Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3-7 Cattle Drive of the Century

30712 centennial
SANTA FE – What's happening in your community to celebrate New Mexico's centennial? It seems to vary widely. I recently heard from Lea County about some of their monumental events. Down in the Southeast corner of our state, the oil patch often is referred to as "Little Texas." But Lea County's plans are Big New Mexico.
The Biggest event is the Cattle Drive of the Century from the Pitchfork Ranch in Lea County to Carlsbad. It will be composed of 100 head of longhorns, branded with a Zia sun symbol. They will make the 80-mile stretch in three days. Each night will feature a chuck wagon dinner and entertainment from the likes of Michael Murphy and other great performers. Famous cowboys and cowgirls also will join the drive.
The cattle drive will take place May 9-11. Seasoned wranglers will do the hard work but you can ride along too. The fee is $1,800 for the full experience. That covers three chuck wagon meals a day, camping equipment, your campsite set up for you every night, Old West reenactments and an official t-shirt and poster. A limited number of spots are available. Contact Trail Boss Bert Madera at 575-390-2861.
There also are other ways to participate. You can join the group each night for a chuck wagon dinner and campfire entertainment Busses will depart from Hobbs and Carlsbad each night at 5 p.m. Tickets are $75 each.
If you own your own horse, mule or wagon, you can join in for $225 a person. For additional information contact or The cattle drive already is drawing national and international attention. So expect to see a great many cameras around too.
At the End of the Trail, a full day of events will be held in Carlsbad. It will include children's rodeo branding, leather working, wool spinning and more.
The trail drive is sure to be one of the biggest events commemorating the New Mexico Centennial. The Lea County Centennial Committee will transport fourth and fifth graders from around the county to a Viva New Mexico Centennial celebration on April 27 in Hobbs .The Southwest Symphony is sponsoring the celebration which will feature the five main cultural influences on New Mexico.
A recreated Pony Express ride also will be a part of Lea County's centennial celebration. Riders will carry the mail on horseback during a 14-day trek from the Western Heritage Museum in Hobbs to Santa Fe. First Gentleman Chuck Franco will be the expressmaster in Santa Fe who will receive the mail.
Other events will include a New Mexico-Texas Challenge Marathon, a Lovington Street Dance, and an old fashioned melodrama, "Oil's Well That Ends Well." The Center for the Arts in Hobbs is hosting a Centennial Photography Exhibit, which will be followed in July and August by a Boots and Spurs art exhibit.
In October the Llano Estacado Art Association will host a "One Hundred Years of Enchantment" centennial show, featuring new original art from Lea and Eddy County artists. A Festival of Quilts will feature quilts with a centennial theme.
Calvin Smith, chairperson of the cattle drive committee, says still more projects are being planned. The ones we have mentioned are just the ones already underway.
Inside the Capitol would like to hear about other activities going on around the state too. Please let us know about what your community is doing so we can showcase it. Centennials only roll around about once every 100 years. It's a time to celebrate.
The New Mexico Centennial website lists several events occurring in Roswell, Las Cruces, Albuquerque and a few other locations. But there must be more. Let us know about them.


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