QCS Senior Writer
Tucumcari MainStreet’s third annual Fired Up, drew an international tourist who came to Tucumcari specifically for the event, said Mark Lake, MainStreet director.
Lake said one of the main goals of the event is to promote the residents pride in the city and bring them together to celebrate. He said the addition of the blacksmith competition and expansion of the fire dancers made this year’s event an even bigger success.
The blacksmith competition is the reason Caroline Spearpoint of London, England, said she changed her vacation plans and made the trip to Tucumcari.
Spearpoint has been touring Route 66 and was in New Mexico when she read about the Fired Up event on a blog. She said she had never seen a blacksmith in action and could not pass up the opportunity to see the event.
“It was awesome, its really impressive how they can work the metal the way they do,” Spearpoint said.
Jim Keith, a Tucumcari resident and world-renowned, award-winning farrier, headed the blacksmith competition.
Keith is a 1993 inductee to the Farrier Hall of Fame in Lexington, Ky., and has won international honors. He most recently led a team with his uncle, Melvin Keith of Logan, and a farrier Chris Madrid of Stanley to world honors in July at the Calgary Stampede where they competed against more than 100 competitors.
Keith said the competition was well received by the residents, the showmanship of the skilled competitors made it exciting for the spectators. He said the contest was by invitation only this year and the participants had to create a front and back horseshoe for a draft horse.
Keith said since the contest was by invitation they decided to have peer judging, where the competitors voted who’s horse shoe would win the $2,100 prize. He said at the end of the event the competitors gathered and elected to call it a draw and split the prize money.
“Electing to split the prize money shows real character,” Keith said. “It showed that they were more concerned with the camaraderie and experience of competing in the event.”
Keith said they have already begun looking at ways to improve the event for next year’s Fired Up. He said many people stood there watching the event for hours and next year they will have seating for the spectators.