Liberal, city (1990 pop. 16,573), seat of Seward co., SW Kans.; founded 1888, inc. 1945. It is the trade center for a grazing and farm area. Oil and natural gas are extracted, and helium is processed in the city. Meatpacking and sand and gravel are also important to the economy. The traditional International Pancake Race between the housewives of Liberal and Olney, England, is held annually on Shrove Tuesday.