Village council cuts rodeo promoter some slack

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The village of Magdalena is known as an Old West town, and its board of trustees took a step to reinforce that identity by giving a break to a promoter who wants to bring a rodeo to town in May.

Martin Willeto of the Wild Bunch Reunion Association came to the council on Tuesday to ask the board to cut them some slack for use of the rodeo grounds.

Willeto said the rodeo, scheduled for May 12-13, would be a fundraiser to raise money for students from Alamo, Magdalena and Quemado high schools.

“I’m asking that you reduce the arena fee — that way we can put more money into the scholarships,” said Willeto.

Village Clerk/Treasurer Rita Broaddus told the board the usual charge for use of the rodeo area is $150 per day, with $50 of that returned if the facility is left in good shape. She said she already received a check for $300 from the group to reserve the dates.

Willeto, a Magdalena native who now makes his home in Albuquerque, explained that the Wild Bunch Reunion Association is registered as a non-profit and insurance has also already been paid.

“Not only do we want to raise scholarship money, but bring money back into this town,” he said, adding that people were coming from out-of-state to attend and many of the hotel rooms in town have already been booked.

Willeto added that Magdalena has a rich history when it comes to rodeo.

“We want to be a part of that history,” he said.

Mayor Sandy Julian asked if the rodeo was geared for kids.

Willeto said Saturday’s events would be mostly for kids, but adults would probably do most of the riding and roping on Sunday. He noted, though, that the group was trying to enlist the help of the FFA and the high school rodeo association.

In addition, the groups were making arrangements to sell concessions, the proceeds of which would also go toward scholarships, he said, and dances with live music were planned for two nights.

“It looks like you guys are very well organized,” Julian said.

But Julian warned the board if they lowered the price for the Wild Bunch, they’d probably have to do it for others too. She said the village couldn’t offer the facility for free, because municipalities are prevented from doing so under the state’s anti-donation clause.

As discussion continued, Broaddus said the charge for renting out the community center was $75 per day, with the renter reimbursed $25.

Trustees Barbara Baca and Carmen Torres expressed support of giving the group a price break.

“This is the direction we’ve been wanting to go,” she said of promoting use of the rodeo grounds, “so maybe this is a good starting point.”

“This is trying to bring back the town to what it’s supposed to be,” Baca said. “I think it would be in the best interest if we lowered the fees.”

Baca made the motion to charge the same price as for use of the community center — a total of $150 for two days, with the group getting $50 back if they left the facility in good repair. Torres seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Later in the meeting, Sara Robinson, a member of the Committee for the Restoration of the Village of Magdalena Rodeo Grounds, gave an update on how her group’s efforts were progressing.

She said another work day was being planned to do some more painting and remove rocks and other debris from the arena.

“We’re rolling along. I can’t say enough about the volunteers, the people who have helped and those who donated (materials),” she said.

Another member of the group, Z.W. Farnsworth, said he completed an inspection of the grandstand and found it to be structurally sound.

“The grandstand, for its age, is in excellent shape. The only issue down the road is the tin roof,” he said, adding that at some point additional bracing may be needed.

Farnsworth said the hope was to have most of the work completed by the end of next month.

A Look Ahead

During the public comment period, Farnsworth inquired about when the next community cleanup day would be scheduled.

Mayor Julian said she would have that added as an item for the next meeting and a decision could be made then.

Also to be put on the agenda for the next meeting was a request by Char Nolan to make improvements to the kitchen at the rodeo grounds. She said the facility could be better utilized if the kitchen had a commercial refrigerator, stove, oven and other appliances.

Trustee Baca also requested that adding a street light on South Ash Street be placed on the next meeting’s agenda. She said that there had been a burglary in the area and that a street light could help prevent more from happening.

Due to municipal elections being held March 6, the next meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, March 12.

In Other Action

  • Interim Fire Chief Donna Dawson reported that volunteer fire department personnel were about halfway through their EMT training and had been receiving good grades so far.

Dawson also explained that there had been some misunderstandings related to residential fire insurance. Some residents had complained to village administration that their insurance rates were going up.

Dawson said insurance companies apparently weren’t checking with the proper authorities. She said the insurance companies were listing Magdalena as a class 10 fire department, a lower rating than its actual class 7 designation.

Dawson said what she was doing to try to help the people who were receiving notices of a rate increase was to send insurance companies copies of letters of the most recent inspection report and a map identifying where fire hydrants were located.

  • Mayor Julian broke the news that the village’s request for state money to help pay for a new well and telemetry system did not make it on the list of capital outlay projects the Legislature sent to the governor.
  • A bid of $1,800 to purchase two former Marshal’s Office vehicles — 1999 and 2001 Crown Victorias — was accepted by the board. Broaddus said the offer came from Casey Perkins of Portales, who submitted the only bid. The price was $300 more than what the board determined would be the minimum amount it would accept for the two vehicles, she said.
  • The board approved a $799.43 expense to repair a Marshal’s Office vehicle and a $1,200 purchase for eight tires to be used on patrol cars.
  • Joint Utilities Director Steve Bailey reported that completion of a stand to hold a water tank at the transfer station was about a week away from being finished.

 


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.

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