Thomas Garcia: Tired in the wake of Rockabilly

Thomas Garcia

By Thomas Garcia

QCS Columnist

Another Rockabilly on the Route has come and gone, leaving in its wake a boom in the local economy, excitement about next year’s event and one tired reporter.

I know it’s not the same genre, but I think I have an answer for Daryle Singletary when he asks, “Too much fun what’s that mean?” in his country music single.

I spent the weekend attending the events, meeting new people, seeing familiar faces and even spending quality time with friends.

Of course the entire time I was out I had the trusty camera, notepad and pen ready to record the events’ highlights and quirks.

After all, it’s not every day I see vintage cars cruising Route 66, classy pinup girls strolling the streets or a tiny Elvis impersonator.

Needless to say, there was no shortage of action, fun or, in my case, work to be done at this year’s Rockabilly on the Route.

The three days of coverage took a toll on me. Yes, I am aware there are four days but I’m only human.

I must admit that covering this event alone was a taxing and trying ordeal, which I am partially glad is over and sad to see end.

In trying to cover the event to the best of my ability, I tried to spend time at each event and was constantly on the move from event to event.

There were some events I could not get to because of conflicting times. Although at each event I attended, there was always a fair amount of locals and visitors present.

While attending the Pop-up Drive-in movie at the Roadrunner Lodge, I was approached by tourists who were walking through Tucumcari taking pictures of the neon lights wondering what was going on in town.

I explained to them about the Rockabilly on the Route and the many events occurring at different venues across town.

I did not catch their names, but an hour later I saw the same couple while on my way to the Rumble on the Route I at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Much to my delight, I saw them that night dancing to one of the bands at the concert.

One of my favorite things about being a reporter is the chance to meet new people, get their story and find out what brings them to our town.

I had no shortage of opportunities to do all of that this weekend. Believe me, I will be looking for those familiar faces next year.

Most people would consider working the bulk of the weekend to be a real drag. I am not going to lie: It was a lot of work.

Some of you might say, “But Thomas, you got to go to all the events and do so many fun things.” Well, you would be right, but at the same time, I didn’t get to linger at any one event like I would have liked.

There were many vendors I wish I could have spent more time with, looking at their products. I still want that safari hat my friend Clay wore, or that felt riding cap with cat ears that was sold just as I saw it on the rack.

There were two crates of LP records that I would have loved to look through, searching for some Frank Sinatra or B.B. King.

I also wanted to bowl, something I enjoy doing from time to time and even more so when I’m at a bowling alley for something other than bowling.

I had a great time covering this year’s Rockabilly on the Route, even if it was a lot of work. I also know it was a lot of work for the people who were making things happen behind the scenes.

Ungie Davila and Simon Cantlon were at every event. The co-organizers were hustling around to address problems, answer questions and to greet and speak with people wanting to meet them.

There was also a handful of supporting cast members who worked with Davila and Cantlon to make everything happen. I did not get all of your names, but I saw you doing what was necessary to make sure people were having a good time.

I slept in when Sunday rolled around, so much so that my two cats — Brownie and Toby — began wondering if I were ever going to fill their food bowls. The cats took turns putting their face against mine and purring to encourage me to wake up.

After filling their food bowl, I sat down and looked out the door and thought: “That was too much fun, I can’t wait till next year.”

Maybe if I play my vacation cards right, I’ll be there as an event attendee — and not for coverage.

Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at

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