The village of Magdalena is gearing up for the influx of out-of-towners, visitors, friends and family this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the 47th annual Old Timers Reunion weekend. Along with the dozens of horse trailers and RV campers, the village expects upwards of a thousand visitors over the three day event.
The theme for the Reunion this year honors those who suffered in The Long Walk of 1864. Approximately 9,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache men, women and children were forced marched 400 miles by the U.S. Army from their homes to Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico.
“We reflect on the many that perished and revere their memory,” Old Timers organizer Naomi Dawson said.
Although all the traditional elements remain unchanged, organizers are planning a fresh approach to this time-honored event.
All rodeos will be produced by the Navajo Nations Rodeo Cowboys Association (NNRCA) from Iyanbito, New Mexico. They will be overseeing three days of rodeo fun. Events are open to local participants and same-day entries are accepted. Buckles and points will be awarded to winning riders.
Rodeo events begin with the Junior Rodeo Friday morning, when kids will get the opportunity to watch others or participate themselves in numerous activities throughout the day. The Junior Rodeo promises hours of fun and competitive opportunities such as Mutton Busting, Calf Riding, Steer Riding, Roping and more. Registration begins early at 8 a.m. Friday. Kids are reminded to bring their stick horses.
The Native Village, located south of the arena, will provide opportunities for visitors to taste local cuisine such as mutton, fry bread and freshly-made Navajo tacos with green chile. Local artisans and artists will be displaying examples of the time-honored craftsmanship of their handmade jewelry. Visitors are also in store for a variety of activities and booths provided by locals from the Alamo Navajo Reservation and surrounding area.
Friday night is the street dance with music provided by Randy Unrah and the Real West Band. The stage will be located in front of the library at 108 N. Main Street. The music begins at 8 p.m. and lasts until midnight. Bring your lawn chairs and dancing shoes to dance all night.
Saturday morning is the annual Old Timers parade, which usually draws up to a thousand spectators lined up and down First Street. Parade line-up starts at 9 a.m. on Kelly Road. The parade draws a big crowd and starts at 10 a.m. Groups and organizations are invited. Parade entry fee is $20, and can be paid Saturday prior to check-in, which can be found at Kelly Road and 8th Street. For the duration of the parade Highway 60 traffic will be diverted at Chestnut on the east side of town and at Highway 107 on the west side.
For more information on being in the Parade, call Pete Enriquez at 575-517-0408.
Leading the parade will be Grand Marshal Juan Gutierrez.
The annual BBQ lunch starts at noon, giving people plenty of time to get to the rodeo grounds after the parade. The beef is cooked by Patrick Trujillo in the underground barbecue pit originally dug by V.D. Trujillo a few years ago. For only $8 partakers can chow down on slow-roasted beef, coleslaw, beans and bread.
The crowning of Rosemary Wellborn, who has the honor of being this year’s Old Timers Queen, will take place in front of the grandstand at noon.
Saturday is filled with professional rodeo fun and mini pow-wows are planned.
Also, there will be three contests on Saturday. The first is a circa 1800s costume contest. All participants are encouraged to dress in their finest Southwestern best. We are looking for vintage cowpokes, outlaws, pioneers, saloon gals, gentry, and so on.
A fruit pie contest and salsa contest will also be held.
All food contestants may submit their $5 entry fee and their entry dish in a disposable container (with lid) to the Community Center, before 2:30 p.m. for judging. Ribbons and Bragging-Rights are awarded. Nashville Singer/Actor, Kenny Lee and the Ghost Creek Outlaws promise to provide hours of entertainment, too.
Bright and early Sunday morning the air around the rodeo grounds will be filled with the aroma of sausage, bacon, and pancakes cooking on the grill. The pancake breakfast starts at 6 a.m. and the $7 price goes to help Magdalena’s volunteer fire department. Pancakes will be served until 8:30 a.m. or until the batter runs out, whichever comes first.
Those wishing to tackle the Magdalena to Kelly 7K Run/Walk must sign up at Village Hall beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday. The run/walk begins at 7 a.m., and hopefully participants can make it back to town before the pancakes run out. Entry fee is $15, and all participants receive a t-shirt.
The run begins on North Main in front of Village Hal and ending over four miles south and 900 feet higher in elevation, with the finish line about 100 yards past St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Kelly. Water stations manned by volunteers will be situated along the way.
The Sunday morning worship service at the Native Village is coordinated by Ed Padilla, from the Alamo Navajo Reservation.
Sunday also features senior roping.
Vendors will continue providing delicious treats and goods until the close of the event at about 5 p.m.
The Old Timers information booth can be found inside the Community Center at the rodeo grounds, along with a plethora of vendors, artisans, crafters and information from community organizations.
Stop by to chat, buy crafts, and buy a raffle tickets for a quilt, a sheep, and a lamb, or all three.
For information on vendor space, food trucks, forms and general questions, contact Naomi Dawson, 505-506-5735.