By Tony Parra
The intrigue of Heritage Days are attracting people from across the United States to Portales with events such as GeoCaching, the Portales High All-Class Reunion, the Pioneer Reception and the Rough Rider Relay Challenge.
GeoCaching is catching on across the United States, according to Doug Lynch, the GeoCaching coordinator for Heritage Days.
“Once you start doing it, you get hooked,” Lynch said. “It’s a lot of fun. There are over 100 caches within a 100-mile radius of Portales. There are teams from Texas, New Mexico, California and even one team from New York, which will participate.”
In GeoCaching, individuals and organizations hide items (a.k.a. caches) across the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. Global Positioning System (GPS) users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards.
“We frown on digging,” Lynch said about hidding the caches. “The caches are hidden in urban areas, such as downtown Portales. GeoCaching people are great people. The whole thing works on trust.”
Participants can type in the coordinates of a cache and the GPS will tell them how many feet away the cache is from them and in what direction. Teams will meet in the Do Drop In on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will return in the afternoon, by 3:30 p.m. to see which teams have the most findings and to give out prizes.
There is even a national GeoCaching event in which over 4,000 Jeep 4X4 travel bugs are hidden across the United States. Travel Bugs are hidden in containers and must make it to a destination. People must take travel bugs out of the containers and take them to different places in the United States.
People can also log in the date they found it and a short statement in a mini-notepad inside the container. Jeep will be giving away a 2004 Wrangler Unlimited, a 2005 Liberty Sport and a 2005 Grand Cherokee Laredo in a drawing after GeoCaching contestants follow all the rules.
Those are a few of the activities going on this weekend for Heritage days, which will be kicked off with the Pioneer Reception in the Memorial Building at 5 p.m. on Friday.
The Rough Rider Relay Challenge will take place in the baseball field at the city park on Saturday at 2 p.m. In the first leg of the race, from homeplate to first base, male contestants must carry a 50-pound bag of peanuts while female contestants must carry a 25-pound bag of peanuts.
According to event coordinators, contestants must place the bag on a square next to first base, then run to the second base area and shoot paint balls to a target. Each contestant will get five shots to hit the mark. Once the mark is hit they can go to the next leg of the race.
The next leg requires they pick up a pint of milk in left field and run to homeplate with it. A table will be set up with peanut butter sandwiches. Each contestant must eat a sandwich and drink the entire pint of milk to complete the course. Timers will keep each contestant’s time.
Roosevelt County Chamber general manager, Pat Willis, said the grand prize for the first place-winner is $500, with $250 for second place and $100 for third place.
Willis said there has been a good response from vendors, who will be at the event. She said there are 30 vendors in the auditorium and 30 vendors outside.
The Motorcycle Poker Run will start at the city park. Each contestant will ride their bikes to Elida, Dora and Floyd for a poker card. They will get a poker card before they leave Portales and when they return to Portales.
Contestants will each have a poker hand after their journeys and the highest poker hand wins a prize.