Homecoming is sea of silver and green

Joshua Lucero: PNT correspondent

Eastern New Mexico University fans donned their green and silver as they cheered for the Greyhounds during Saturday's homecoming game at Greyhound Stadium.

Portales was a sea of silver and green Saturday with the celebration of Eastern New Mexico University's homecoming.

Children spun their umbrellas on Avenue D Saturday morning, some with plastic bags in hand sustaining the weather and awaiting for the rain of candy that ENMU's homecoming parade was sure to provide.

There were more than 50 parade entries that traveled down the streets of Portales with representatives from the community including local organizations, businesses and Cannon Air Force Base.

"I like the horses the best," said Gunnar Tipton, a first-grader at Brown Elementary.

For Tipton, Halloween came early as he left the parade a happy camper with his bag filled with candy.

"The gum was the best thing they threw out," Tipton said.

While Tipton and friends enjoyed the many floats and danced to the rhythm of ENMU's marching band, his grandparents Bob and Kim Butler reminisced about their years at ENMU.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Gunnar Tipton of Portales pulls his puppy Gyma under his umbrella to shield them from the rain as he waits for Eastern New Mexico University's homecoming parade to start Saturday morning.

The Butlers said they have been attending the parade for years and it's a staple in the Portales community.

"I was in it in 1966 when I played football for Portales," Bob said.

Though the Butlers live here in town, many alumni traveled long distances to return to their beloved alma mater.

Here are some of their stories and memories:

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Eastern New Mexico University's homecoming king and queen, Phillip Gomez and Jessica Lavalle, wave to the crowd as they sat atop a red convertible Saturday at ENMU's homecoming parade.

Jo Dell Ricker traveled from Sandy, Ore., outside of Portland to attend this year's homecoming with her husband. This year marks his 50th year anniversary in Kappa Sigma fraternity.

"We met in the old student union building," Ricker said. "He asked, 'Who's that Chi Omega girl?' referring to me. We've been together ever since."

Ricker said she enjoyed building floats for the homecoming parade when she attended ENMU.

"I remember my friend Doug Shaw was in a rocket ship on a float. The float turned the corner and went one way and Doug and the rocket ship went another," Ricker said.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Children throw candy and flying discs from the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office parade float Saturday at Eastern New Mexico University's homecoming parade.

The staff of The Chase (the student newspaper of ENMU) of the 1960's caught up with one another at the homecoming brunch in the school's cafeteria.

They discussed how their ENMU experience has helped them in their careers.

"The work at the newspaper was the best possible training for technical writing ever," said Berylene Blakely Rogers, a former editor of The Chase.

Sybil Moreland of Portales worked with Rogers as another editor. She says her work and experience there has helped her in every job she's had.

"I ended up being an ICU nurse in Lubbock and had to do a lot of writing," Moreland said. "It also helped to interpret the doctor's orders."

They joined fellow writer Paul Mapes for brunch, one of this year's alumni association recipients and former editor in chief Ernie Sanchez.

Sanchez has a plan to save and restore their newspaper's history of over 75 years.

"About a year ago, New Mexico State University digitized 110 years of their newspaper," Sanchez said. "It got me thinking there's a lot of history in the pages of The Chase; it's a shame they're not available. We're in danger of losing all that information because those pages are aging."

Sanchez is planning to rally up other alumni to save their archives.

"I'm trying to convince people that this would be something good for the institution," Sanchez said.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Eastern New Mexico University marching band members cheer for the home team while also trying to distract their opponents with taunts at Saturday's homecoming game.

Amy Hukill of Clovis, class of 1990, was the loudest person in her cheering section at ENMU's homecoming game. She displayed a lot of pride for her Greyhounds as she shook her bell vigorously to make noise.

"I think it's neat that we have a university for such a small area," Hukill said. "It's a great attraction."

Hukill majored in elementary education and her favorite part of homecoming was making the floats.

Wayne Propst said ENMU was a great place to go to school. Propst is a member of the class of 1987 and served as student body president twice.

"The quality of education was great," said Propst, who is currently executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association in Santa Fe. "Eastern opened up a lot of doors for me."

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