By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS
Quay County Manager Terry Turner said he was never a rodeo star. Rather, he said he excelled at football, enough to earn him a scholarship through college. But he said that doesn’t stop him from knowing the importance of rodeo to New Mexico.
It’s so important, in fact, he just sent out a proposal on behalf of the county asking the state for nearly $25,000 for rodeo arena improvements.
“That amount has to be matched by the county,” Turner explained, “which would stretch our budget.” But it would also rope in about $50,000 to jazz up the Mesalands Rodeo Arena.
A total of $400,000 is available from the state government for local rodeo improvements, thanks to a comprehensive plan outlined by Gov. Bill Richardson designed to increase support for the sport across New Mexico, according to his office.
The capital funds will go towards bringing together the state’s most talented rodeo competitors — from 4-H to professional — to represent New Mexico on a national level, Richardson’s office said.
In Quay County, Turner said the much needed improvements included materials for repairs, equipment to enhance the grounds and a freezer to create a working concession stand.
Specifically, some of the materials would be used to create return alleys for the arena. Turner said the way it’s set up now, rodeo animals have to be walked back through the middle of the arena, wasting precious time.
The ground enhancements would include a Rainmaker sprinkler system and a land conditioner to soften and better prepare the grounds.
Finally, a commercial freezer would replace the haphazard concession system currently in place. “The concession stand is too far away,” Turner said, “all we have now is whatever (coolers) people can donate.”
Turner refuses to take a singular bow for the comprehensive proposal sent out from his office. He said he brainstormed with Will Cantrell, Brad Bryant, Pete Walden, Danny Estrada, Robert Lopez and Don Shook, the latter of whom Turner said has been a rodeo aficionado for many years.
“I took the info and the numbers they gave me,” Turner said. “Don’t give me the credit.”
But one can credit Turner for helping to manage a rodeo of his own for eight years when he worked as a Parks and Recreation director for the Hickory Apache rodeo arena, another reason he said he knows of the wide-reaching lasso of the rodeo.
“I also told them (Richardson’s office) how many people use our arena,” Turner said, like the 4-H clubs, the Chamber of Commerce, New Mexico Ranch Horse Association of America, just to name a few. Of course, there are also the Mesalands Community College rodeo students, who Turner said include youth from as far away as Alaska.
“In Quay County the rodeo is not only for the youth, but also for the seniors who come to enjoy the show,” Turner said.
No timeline was given as to when Quay County would receive a reply from Richardson’s office; the invitation for proposals, which went out to counties across the state, had a due date of Oct. 21.
By the numbers:
Quay County rodeo arena proposed improvements:
$6,104 – Materials: pipes, rods, metal plates, concrete, etc.
$5,000 – Rainmaker sprinkler system
$9,800 – Kaiser land conditioner
$3,500 – Commercial freezer
$24,404 – Total