Rattlers come home: Tucumcari High School reunion draws 500 alumni

Thomas Garcia

Rattler Reunion event coordinator Norma Jean Crellin was pleasantly surprised at the number of attendees at this year’s Rattler Reunion.

“I thought the numbers were going to be down a lot due to the economy,” Crellin said.

Crellin said more than 500 Tucumcari High School graduates attended this weekend’s annual reunion.

“It was a very pleasant surprise to see all those Rattlers back home,” Crellin said. “It’s time to start planning for next year.”

Rick Rumbaugh of El Paso, Texas, a member of the Class of 1968, said he was hoping to see classmate David Curry.

“David was not at the reunion,” Rumbaugh said. “There were not that many folks from the class of 1968 at the reunion.

“I have been back to Tucumcari several times over the years,” Rumbaugh said. “This is the first time my wife, Dove, and I attend the reunion.”

Rumbaugh said he did meet a few classmates and enjoyed spending time with them.

“It was a well-organized event,” Rumbaugh said. “The banquet was my favorite part. It was well worth the trip and I look forward to attending the reunion next year.

The reunion events included the parade of classes, which featured Rattlers new and old and State Rep. Dennis Roch and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

As a tribute and a fundraiser for a deceased classmate, the members of the 1991 basketball team played the 2011 state runner-up Rattlers.

“This event is to raise money in honor of Oliver, a foreign exchange student who was killed in an auto accident,” said Donnie Campbell, a member of the 1991 team.

“This was a great event, they certainly live up to the hype,” said Campbell after the game. “I enjoyed this, ten years, makes a difference when you play but it was fun.”

The game brought in $420 in donations.

“This was fun, they can still play,” said Dalton Wood, a 2011 graduate. “We kind of thought they would be done after the first period, though they kept up with us the whole way through.”

Wood said he enjoyed the chance to play the elder Rattler basketball team and looks forward to one day returning and playing in a similar game himself.