Summer stories

By Tony Gutierrez and MIckey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

Serious about the series
Eastern New Mexico University sports information director Adam Pitterman attended the college softball World Series in Oklahoma City.
“I actually contacted somebody at the NCAA before I went because I thought it would be a good experience for me,” Pitterman said.
Pitterman watched the entire first round including the final game of the opening round featuring eventual champion Arizona against Baylor.
“That went extra innings,” Pitterman said. “It was probably one of the best pitched games on both sides.”
Pitterman said he also got to watch the runner-up Tennessee Lady Vols on his one-day excursion.
“Just watching those games was actually amazing,” Pitterman said. “It was a beautiful day. It was pretty warm but it wasn’t killer hot.”

It’s good to be queen
For Amanda Crockett, 19, of Clovis, winning the Pioneer Days Rodeo Queen title was the most memorable event this summer.
She said she spent the summer staying up late at night practicing speeches and working with her horses.
“The first night of the Pioneer Days Rodeo, I was going to make my (rodeo) queen run on my horse,” Crockett said. “He was very fresh and he bucked throughout the entire queen run.”
Crockett said she rode through the run, smiling and waving and was embarrassed by the time she approached the middle of the arena.
“I got a lot of laughs and a lot of ‘Well, the queen’s horse is not supposed to buck,’” Crockett said.
She said she looks forward to the state fair rodeo contest in September.

One tripped-up trip
John Ippoliti, 24, who is stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, said he’ll long remember a road trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., this summer for a training seminar because his car broke down three times.
“I spent four hours waiting by the side of the road waiting for a tow truck,” Ippoliti said.
On the way to Colorado Springs, his car’s fan belt broke in Raton because of a failed compressor, Ippoliti said. With that fixed, he made it almost to Colorado City, Colo., when the transmission for his car broke. He spent the night in Pueblo, Colo.
“They were afraid I wasn’t going to make it to training,” Ippoliti said about his superiors. “They took care of me, got me a rental car.”
On his way home, he had car troubles again in Clovis. The compressor broke a second time and he needed to get the fan belt replaced.
Ippoliti said his wife was in disbelief that his car broke down three times.
“The first time I told her she’s like, ‘Oh, I hope you get it fixed,’” Ippoliti said. “The second time, she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it happened twice.’ The last time she was able to come out and get me. It’s a good car. It’s just those two pieces needed to be replaced.”

Coach goes cruisin’
Eastern New Mexico University head football coach Mark Ribaudo and his wife spent the early part of his summer on a Western Caribbean cruise, an experience he says he won’t soon forget.
“Cruises in general are wonderful,” Ribaudo said. “But the best part was the people.”
Several people throughout town as well as several members of the ENMU coaching staff went on the seven-day cruise, which sailed out of Galveston, Texas, in late May.
The cruise ship stopped at Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel.
“They’re all places that I, personally, have never been,” Ribaudo said.
Coach Ribaudo also pointed out a location at Cozumel he found particularly interesting.
“The coolest thing for me was at Cozumel. We went to the Mayan ruins and actually got to view the ruins and then swim in the ocean,” Ribaudo said. “It was a combination of a great cruise plus a bunch of really fun-loving people. It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.”

Driving lessons
Mona Lee Armstrong, 50, director of Clovis Community College’s Center for Student Success, said she spent her summer teaching her 15-year-old daughter, Gina, how to drive.
“This is not easy to build a driving relationship with a 15-year-old who says she knows the rules better than her mother,” Armstrong said. “When you tell her what to do, she gets mad and when you don’t tell her what to do, she gets mad. She’s literally counting the days until she can drive all by herself.”
Armstrong said she’s not worried about her daughter being a bad driver as much as she is about other drivers.
During one driving lesson, Gina scraped the vehicle when she backed it into a cement wall.
“She was terrified,” Armstrong said. “She got out of the Jeep and she got back in and didn’t want to drive, but I made her. That’s all about learning to drive.”
Armstrong said she made her daughter drive to an auto store for spray paint for the fender to cover it up until they found an appropriate time to tell her husband.
“The lesson was, ‘Don’t ever do this without me there. If you ever dent the car, you tell me first, we tell Dad later,’” Armstrong said. “I don’t know if he knows yet. We’re not sure if he’s noticed yet.”