Serving the High Plains

Longhorns on 66 won't be part of Rawhide Days

Significant changes are in store for this weekend’s Tucumcari Rawhide Days, and the most visible will be the lack of Texas Longhorns herded down Route 66 during the annual parade.

The Tucumcari Historical Museum took over the organization of the festival, which pays tribute to CBS-TV’s “Rawhide” of the late 1950s and early 1960s that starred Tucumcari native Paul Brinegar and a young Clint Eastwood. Some footage for “Rawhide” also was shot in rural Tucumcari.

The festival went on a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic before resuming last year. Though crowds in 2022 were similar to previous festivals, organizer Karen Alarcon stepped down from her role, throwing the event’s future into uncertainty.

“Rawhide was about to shut down,” explained museum board president Alan Daugherty on why it took on the festival. “There were no other organizations willing to take it up. It would have been a shame for it to die out.”

Daugherty said they decided to nix bringing Longhorns from Oklahoma for the Rawhide parade because of the expense.

Last year, the festival requested $13,000 from the city’s lodgers tax advisory board to bring back the cattle.

The cost of doing that was “the main concern,” Daugherty said, so they decided against it. A few Longhorns, however, will be stationed at the museum as a nod to that tradition.

Much of the festival will be centered around the museum and the Quay County Fairgrounds.

The parade, which will run at 9 a.m. Saturday from Wailes Park on Route 66 and north on Adams Street to near the Wells Fargo Bank and the museum, will include livestock and mechanized vehicle entries. Daugherty said Thursday about 30 people already have expressed interest.

Daugherty said longtime museum board member Joy Young, plus former Rawhide Days organizers T.J. Riddle and Alarcon, will be grand marshals of the parade.

A new wrinkle is a three-day gun show at the fairgrounds. Daugherty said the promoter told him he’s almost filled his allotment of dealers.

The gun show also is one of the few events during Rawhide Days that requires paid admission. The rest of the events are free except for dances Friday and Saturday nights at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Another addition is a 5- or 10-kilometer footrace on Saturday morning from Breen Ranch in north rural Tucumcari down North Rock Island Street, with the finish line near George Molinas Park.

This year’s Rawhide Days also will feature more livestock events throughout the weekend, including roping, mutton busting, junior ranch rodeo and barrel racing.

The Friday schedule includes these events:

— 10 a.m.: Opening ceremonies with a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast at the museum;

— 11 a.m.: Stickhorse posses being outfitted at the museum;

— 11 to 2 p.m.: Art and photo entries accepted;

— 4 to 8 p.m.: Gun show at the fairgrounds;

— 7 p.m.: Breakaway calf roping at the fairgrounds;

— 9 p.m.: Dance with Bakersfield Twang at the Tucumcari Civic Center.

The Saturday events:

— 7 a.m.: Rock Island Line 5K and 10K run;

— 9 a.m.: Parade from Wailes Park to near the museum;

— 9 to 5 p.m.: Gun show at the fairgrounds;

— 9 to 4 p.m.: Arts and crafts fair, car show, food trucks and live entertainment;

— 2 to 6 p.m.: Junior Ranch Rodeo and rodeo queen crowded at the fairgrounds;

— 4 p.m.: Junior livestock jackpot show;

— 5 p.m.: Stickhorse races and mutton busting;

— 7 p.m.: Team roping jackpot;

— 8 p.m.: Dance with Jonathan Chaves y Al Cielo at the convention center.

The Sunday events:

— 8 a.m.: Cowboy church with live music;

— 10 to 4 p.m.: Gun show at the fairgrounds;

— 11 a.m.: Barrel racing;

— 2 p.m.: Jackpot roping and trail ride.

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