Farm & Ranch Museum celebrates 20th Cowboy Days
February 12th, 2019
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces will host its 20th Cowboy Days festival on March 2-3.
The fun is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for everyone 5 and older.
The popular festival is the museum’s annual tribute to the state’s ranching heritage and brings together skilled riders, talented musicians, outstanding cooks, great performers and offers lots of activities.
“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.”
A new program is “Old West Melodramas” taking place in the museum’s Theater twice each day. The titles of these skits are: “Evil Banker,” “Frontier Mortician,” “Pecos Bill and a Matter of Mistaken Identity,” and “Billy the Kid.” This group of volunteers also will share cowboy and western short stories.
Horseshoeing has been added to the schedule this year, with two demonstrations each day. Another emphasis this year is chuck wagon cooking, with a second chuck wagon added, this one from the Lonely Goat Ranch near Roswell.
A popular activity involving livestock is the Parade of Breeds, which takes place twice each day. The seven different breeds of beef cattle are brought in to the round pen and guests learn about their different characteristics and origin.
“The Parade of Breeds is one of the best programs we have,” said Craig Massey, the Museum’s Communications Manager. “It’s outstanding visually and educationally. The cattle enthusiastically enter the round pen, and the opportunity to see them up close and interact with an expert on horseback is a rare experience.”
Cowboy mounted shooting takes place in the Roping Arena with a morning and afternoon session each day. The Back Country Horsemen of America’s local chapter will also be on hand.
Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Sheep to Shawl program begins with the shearing of one of the museum’s Debouillet sheep. The wool will be carded, and then spun by several demonstrators. A weaver or knitter will then use the yarn from the wool to create a shawl that will be raffled. The entire process should take about six hours and the activity will take place inside the Sheep & Goat Barn.
Pony rides for kids ($5), mechanical bull rides ($3), mini-train rides ($3), and stagecoach rides by Frontier Adventures (donation) are offered both days. There are also free children’s craft activities and games, including some provided by New Mexico Historic Sites.
Old West Thunder performs a gunfight re-enactment each day at noon. The shows portray both historical events and dime novel drama. Enchantment Historical Productions produces “The American Fashion Show,” illustrating the evolution of fashion from colonial times through the 20th Century, and “Big Camp Revival Meeting.” These programs will be in the museum’s Theater each day.
The cowboy musical performers include Kenny Arroyos, Voz Vaqueros, the Ramblin’ Rangers, and Tom Foster Morris & Friends. Ollie Reed, Carol Potenza and Jim Jones 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 two years ago, 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 ACTion program for animals.
Dozens of arts and crafts vendors from as far away as Santa Fe will be selling their items, and some new food vendors have been added this year, including Native American food from Santa Fe and BBQ from the Ruidoso area.
A plant sale from the museum’s Greenhouse also is part of the festival, as well as demonstrations by the museum’s blacksmith and woodcarving by the Dona Ana Woodcarvers.
Each day, the activities conclude with a square dancing demonstrations in the Courtyard by Live Lively Square Dance. The public is invited to participate.
Sponsors and supporters for the 20th Cowboy Days include Friends of the Museum, the Museum’s volunteers, Whataburger, Mayberry Farms, T-4 Cattle Company, Tharp Farms, Beasley Mitchell & Co., and Citizens Bank of Las Cruces.
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.
(575) 522-4100, ext. 101
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