Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Fired Up! was great time for all


October 4, 2017

Tucumcari put on a great show for visitors on Saturday.

And visitors we had.

There were the 70-plus bicycle riders from out of town who rode in the second annual Wheels on Fire 100 race or ride, depending on riders’ intentions.

The Tucumcari High School band played the “Star Spangled Banner” before the riders lined up and an Air Methods helicopter led them through town as middle-school students holding flags cheered them on down Route 66.

Seven riders finished the 100-mile route in less than five hours, which was the winning time last year.

Duffers like me were happy enough just to finish the century. My time: about 7 hours, 30 minutes.

State police and Quay County sheriff’s deputies patrolled the route, and state police escorted as many riders as they could from the Tucumcari city limits to the Convention Center to end the ride.

Wheels on Fire is connected with Fired Up!, Saturday’s afternoon-to-evening annual festival that has now completed its seventh year. Fired Up! added an hour on both ends this year, running from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

As usual, Fired Up! had live music, food vendors, exhibitors, and a corner devoted to kids’ activities, including a bounce house and inflatable obstacle course provided through the Ministry of Hope.

Quay County 4-H again ran its rocket table, where kids made paper rockets and launched them by stomping on empty two-quart plastic bottles.

Mesalands Community College brought in a furnace to melt bronze and aluminum that was poured over packed-sand molds into which guests could carve to craft do-it-yourself metal souvenirs.

Tucumcari’s Diana Beck organized another great quilt show for Fired Up!, again attracting lots of entries from out-of-town.

This year, the quilt show included a “story quilt” display at St. Michael’s Mission, east of downtown. Each quilt had a story attached.

“This quilt was made by Omega Briscoe,” Lou Briscoe’s story read. “The material was probably made from feed sacks.”

The Whittington family wrote that their quilt was likely made “some time during the Civil War.”

A family source said she knew “for sure her ancestor picked, seeded and carded the cotton herself to use as the filling for the quilt.”

As usual, the Odd Lab fire dancers from Las Cruces demonstrated flame-fueled choreography.

Gallery, Etc., Quay County’s art association, also kept visitors busy with exhibits and activities.

The Tucumcari Fire Department hung a huge American flag from its ladder truck at the entry to Fired Up! and provided the fireworks to end the event.

Tucumcari police officers provided visible security.

Meanwhile, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association rolled about 60 former military convoy trucks, jeeps, ambulances and even motorcycles through the city and camped for the night in the ALCO parking lot on Historic Route 66.

They arrived just in time to enjoy Fired Up! and rest before heading to Santa Fe on Sunday morning on their way to San Francisco on a month-long trek across the U.S.

It was a great day for Tucumcari residents but an even better one for out-of-towners.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:




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