Don Chalmers remains confident Tucumcari will one day be home to a racetrack and casino.
In the meantime, he is encouraging area residents to trumpet the history of Route 66 and other treasures the community has to offer its visitors.
About 300 residents and business owners heard Chalmers speak at the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Friday at the Tucumcari Convention Center.
Many left inspired by the words of the Albuquerque businessman, who has played an active role in efforts to bring a racino to town.
"He was really positive about Tucumcari and what it has to offer the rest of the state," said John Dugger, a local business owner.
Warren Frost, director of the Quay County Gaming Association, said Chalmers had encouraging words about the future of Tucumcari and its historic resources, including the Tucumcari Train Depot and the Mother Road.
"(He) is confident we will get the racetrack, though he urges people not to sit back and wait on that," Frost said. "He wants people to know he is in this for good."
Tucumcari was one of three communities the New Mexico Racing Commission seriously considered for a license in 2008. The bid went to Raton, but organizers there have had numerous startup problems. Frost, Chalmers and others have been aggressive in reminding state officials Tucumcari is still interested and capable of bringing the sport to the east side of New Mexico.
An overwhelming majority of the community and those in neighboring counties were vocal in their support for the plan in 2008, and that enthusiasm remains today, officials have said.
"The studies have shown that Tucumcari will draw in more out-of-state revenue than any other proposed location in New Mexico," Quay County Commissioner Franklin McCasland said four years ago. Tucumcari would target the Texas Panhandle for racino customers, specifically Amarillo, which is a 90-minute drive.
While the courts are now deciding the future of the proposed Raton racetrack, Chalmers' visit reminded Tucumcari there is still plenty of reason for optimism in Quay County's future.
Yvonne Braziel, co-owner of Del's Restaurant, which catered the banquet, said she was encouraged by Chalmer's speech.
"He thinks Tucumcari has a lot of possibilities," she said. "Coming from an outsider, that means a lot."