Despite fewer teams, competitive spirit still strong

By Lynn Moncus

Recently, some of us were talking about the basketball teams of the past and the great fun we had during the County and District Tournaments in the days when we had many teams in our Quay County.

In order to fill in some of the blank spaces in my mind, I had to call C.L Bowe to get the names of a few of the team mascots and to do just a little visiting about the rain we have enjoyed during the last few days. In order to be sure I was on the right track, he listed all the high school teams in the county and the team names: Tucumcari Rattlers, Endee Braves, Porter Dragons, San Jon Coyotes, Nara Visa Panthers, Logan Longhorns, House Cowboys, Forrest Pirates, Wheatland Harvesters, McAlister Eagles, and Quay Broncos.

After looking at that list, I could see simply by the name of the mascot why the Tucumcari Rattlers were always in danger of being put out of business by other county teams because rattlers are not the favorite reptiles in the area. As they came into being in our early history, they were called the Rattlesnakes but later changed their name to Rattlers and remained in danger by being threatened by numerous animals and super heroes.

During the Forrest Reunion on July 5, many former Forrest Pirates were present and were still talking about important basketball games, mentioning that they were often among the top teams in the county, district, and state during the years in which no regions existed. They just took on both large and small schools and made their marks in basketball history. Some of them even looked in my direction while talking about those Pirates because they knew I had been a Rattler fan for many years. Of course, they also knew I was once a big fan of the House Cowboys and was certainly for the Forrest Pirates during the 1955-56 school year when I taught at Forrest.

As some of us visited over coffee about our county basketball history, we recalled the major competition among our teams. We recalled a big flap when a battle broke out at a Tucumcari-Wheatland game, and the game had to be called off while the referees were escorted safely out of town. We could also recall the battles between the Forrest Pirates and the Rattlers as those were always hard fought games. Of course, any games among county teams were hard fought because each school took great pride in having outstanding basketball teams. Ordinarily, the students were better sports than were some of the adults who would see if they could spark just a few distractions in order to make the games more exciting. Some communities enjoyed “planting” one or two of their fans in the middle of the home team crowd so they could add just a little more color to the games. I’m sure some of us could name a few names and could still cause a few upsets as that competitive spirit will exist despite the absence of the teams these days.

We may no longer have many teams within our county, but we will have that competitive spirit as long as those of us who remember when still exist. We could still start a few battles by making the wrong remarks at the wrong time, but most of us have now reached the stage of being able to laugh at some of the battles of the past and are surely pleased that we have so many wonderful memories of other times.