Serving the High Plains

Three things about Sen. Bingaman

Clovis Media Inc. Editor David Stevens writes about regional history on his blog at:

Here are some recent posts:

Jeff Bingaman of yesteryear: U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, 68, likely made his last official trip to eastern New Mexico on Aug. 6.

Three things you might not know about the retiring senator who grew up in Silver City:

  • He first voted in a presidential election in 1968. opting for Democrat Hubert Humphrey over Richard Nixon.
  • An honor student at Silver City High School, he was president of the New Mexico Student Council Association in 1961. The Albuquerque Tribune reported he hoped to "study law and eventually enter politics."
  • H.L Kaufman of Fort Sumner and Bingaman were among winners of a Kennecott Copper Corp., contest in 1957. The winners correctly guessed the total weight of copper that could be extracted from ore specimens at fairs across the state. About 7,000 fair visitors participated, but only four guessed correctly. They each won a set of copper cookware, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Hometown trivia: Tucumcari's newspapers date to 1902 and number at least 14. But the Quay County Sun didn't launch its weekly product until Nov. 2, 1975. That's when Santa Rosa's Ron Doyle began publishing competition for the Tucumcari Daily News, which started in 1921.

Remembering Alice Faye Kent Hoppes: She was longtime president of the NAACP-Albuquerque Branch and one of New Mexico's more active civil rights leaders.

Born in Tucumcari on May 20, 1939, she moved to Albuquerque with her family in 1967.

On this date:

Illustration by Gary Williamson

• Aug. 12, 1957: Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" made its debut on Billboard magazine's

top 40, ultimately reaching No. 1. It's one of three No. 1 singles produced by Norman Petty Recording Studio in Clovis.

  • Aug. 12, 1917: Heavy rains prevented train travel between Adrian and Vega, but Tucumcari may have been hit hardest of all — 5.8 inches of rain in two hours, according to Quay County's Obar Progress newspaper. The newspaper, which served what's now a ghost town near the Texas-New Mexico line, reported "the whole country is pretty well soaked."
  • Aug. 10, 1959: Actors and technicians arrived in Tucumcari for six weeks of filming the "Rawhide" television series. Stars included Clint Eastwood and Sheb Wooley. The series aired from 1959 to 1966.
  • Aug. 10, 1942: Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing, married for the fifth, and last, time in Clovis. Wills honeymooned with Betty Anderson at Wills' farm near Muleshoe, according to "Those Who Made the Music," by Don McAlavy.
  • Aug. 4, 1994: Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the biggest name in Tejano music, sang at Clovis' Boot Hill saloon. More than 800 people saw her perform in black jeans and a red, sequined blouse. Less than eight months later, she was shot to death by the president of her fan club. Billboard magazine estimated Selena sold more than 18 million albums in the 1990s.
  • Aug. 3, 1951: The Herb Baker store in Ranchvale was robbed while its owner attended a church revival service about a block away. Officials reported the thief unlatched a screen at the back of the store, rang up the 2 cents sign on the cash register and walked out the front door with $26. About $20 in change was left behind.
  • Aug. 1, 1967: A Tucumcari man was listed in critical condition after being struck by lightning while hoeing on a Grady farm. Camilio Sandoval, 60, died from his injuries about two weeks later.

David Stevens can be contacted at:

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