All Fired Up!


By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

The crowning of local legend royalty, molten artwork and fire dancers drew more than 2,000 to downtown Tucumcari over the weekend.

Porfy Martinez and Abigail Lucero were crowned as Prince Tocom and Princess Cari on Saturday at the sixth annual Fired Up!

The crowning of young royalty was one of the main events for the weekend festivities .

Martinez, son of Porfy and Jessica Martinez, and Lucero, Scotty and Amber Lucero were among 10 youth that competed in the contest.

“We had another great year with many wonderful contestants,” said Christine Montano, event coordinator.

Montano said each of the contestants had their own unique charm on the stage. She said the public’s response to the event was lower than last year but overall it was a successful event.

Last year’s winners, Frankie Joe Montano, son of Gary and Debbie Montano; and Karina Banuelos, daughter of Sandy L. Banuelos and Mondo Banuelos, crowned this year’s winners.

“It is so great to see a continued interest by the children in a contest that celebrates our town’s history,” Christine Montano said.

Making its debut this year was the molten metal pour conducted by the faculty and students of Mesalands Community College’s fine arts program.

“This was a lot of fun; it gave us a chance to try something we have not done before,” said faculty member D’Jean Jawrunner.

Jawrunner said the pour was such a success, several people inquired about the programs offered at Mesalands.

Jawrunner said due to the amount of time they had the students and faculty constructed a furnace out of a steel trash can. She said the furnace is easier for them to move and operate at a remote location off campus.

The metal selected for the pour was aluminum because it has a lower melting heat than iron, said Joel Kiser, a fine arts faculty member.

Kiser said the aluminum was poured into sand tiles that were made and designed by the students of the dual enrollment program at Mesalands. He said the tiles took two hours to cool,  giving the crowd the opportunity to see the pour and the reveal.

“It’s exciting to think of the possibilities of the mobile furnace,” Jawrunner said. “We could take the furnace to area high schools to demonstrate our program.”

The event culminated with the performance by the fire dancers of Odd-Lab.

“We love this event,” said CJ Sandoval, Odd-Lab performer.

Sandoval said Fired Up! was one the first events the company performed at during its first years of operation. He said the event and the residents of Tucumcari have done so much for their careers.

“All of us at Odd-Lab look forward to returning to Tucumcari,” Sandoval said.

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