Expo finishes under sunny sky

By Mickey Winfield, Freedom New Mexico

From peanuts to plows and bovines to barbecue, the 16th annual Ag Expo came to a close at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds on a sunny and fair Wednesday afternoon.
With Portales� high temperature in the mid-to-high 60s, one might expect an increase in attendance, but Sharon King Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce executive director said attendance was actually significantly lower than last year.
According to King, this year�s expo brought nearly 3,000 attendees � compared to more than 4,000 last year.
�It was gorgeous weather, but I�m told that�s probably why it was low,� King said. �Whenever there�s such good weather, (people) go out and work instead of coming out here and spending money.�
But the unseasonably warm weather also allowed Jerry and Carolyn Franklin from Tucumcari to visit the final day of the Expo.
�This is the first time we�ve been here in probably 10 years,� Jerry said. �(We) found some new and interesting products and equipment to look at and things like that. We enjoy visiting with people, that�s the main thing, (we) get to see a lot of people that we don�t see during the year.�
�The weather has been tremendous,� said James Clark, the manager of a farm equipment company at the expo. �You couldn�t ask for better.�
�There�s a little something for everyone,� Carolyn Franklin said. �It�s a beautiful day, so that was good, and we enjoyed it.�
Some notable events on the expo�s last day included alternative crop use and production for the biofuels seminar, an eat-smart cooking class, antique tractor parades and the Bum Steer barbecue.
The Roosevelt County Sheriff�s office also had a large presence on the expo�s final day.
�We�re not out here from a security standpoint, because there are never any problems out here. It�s a great bunch of people that come out,� Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker said Wednesday afternoon. �Anytime I can have a forum for my office, it gives us that opportunity to make that face-to-face connection.�
Elida resident Deena Kimman was impressed, not with the weather, but by the organization of the event.
�This is the first day we�ve been able to make it,� Kimman said. �It�s always so wonderful the way they put it together. It just flows very nicely.�
Expo attendees also had the opportunity to enter into a drawing for a red 16-foot stock trailer, valued at close to $4,000 which will be awarded on March 20.
Clovis resident Eric Palla brought his three boys, ages 7, 4 and 3, to the expo on Wednesday and said it�s a nice event for the whole family.
�It�s great, the kids always have a good time,� Palla said.
While the kids are entertained, the expo also serves a much larger, important role in the region.
�(This event) attracts people from all over the area and different states, and it just drives a lot of attention. We need to remember that agriculture is vital to this area and it�s vital to our economy and to the nation as a whole,� Kimman said.
Dave Burns, with Engineered Building Solutions, says the expo has been great for his bottom line.
�This is a small community and large companies don�t like to go to small communities because they don�t think that they can sell their products,� Burns said. �We�ve probably got a little over $1.5 million worth of quotes out here (this week).�
�A lot of it is just maintaining relationships that you already have and hopefully getting some new business out of it,� Clark said.