Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Fired Up! delivers entertainment


October 4, 2017

Thomas Garcia

The 2017 Princess Cari, Valerie Ortega, front left, and Prince Tocom, Jason Fought, right front, pose for pictures Saturday at Fired Up! in Tucumcari.

More than 1,700 people filled the streets of downtown Tucumcari Saturday to enjoy live music, molten artwork, the crowning of local legend royalty and the entrancing movements of fire dancers.

"Tucumcari MainStreet's seventh annual Fired Up!, was a success featuring crowd favorites as well as new attractions," said Gail Houser, Tucumcari MainStreet's executive director.

Houser said with the cooperation of the weather, events of this year's Fired Up! offered locals, visitors a variety of entertainment, recreation and even exercise.

The weekend festivities kicked off Saturday morning with the annual Wheels on Fire bicycle race. A host of entries from across the country and around the corner participated in the 100-mile event. Local residents set up rehydration stations along to the course to cheer on the riders while offering water, electrolyte supplements and fruit.

"I wanted to support the riders as they competed, pushed themselves to complete the race," said Tara Jimenez, Tucumcari resident.

Jimenez said she could not take part in this year's race due to her bicycle being stolen. She said the next choice was obvious, get out and show her support.

"Maybe next year I'll give it a go," Jimenez said.

The streets of downtown Tucumcari were lined with numerous vendors and duel stages gave musical acts including live mariachi and the Tucumcari Elementary's ORFF Ensemble venues to entertain the crowd.

"The kids have put a lot of time into practicing for live performances," said Andrew Kesten, music/band director.

Along with musical performances, local youth were in the spotlight as they competed for a chance to be the next Prince Tocom and Princess Cari.

"Each year the contestants light up the stage with their own unique charms," said Christine Montano, event coordinator.

Montano said this year their were nine Princess Cari and five Prince Tocum contestants. She said the judges scored each contestant on their outfit, presentation and response to questions.

This year's Prince Tocum was Jason Fought, son of Laura Fought, Valerie Ortega, daughter of Marshall and Niki Ortega was crowned as Princess Cari.

The faculty, students of Mesalands Community College's fine arts program gave a demonstration of a molten metal pour.

"The aluminum pour was well received by the public for a second year," said faculty member D'Jean Jawrunner.

Jawrunner said students had premade sand molds ready for the pour while several interested individuals took time to create a design there at the event.

Capping the performances were the fire dancers of the El Paso Texas based Odd-Lab.

The performers put on two shows featuring routines of agility that incorporated an element of fire.

"We love coming to Tucumcari, this year we added new elements to our routines as well as performers and some audience participation," said Gina Armendariz, Odd-Lab performer.


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