Horses ride again at local lounge

William Thompson

Around 50 locals and tourists watched horses ride through the interior of Trails West Lounge on East Tucumcari Boulevard Thursday evening as part of the kickoff of the Route 66 Festival this weekend.

The third annual ‘Trail Ride’ Thursday evening was part of an attempt to revive an old New Mexico tradition in which bar patrons ride horses up to the bar and order a beer. Linda Walker of Tucumcari said she thinks the revival of the tradition has taken hold. “I think this tradition is going to last,” said Walker. “People aren’t used to seeing horses inside a bar. You never know what’s going to happen with a horse inside here. In some ways it’s even a little more dangerous than riding a horse around cattle.” Ryan Hendrickson, 12, said the trail ride was the first he had ever heard of horses riding through a lounge. “I thought it was kind of cool,” said Hendrickson. “I got to pet one of the horses as it walked inside.”

Bill Hoag traveled with his fiancee from Oklahoma City to attend this weekend’s festivities and said the trail ride was a treat. “My fiancee and I really liked it,” he said. “We both thought it was very unusual.” Hoag said he is looking forward to this weekend’s events. “We read about the festival in Route 66 magazine. We are going to the dinner show to see Ruby Ann Boxcar and I am really looking forward to the car show,” said Hoag. “I own two Model “A” Fords.”

Kathy Kraft, of Tucumcari, was one of the riders Thursday evening. She said she had a quick trip astride a horse named “Popcorn.” “The horse wanted to get in and out of the lounge as quickly as possible, so it was a fast ride,” said Kraft. “I wasn’t paying attention and I bumped my head on a wooden beam.” Kraft said she will be attending the Wang Dang Doodle Parade. “I’ll be with friends and family, probably in the Lowe’s parking lot to watch the parade,’ she said. “I’m also going to the Kiwanis Ranch Rodeo.”

Tom and Leslie Bolton traveled from Tonopah, Ariz. for the weekend. Tom Bolton said he heard about this weekend’s events from a family member who resides in Tucumcari.
“I thought it was pretty wild seeing them trying to get those horses into the bar,” said Bolton. “Next year they might want to consider using Shetland ponies instead,” Leslie Bolton said she is beginning to catch the Route 66 spirit.“ I remember my grandmother telling me how she drove from Ohio to California on Route 66 to visit my grandfather who was in the service,” said Bolton. “There is a lot of history to this road.”