Fundraising efforts begin for fireworks show

Argen Duncan

Efforts to raise money for the Portales annual Fourth of July Celebration have begun, and they include a new contest for boys.

Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karl Terry said the chamber is working to raise a little more than $10,000 to have about the same size fireworks show as last year. Lodgers’ tax allotments provide $4,000, he said, but the chamber is looking to local residents to provide the rest.

“It’s something that’s truly a community effort,” Terry said, adding that without donations from families and businesses, the celebration wouldn’t happen.

As part of the fundraising, the Chamber Ambassadors have initiated the Little Mr. Firecracker contest. The contest, which is to run June 7 to July 1, is open to boys ages 5-10 who live in Roosevelt County, said Ambassador Michele Robertson, also the Fourth of July Celebration committee chairwoman.

Each participant needs a business sponsor to collect penny votes, and each is encouraged to do additional fundraising.

The boy who earns the most money for the fireworks show is named “Little Mr. Firecracker.” He gets to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the celebration and use a prop made to look like a plunger for an explosive device to mark the beginning of the fireworks show.

All participants are to ride in the Heritage Days parade and receive recognition and prize packs.

Robertson said the Ambassadors started the contest because the Little Miss Merry Christmas contest worked well to raise money for Christmas lights and they wanted something for boys to do.

Connor Pino, 6, is the first boy registered for the competition. His grandfather, Max Pino, works at Yucca Telecom and said the company wanted to sponsor a child.

“Even though he’s my grandson and not my son, I said I’d be happy to,” Pino said.

Connor said he thought the contest would be fun.

Pino said they would raffle off a year of Yucca Internet service, with tickets for $1 each, and a 32-inch high-definition television, with tickets costing $5 each.

Terry and Robertson said Little Mr. Firecracker doesn’t replace contributions from other sources. If the community donates extra money this year, they said, organizers would plan a bigger celebration next year.

“It’ll be as good as people want to make it,” Terry said.

This year, he said, the celebration will feature booths, children’s activities and music in front of the Eastern New Mexico University soccer field starting at 4 p.m. July 4.

Organizers are looking for vendors to run booths. There is no charge for the space, Terry said.

This year’s Little Mr. Firecracker is scheduled to be announced about 8 p.m., and the fireworks are to start at 9 p.m.

Terry said the fireworks would be synchronized to music on KSEL, and the public address system near the stage would air the tunes. The chamber has again contracted with Stone Braker Rocky Mountain Fireworks of Denver to put on the show this year.