Week-long event honors pioneers

File photo: Joshua Lucero Pioneer Days parade organizer John Montano expects about 100 entries for the annual Saturday morning parade down Main Street.

File photo: Joshua Lucero
Pioneer Days parade organizer John Montano expects about 100 entries for the annual Saturday morning parade down Main Street.

By Kevin Wilson

A 1978 speech by radio commentator Paul Harvey tells us God made a farmer on the eighth day.

Some time after, Clovis Pioneer Days organizers reasoned, there would be other needs. “So God made a cowboy,” and it’s being celebrated this week.

Wilma Fulgham, who’s been promoting the Western lifestyle since she won the Curry County Rodeo Queen title and went on to win Miss Rodeo New Mexico in 1950, said it’s tough to pick her favorite feature of Pioneer Days.

“The rodeo’s always a favorite, seeing old friends and people getting together and seeing so many we’ve known over the years in addition to the competition,” Fulgham said. “I’m just glad to see this is the 45th year for the rodeo.

During World War II, it was discontinued and picked up again (in 1971).”

Events during Pioneer Days basically fall into one, or maybe more, of four categories — history, rodeo, pageantry and food.

History: The Pioneer Days, themed “So God Made a Cowboy” for 2015, is highlighted by the 7 a.m. Friday Pioneer Women Breakfast. In its 14th year, the event invites all local pioneer women to come to the Clovis Civic Center, with vintage fashion encouraged.

Wednesday will feature a reception for the Llano Estacado Quilt Guild at Wheatfields Senior Living.

Saturday includes the 45th annual Pioneer Days Parade along Main Street. As of Friday, parade organizer John Montano said he had 50 entries. He expects about double that by the Thursday evening deadline, and will do what he can to accept anybody up to the morning of the parade.

“I hope everybody comes out and takes part,” Montano said. “It’s going to be a great time.”

Though scheduled, the parade will not feature a collection barrel for the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico or a 5K to benefit the food bank. The charitable organization canceled the 5K due to lack of participants.

Following the parade at 12:30 p.m. is the Eighth Annual Duke of the Dutch Ovens Chuckwagon Cookoff at the county fairgrounds.

Rodeo: Monday kicks off with the 40th annual Little Buckaroo Rodeo at the Curry County Events Center. Children will begin with foot events, then move on to horse events.

Tuesday features the Curry County Mounted Patrol team roping competition at 6 p.m., also at the events center.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday include 7:30 p.m. Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos, also at the events center. Fulgham said more than 400 competitors are entered, a Pioneer Days record. Admission for each PRCA rodeo is $20 for premium seats, $15 for reserved seats and general admission for $12, with children 10 and under admitted free in general admission areas and advance tickets available for $2 discounts. The Thursday rodeo is military appreciation night, with a $3 discount off tickets with an active military ID.

The Friday and Saturday rodeos will be followed by a rodeo dance featuring Stateline Band, with tickets set at $5 with a rodeo ticket or $10 without.

Pageantry: The Pioneer Days Rodeo Queen Pageant features seven contestants between the Little Buckaroo and Queen divisions, organizer Lexi Myers said. They will begin competition 9 a.m. Monday at First Baptist Church with personality and fashion competitions, then go to the Curry County Fairgrounds for 2 p.m. horsemanship competition. Royalty will be announced during the 11:30 a.m. Wednesday kickoff barbecue at Bender Dodge.

The Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant begins with 4 p.m. Tuesday registration at Days Inn. Contestants will begin 8 a.m. Wednesday with horsemanship competition, followed by the kickoff barbecue and a 5 p.m. meet and greet at the Youth Recreation Building.

Friday will feature a tour of area nursing homes in the morning, a 1 p.m. show at Clovis Community College’s Town Hall ($10 admission) including fashion, speech and connotation, and the announcement of royalty at 7:10 p.m. at the events center prior to the PRCA rodeo.

Visiting rodeo queens will include reigning Miss Rodeo New Mexico Kagan Massey, Miss Rodeo America Lauren Heaton and Miss Rodeo Washington Katherine Merck. They will be at the kickoff barbecue and at the Thursday Clovis City Commission meeting as part of an annual proclamation for Pioneer Days.

Food: The chuckwagon cookoff, originally tied to the Joe’s Boot Shop Rodeo, was moved to Pioneer Days because of a general fit with the theme. Teams start early in the morning, usually around 5 a.m., and start working from scratch to make a lunch including chicken fried steak, baked beans, potatoes, biscuits and dessert.

Fulgham said this year’s event has removed the competition aspect because, “The chuckwagon people don’t really like to cook in June because of the heat; after Memorial Day, it’s difficult to get them to come through here.”

Instead, three teams will come in to cook 100 meals each.

Ticket are $20 each, with advance tickets available at the Chamber of Commerce and Snelling Staffing, with proceeds going to the Miss New Mexico Pageant.

5 p.m.: 40th Annual Little Buckaroo Rodeo, Curry County Events Center

4 p.m.: Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant Registration, Days Inn & Suites
6 p.m.: Curry County Mounted Patrol Team Roping, Curry County Events Center

8 a.m.: Miss Rodeo New Mexico Horsemanship Competition, Curry County Events Center
11:30 a.m.: Rodeo Barbecue Kick-Off, Bender Dodge
2 p.m.: Reception for Llano Estacado Quilt Guild display, Wheatfields Senior Living Center (exhibit open through Saturday)
5 p.m.: Miss Rodeo New Mexico Meet and Greet, Youth Recreation Building

5:15 p.m.: Mayor’s Proclamation at Clovis City Commission meeting, Clovis-Carver Public Library North Annex
5:30 p.m.: “The Rodeo Experience” interactive rodeo exhibit, Curry County Events Center
7:30 p.m.: 45th annual PRCA Rodeo-Curry County Events Center

7 a.m.: 14th annual Pioneer Women Breakfast, Clovis Civic Center
8 a.m.: Steer roping slack, Curry County Events Center
9:30 a.m.: Rodeo Queens & Bullfighter/Clowns annual tour of area nursing homes, Wheatfields Senior Living Center and Plains Regional Medical Center.
1 p.m.: Miss Rodeo New Mexico Fashion Show, Speech, Coronation, Clovis Community College Town Hall, $10 admission
7:10 p.m.: Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant announcement of Royalty. Curry County Events Center
7:30 p.m.: 45th annual PRCA Rodeo, Curry County Events Center.
Following rodeo: Timed events slack, Curry County Events Center.
Following rodeo: Rodeo Dance featuring StateLine Band, Curry County Fairgrounds Pavilion

10 a.m.: 45th annual Pioneer Parade, Main Street
12:30 p.m.: Eighth Annual Duke of Dutch Ovens Chuck Wagon Cookoff, Curry County Fairgrounds
7:30 p.m.: 45th annual PRCA Rodeo, Curry County Events Center.
Following rodeo: Rodeo dance featuring StateLine Band, Curry County Fairgrounds Pavilion