By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
Several hundred fans came out on Thursday to meet their favorite Chicago Bear, Brian Urlacher, in Tucumcari.
They came from neighboring Guadalupe County and east from Amarillo, Texas, for the chance to shake hands, to get an autograph and to have their picture taken with linebacker No. 54.
“I came all the way from Santa Rosa,” said 10-year-old Nathan Sanchez. “I am a Bears fan and it was cool to see him.”
Twelve-year-old Andrew Albrach of Amarillo was there, too. He said, “He plays for my favorite team.”
An older Bears fan, Johnny Anaya, who is a 1995 Tucumcari High School graduate, recalled his gridiron days when he was a senior Rattler and Urlacher was a junior with the Wildcats of Lovington High School.
“He was bad back then,” said Anaya, who added that he’s been a Bears fan since he was seven years old.
“It’s great that someone like Brian from New Mexico is playing in the NFL and it’s just that much better since he went to the Bears,” Anaya said. Anaya was among the first dozen lined up at the dealership’s front door for autographs.
This was Urlacher’s first visit to Brian Urlacher Cross Country Auto Sale on South Lake Street. And the pace was fast from the moment of his arrival. Urlacher, who came in the dealership’s service entrance, met with mechanics and began signing autographs in a service bay.
Accompanied by Randy Eastberg, president of Brian Urlacher Cross Country Auto Sales, and Brice Karger, sports agent, Urlacher was ushered inside where he was greeted by the Tucumcari dealership’s staff.
The Rattlers varsity cheerleaders gave him a welcome.
“He’s a good role model for the kids,” said Dawn Dilbrey, cheerleading coach.
Then it was time for more autographs and posing with fans. They brought pictures, helmets and other memorabilia and collectibles. Some had waited in line for more than two hours outside the dealership to meet the Super Bowl player.
Urlacher, who gave hundreds of items his signature swirl, said, with a smile: “It is a lot easier being a football player than a business owner.”
Urlacher has many interests, including the Brian Urlacher summer football camp in Albuquerque, which is in its seventh year. But on July 27, it will be back to the Bears, as fall training camp begins.
Urlacher’s visit lets people know that he is part of this dealership and a part of the business community in Tucumcari, said John Everhart, manager of Tucumcari’s Cross Country dealership.
And in the future, “We will be looking to relocate the business to a location along I-40 that is more convenient for our customers and future GM buyers,” said Everhart.
“I am on the phone every week with Brian letting him know how business is going,” said Everhart. “Hopefully, this lets people know that we are here to stay and have a lot of plans for this dealership.”