By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Whether people want to play poker riding a motorcycle or watch competitors carry 50-pound peanut bags and hurdle obstacles, the 2005 Heritage Days in Portales will offer many activities for families to enjoy.
The 2005 Annual Heritage Days will kick off with the Pioneer of the Year reception on June 17 and many of the events will take place on June 18.
Many volunteers and vendors started preparing for Heritage Days, months in advance. Many of the activities people enjoyed during the 2004 Heritage Days will again take place this year. However, there are also new additions to this year’s Heritage Days for the families to enjoy.
“I was surprised at how well-prepared everybody was,” Sharon King, chamber manager, said about the volunteers, vendors and chamber staff. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
This will be the first major event for King, who replaced Pat Willis as manager in late May.
Those in attendance will be able to enjoy the Heritage Days Parade winding down Second Street from the Eastern New Mexico University to the city park. The parade begins at 10 a.m. They will be able to watch the classic car show at 9 a.m. at the city park. Registration for the car show is at 8 a.m. at the city park or people can pre-register at the chamber of commerce.
Once again this year, explorers will be combing the Portales community as part of the GeoCache event. Doug Lynch will be coordinating the GeoCaching event again this year, but with a new twist.
In GeoCaching, individuals and organizations hide items (otherwise known as 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. The cache has a wide variety of rewards. During Heritage Days, participants print out the coordinates and with their GPS go out through Portales in search of the caches.
Teams from Texas, New Mexico, California and New York participated in the event last year.
Other returning events are the motorcycle competitions and motorcycle poker run. The Motorcycle Poker Run starts at the city park and each contestant rides their motorcycles to places around Roosevelt and Curry County for a card. They will get a poker card before they leave Portales and when they return to Portales. There will be prizes for the highest and lowest hand and registration fee is $10 per hand.
“I was very impressed with the volunteers,” Amie Franz of the Roosevelt County Chamber said. “They took care of the sponsorship for their events and purchased trophies.”
The Rough Rider Relay Challenge will take place at the Portales Junior High football field. The event starts at 2 p.m. In the first leg of the race, male contestants must carry a 50-pound bag of peanuts while female contestants must carry a 25-pound bag of peanuts.
The competitors have to place the bag on a square then run to the second obstacle of the race and shoot paint balls to a target. Each contestant will get five shots to hit the mark and once the mark is hit they can go to the next leg of the race.
The final leg requires they pick up a pint of milk and drink it while eating a peanut-butter sandwich. Timers will keep each contestant’s time.
The grand prize for the first place-winner is $500, with $300 for second place and $100 for third place. Franz said the entry fee is $5 for each participant, compared to $20 last year.
There will be five nominees for the 2005 Pioneer of the Year Award. Dewey Langston won the 2004 Pioneer of the Year Award for the work he has done to help the community, Eastern New Mexico University and the United States Army during World War II.
New events for this year’s Heritage Days include the Pet Parade at the city park and the fiddler competition. There will be buckles and cash prizes for the winners of the fiddler competition. There are two age groups. Participants can register in the 10-and-under group for $5 or the 11-and-over group for $10.
There will also be many vendors and booths inside the Memorial Building and outside at the city park. Chamber officials are also selling T-shirts which have designs capturing the essence of Portales to sell for $12 each. The designs were drawn by Donna Hyatt Messick of Freedom Printing and the T-shirts, which are sizes small to XXXL, can be purchased from the chamber or from the chamber booth at Heritage Days.
Pre-registrations for the events can be done at the chamber of commerce or for more information people can call 356-8541.
Heritage Days Schedule of Events
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pioneer Reception Memorial Building
6:30 p.m. Celebration of Christian Music City Park
7:30 a.m. Mainstreet Fun Run Yam Theatre
8 a.m. Car Show Registration City Park
9 a.m. Car Show City Park
9:30 a.m. Motorcycle Poker Run City Park
10 a.m. Parade — begins at South Avenue O and ends at City Park
10 a.m. Food and Craft Booths City Park
11 a.m. GeoCache Event County Fairgrounds
Noon Pet Parade City Park
Noon Fiddler’s Contest City Park
Noon Tractor Games City Park
1:30 p.m. Motorcycle Competitions City Park
2 p.m. Rough Rider Relay Challenge Junior High football field
6:30 p.m. Celebration of Christian Music City Park
For information, contact the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce at 356-8541.