Cowboy Days returns to Farm & Ranch Museum for 19th year
February 15th, 2018
Cowboy Days returns to the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces for the 19th year with a new activity, and a homecoming performance by country music’s Josh Grider.
Cowboy Days is March 3-4. The fun is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for everyone 5 and older. There are no discounts or passes.
The popular festival is the museum’s annual tribute to the state’s ranching heritage.
“Cowboy Days is the museum’s biggest event of the year,” said Museum Director Mark Santiago. “We have a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family, and we add something new each year.”
The new activity is Sheep to Shawl. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, one of the museum’s Debouillet sheep will be sheared. The wool will be carded, and then spun by three demonstrators. A weaver will then use the yarn from the wool to create a shawl that will be raffled ($1 each). The entire process should take about four hours and the activity will take place inside the museum’s Sheep & Goat Barn.
The Borderland Pistoleros Cowboy Mounted Shooting group will have competition at the museum’s Roping Arena each day with a session in the morning from 10:30 to 12 and one in the afternoon from 3 to 5.
Another popular activity involving livestock is the Parade of Breeds, which takes place twice each day (12 and 2). The different breeds of beef cattle are brought in to the round and guests can learn about their different characteristics and origin.
Pat Howard’s working dogs will do herding demonstrations throughout the day on Sunday. Demonstrations on both days include chuck wagon cooking (with free samples), blacksmithing, wood carving, weaving, and the Back Country Horsemen. Several living history characters from the museum and Fort Selden Historic Site will be interacting with the public, as well.
Pony rides for kids ($5), mechanical bull rides ($3), mini-train rides ($3), and stagecoach rides (donation) are offered both days. The pony rides are from 9-10 and 12-3 each day, while the others are continuous. There are also free children’s craft and gold-panning activities.
Enchantment Historical Productions performs a gunfight re-enactment each day at 11 a.m. The shows, which feature authentic firearms with blanks, portray both historical events and dime novel drama. The group also produces The American Fashion Show, illustrating the evolution of fashion from colonial times through the 20th Century, and, “Daniel F. Beatty: Purveyor of Pump Organs, Clocks, and Sewing.” Skits will be in the museum’s Theater each day.
The cowboy musical performers include Eddy Harrison, Kenny Arroyos, Voz Vaqueros and Tom Foster Morris. Ollie Reed, Stephen Zimmer and Tom Estes of the Western Writers of America also will be on hand to talk about their books and sell and sign copies.
The Cowboy Days CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) Chili Cook-Off, which debuted last year, will return for both days. Tasting for the public is from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1-2 p.m. on Sunday (or until the chili runs out), and the cost for the samples is $5. The money raised on Saturday will benefit the Friends of the Museum, and the funds raised on Sunday benefit Broken Promises, a non-profit organization seeking to end pet animal overpopulation in Las Cruces and Dona Ana County.
About 20 competitors from New Mexico and Texas are expected for the sanctioned chili cook-off, and Bill Pierson from Illionis, CASI senior referee, will be here to participate.
Grider, whose new album “Good People” debuts on March 2, will host an “album release show” and dance at 7 p.m. on March 3. Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the door, or at https://tickets.holdmyticket.com/tickets/304177. Tickets are $19.90, and children 10 and under receive free admission.
“We are going to have an old school dance and concert at museum in conjunction with Cowboy Days,” Grider said. “There will be a dance floor, some seating, cold beer (if you care to), and kids under 10 are free. I feel like these days concert experiences can A) be so expensive and B) so restrictive as far as age limits, start times, etc. I want this show to be accessible for anyone that wants to come listen to some country music. Las Cruces is my hometown, and we are going to have a great night. I’ll sign autographs and take pictures with anybody that cares to hang around after the show.”
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces. For more information, call (575) 522-4100 or visit www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org. The museum is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
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