By Leslie Radford: Freedom Newspapers
A cowboy tradition will be carried on next week during the 28th annual Mesa Redondo Cowboy Camp at Ned Houk Park.
Wilma Fulgham is one of the founders for the Mesa Redondo Cowboy Camp, one of several in the Interdenominational Ranchmens Camp Meeting Association in the southwest. She said cowboy camps began more than 100 years ago when preachers held sermons for ranchers and their hired hands.
The Mesa Redondo camp started in Tucumcari in 1977 before coming to Clovis about six years ago, Fulgham said.
“We cook just about all of the food on an open camp fire,” Fulgham said. “It’s just like an old-fashioned tent revival. And it’s not just for cowboys, it’s for everyone of all denominations.”
Fulgham stays involved with the camp meeting because she’s passionate about its message.
“It’s just a great time for people to come together for fellowship like in the old days,” she said.
Clovis’ Bobby Speer said his favorite part is the food. He has attended the Cowboy Camp for the last three years.
“Everybody needs to come out and get some good eatin’,” he said. “All that barbecue and cobbler — it’s good stuff.”
Speer, a Clovis cowboy who works cattle for several ranchers in the area and is an unordained pastor, will lead the worship ceremony Saturday evening during Youth and Family night. Christian music group Exit North will perform that night as well.
Speer said the Cowboy Camp is a “come as you are” event. All the services are free and include a fellowship meeting at 5 p.m. followed by a free supper cooked outdoors and then the evening’s sermon will be under the tent with pastor Rody Chesser of Grady along with special musical guests.
Fulgham said limited camping is available for participants.
“This is the place to get your spiritual battery recharged,” she said. “The Association’s theme is, ‘A Christian Camping Experience for All Ages,’ and that’s true.”
Fulgham said the cowboy camp is an outreach program that appeals to people who will not or may not have the opportunity to go to a traditional church.