Old Timers canceled, businesses hurting
The decision was made on Monday evening to cancel the 42nd annual Old Timers Reunion and Rodeo in Magdalena during the village of Magdalena Board of Trustees meeting, due to the ongoing water issues in the village. Magdalena residents now have water through the village system, but it is somewhat limited and strict restrictions are still in place. The meeting was opened up for comment, though comment was limited to one representative per recommendation in order to manage the length and repetitiveness of commentary. The Old Timers Reunion Association board convened an executive session during the village meeting to make a decision and announce it back to the board of trustees, then followed with a Village decision to cancel the event.
“Nobody is against Old Timers,” Mary Madde said when the meeting was opened up for discussion. Madde represented a group of residents who proposed postponing the event until later in the summer. Ray Martinez represented another resident group recommended cancelling the event for this year altogether.
“Nobody wants to do away with Old Timers,” Martinez said. “This issue is dividing us. We need to come together the way our community has always come together. Our first priority has to be water for the community.”
Linda Mansell, owner of M and M Grill on Highway 60, represented those in favor of holding the 42nd Annual Event. Mansell said that the community could handle the event, and that the event will help raise spirits in the community. Mansell pointed out that vendors for Old Timers only need a two- or three-day permit, for which having potable water is not required.
“We only need a bucket of water with a little bleach to wash our hands,” said Mansell. Mansell encouraged the organizers to utilize local vendors again, as was done in the past, rather than bringing in vendors from outside the community. Mansell said businesses are suffering already, and losing this event might force some of them to close.
“If you want a ghost town, well that is what you will get if you cancel,” Mansell said.
In the end, the Old Timers board of directors decided to cancel the event for the year.
“Maybe we can hold another kind of celebration later,” Martin Wellito, president of the Old Timers Reunion board said. “After the community gets water, maybe we can do something to celebrate.”
Mayor Sandy Julian said, “I’m glad people came out and had their say. We are all sorry we had to cancel, but we have to take care of the problem first. Maybe we can have another party or event later, as Martin said.”
State Rep. Don Tripp was present at the meeting, and offered his support and assistance.
“We don’t realize the importance of our water until we turn on the tap and nothing comes out,” Tripp said. “We do have to band together.”
Tripp acknowledged that he lives in Socorro, so is not directly affected by the water outage, but says he is here to help. One resident joked with Tripp, asking for his address so she could come to his house to take a shower. He told her she was welcome, provided his address to the entire audience and jokingly said that they would have to put together a schedule.
When asked what might be done to help local businesses remain solvent, the mayor said, “I am going to meet with the businesses to see how I can help. I’m not really sure what to do to help them.”