Holiday draws 37,000 to Ute Lake


Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

Despite visitation numbers at Ute Lake State Park being down compared to last year for the Fourth of July weekend, Logan Ute Lake Chamber officials were excited about the turnout.

It was successful weekend for the community and several area business owners even felt it was a record weekend for them, said chamber president T.J. Smith, explaining that the Fourth of July festivities went over well, with high attendance by both locals and visitors. He said the chamber served nearly 900 people at its free barbecue and bean feed Saturday at the state park.

“We are excited that so many people came to our community to spend their holiday,” Smith said. “It brought in a lot of revenue to the community and benefited everyone with their stay.”

The visitations totals for Ute Lake State Park for the entire Fourth of July weekend was 37,085, which is less than the 39,416 visitors recorded in 2014, said Beth Wojahn, state parks spokesperson.

Wojahn said the totals at Ute Lake do not include visitations at Mine Canyon, South Side or Rogers campground. She said another reason the number may have been less is because of several state parks having water this holiday weekend, attracting visitors who otherwise might have come to Ute Lake for the Fourth of July festivities.

Wojahan said visitation numbers were up for both Elephant Butte and Eagle Nest state parks this year. She said Eagle Nest even had a fireworks display this year that added to their numbers.

The Logan Chamber held its annual street dance, featuring live music with Danny Cadra.

Smith said the street dance did well, although attendance did drop later in the evening when a cold north wind moved through the area. He said most attendees apparently had dressed for a warm summer night and the colder conditions prompted them to leave.

“The annual Fourth of July Parade was a huge success this year with six categories for people to enter and it is still being confirmed but this may have been the largest parade to date,” said Judy Casados, parade co-coordinator.

Casados said the parade took 45 minutes to run from the first car to the last car. She said there were several entries in multiple categories that gave those attending a fun show.

At the chamber’s free barbecue and been feed, Matt Guillen of Tucumcari was declared winner of the annual Fourth of July Raffle. Guillen had to choose either $10,000, an all-terrain vehicle, jet ski or a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

“I took the money,” Guillen said. “The ticket was a joint purchase with my parents, so we will split the money.”

Guillen said he was shocked when they called out his phone number. He said they had mispronounced his last name, so he and his wife, Nubia, were unaware they had won.

“We are going to use our half to pay bills,” said Nubia.  “We had already discussed earlier in the day if we, by some chance, won it would be used for bills.”

For Tucumcari police, the weekend was filled with calls for service, according to the Central Dispatch call logs.

There was an average number of calls for the City of Tucumcari with the usual increase in reports of fireworks, said Police Chief Jason Braziel.

Braziel said that there was only one DUI arrest during the holiday in the city and a total of eight people being booked into the Quay County Detention Center on various charges.

Totals for New Mexico State Police activity in Quay County were not immediately available.

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