By Angela Peacock
Cruising his neighborhood on a brand new 10 speed is Alex Mills’ ideal choice of transportation, instead the 5-year-old will have to settle for traveling as a passenger in his brand new Ford Mustang.
Alex’s father Steve Mills purchased the winning ticket for the annual Tucumcari Altrusa car party, but put Alex’s name on the ticket because he believes his son brings good luck.
Maybe not being present during Saturday’s giveaway was what it took for Mills to finally win. Mills, co-owner of Mills Strebeck Autoplex, hasn’t missed a car party in the 10 years he’s lived in Tucumcari.
Most ironic, he said, is the year his $100 ticket purchase finally pays off is the year his main competition, Hamilton Big Country Ford, donates the car.
“We’re going to sell the car and put the money away for my son Alex and the twins, Stewart and Connor’s college education,” said Mills. “Altrusa does a great job for the different causes in town.”
An estimated 300 people gathered at the Tucumcari Elk’s Lodge Saturday night in hopes of riding away in the blue 2003 Mustang. Altrusa met their goal to sell 275 tickets for the party, and though businesses in Quay County are always supportive of the annual event Altrusa president Deb Sloan said they were especially cooperative this year.
“We never know if you’re going to be able to sell all the tickets each year when we have the car party, but this year we had a waiting list for tickets,” Sloan said. “People appreciate our organization and everything we’ve done for the community.”
Marjorie and Blevins McKinney haven’t missed a single car party since Altrusa began the annual event 31 years ago.
They couple won the grand prize car a few years ago, but said they’ll continue to press their luck at winning another car simply because they enjoy supporting Altrusa.
“We’ve been here in Quay County about 55 years, and the car party is something we’ve done every year they’ve had the party,” Marjorie said. “We just like helpin out Altrusa and takin our chances on a winning ticket.”
Sloan understands the economy in Quay County isn’t a steady as it has been in past years, which she said makes her even more appreciative of the loyal residents and businesses owners who continue to enable Altrusa to host another successful car party.
“Altrusa supports a variety of local organizations and projects. Our biggest ongoing project right now is Tucumcari’s outdoor classroom,” Sloan said. “The generous spirit of Quay County that supports us every year makes all the hard work worth it.”