By Dave Gragg
Ask Bob Moore what “Roadies” are, and he’ll tell you they’re a group of sometimes fanatical aficionados of Route 66, especially those who have traveled the Mother Road from Chicago to Los Angeles or vice versa.
And in July, thousands of them will descend on Tucumcari like a plague of locusts, eating at every restaurant in sight, filling hotels and emptying curio shops.
Sounds like fun, don’t it?
On Friday, Moore and other representatives of the Route 66 Magazine met with the organizers of Tucumcari’s Route 66 celebration to discuss how to keep these aficionados entertained, occupied and otherwise fat and sassy.
Tucumcari’s third annual Route 66 celebration will coincide with the magazine’s second annual “International Route 66 Roadie Gathering.”
Vega, Texas, hosted the first such gathering.
“Vega is a tiny town, about 900 people,” Moore, the magazine’s managing editor said. “And we just overwhelmed them. There were 3,000 people there on a Saturday.”
“We have a real opportunity here — we’re getting national exposure,” said Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce Director Virginia Wright.
Actually, according to magazine co-publisher Sandi Taylor, it’s international exposure. She said there’s a magazine subscriber from Japan who “jumps up and down” when he starts talking about the gathering.
“Sometimes they’re a little fanatical, even for us,” said Moore — who coined the term for Route 66 buffs in his first book, “The Illustrated Guidebook of the Mother Road.”
Moore said the gathering is more than just a boon for local businesses, it’s a way of giving back to the magazine’s subscribers.
Tucumcari was not the only place to try to get the gathering, he said. Many towns — large and small — wanted to host the second event.
“Tucumcari just fits,” he said. Huge communities really don’t understand Route 66 the way that smaller towns like Tucumcari do.
“We’re very grateful that we can be a part of Tucumcari’s celebration.”
Events planned for celebration, July 10 -13
o Horse ride through Trails West bar
o Route 66: Celebrating America’s Main Street,” a play by the drama department of Northern Arizona University
o Kids games
o Writer’s seminar and contest
o Fire juggling and eating
o Western dance
o Senior Olympics
o Silent auction
o Ranch rodeo
o Car show
o Martin Milner — Star of 1960s TV series, “route 66”
o Michael Wallis – Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “Route 66: the Mother Road.”
o Al Unser Sr. — Retired race car driver and four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500