5-12 Billy Still Riding
By JAY MILLER
SANTA FE -- Billy the Kid still rides in southern New Mexico on the 125th anniversary of his shooting by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Gov. Bill Richardson secured $200,000 from the 2006 Legislature to help communities in Billy the Kid Country observe Billy's exploits on this significant anniversary.
Some of that money may be used to reimburse extra expenses involved in assisting with media coverage of the April 21-29 Trail Ride, along the trail of Billy's last ride from Lincoln to Fort Sumner, following Billy's escape from the Lincoln County jail on April 28, 1881.
This was the fifth annual trail ride, over the Capitan Mountains, across high desert grasslands and through the Pecos River, visiting ranches where Billy stopped on his 125-mile trek.
A full contingent of 25 riders left Lincoln on their exciting adventure, organized by Wally Roberts of Hobbs, with Kim Chesser of Roswell as trail boss.
At the end of the trail, in Fort Sumner, the riders were met by Mayor Juan Chavez, the Monument Rangers and the Chamber of Commerce. More information is available at www.Billythe KidTrailRide.com.
Another Billy the Kid observance will be held in Fort Sumner during Old Fort Days, June 7-10. The highlight will be the Billy the Kid Tombstone Race on the final day. The event commemorates the frequent stealing of Billy's tombstone.
Also on June 10, Silver City will hold the Millie and Billy Ball, honoring two of the town's most notorious former residents.
On July 14, the day Billy died, Fort Sumner is planning a re-enactment of the shooting. And on August 6, during Old Lincoln Days you can see a re-enactment of Billy's daring escape from jail.
And to cap it all off, Billy and Lincoln County deputy sheriffs Tom Sullivan and Steve Sederwall are going to France for the Cannes Film Festival later this month.
Two years ago, French documentary film maker Anne Feinsilber shot most of the footage for "Requiem for Billy the Kid" in the village of Lincoln. Sullivan and Sederwall were the chief assistants in her effort to document the Kid's story and the current efforts to dig him up.
The 90-minute film recently was chosen for showing at Cannes on May 21. Feinsilber has asked Sullivan and Sederwall to attend the showing along with Kris Kristofferson, who did the Kid's voice-over in the film.
It's a nice payoff for the two deputies, who put in nine months of work with no compensation. But it also should be great for the film maker to have two real, live cowboys who totally look the part.
It will be like Molly Brown, invading and enchanting Europe with her husband Johnny's Colorado silver mine money. They're sure to make a pot of silver for Feinsilber.
The film sounds intriguing. It is a mixture of documentary and Western as seen through the eyes of a French woman who seems captivated with Billy and the deputies. Documentary elements of the story are intercut with voiceover graveside conversations between Billy and Feinsilber.
The feat sounds terrifically difficult to pull off without being hokey. But if the movie was selected for Cannes, out of over 1,500 entries from throughout the world, Feinsilber succeeded.
Sullivan and Sederwall won't stop at Cannes. As long as Feinsilber has them across the pond, she plans to tour them to other countries in the area to promote the film.
New Mexico is one of the first places the film should visit after its release. Wouldn't it be nice to see its release right here? Maybe it could be premiered in Lincoln, a town that has remained unchanged ever since the end of the Lincoln County War.
It takes a lot of bucks to preserve an entire town and New Mexico is lucky it has happened. But that effort always has been underfunded. The international recognition and resources from a Lincoln premiere just might help with its continued preservation.
JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail) firstname.lastname@example.org