed in action in the Philippine–American War. Lawton's landscape is typical of the Great Plains, with flat topography and gently rolling hills, while the area north of the city is marked by the Wichita Mountains. The city's proximity to the Fort Sill Military Reservation, formerly the base of the Apache territory before statehood, gave Lawton economic and population stability throughout the 20th century.Although Lawton's economy is still largely dependent on Fort Sill, it has grown to encompass manufacturing, higher education, health care, and retail. The city has a council-manager government; the city council members are elected from single-member districts and the mayor is elected at-large. They hire a professional city manager to direct daily operations. Interstate 44 and three major United States highways serve the city, while Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport connects Lawton by air. Recreation can be found at the city's many parks, lakes, museums, and festivals. Notable residents of the city include many musical and literary artists, as well as several professional athletes.