Jubal Pierce, left, of Melrose and Matthew Glenn, of Clovis, paint numbers on the steps of the seating boxes Saturday afternoon at the Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent
Balloons, pageants and a parade will accompany the usual sights and sounds at three nights of rodeo when Pioneer Days hits Clovis this week.
The 34th annual Pioneer Days rodeo will begin on Thursday, when the week’s sundry activities start to reach their zenith, and will continue with performances on Friday and Saturday.
“We’re going to have a good rodeo,” says Dewey Pierce of the Curry County Mounted Patrol, organizers of the event.
Pierce says the night of steer roping which preceded the three days of rodeo last year has been eliminated. However, he adds, the total amount of rodeo competitors has actually increased from 300 to 317.
“We had the steer roping on Wednesday night (last year), so all it did was cut us out a night of work — which didn’t hurt us any,” Pierce says. “Not many people came. It was one of those deals where we were doing a lot of work for nothing.”
The rodeo begins at 8:00 p.m. each evening at the Mounted Patrol Arena at the Curry County Fairgrounds.
Along with the rodeo events, the entertainment between riders will be provided by well-known clown Leon Coffey and, between events, the specialty “Roman” riding act of Mike Matt, who rides two horses with a foot on each saddle.
When the rodeo begins on Thursday, the victors of the Miss Rodeo New Mexico pageants will be announced. Four age groups will have winners crowned.
“They have a written test with about a hundred questions,” says Wilma Fulgham, organizer of the Miss Rodeo New Mexico pageant as well as the Pioneer Days Queen and Little Buckaroo contests. “It’s all on rodeo, current events, knowledge of New Mexico, things like that.”
Fulgham says she is still looking for more entrants for the Little Buckaroo Rodeo, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Mounted Patrol Arena. Interested participants, who must be under 13-years-old, can register at Joe’s Boot Shop in Clovis.
Saturday will be the busiest time of the week for Pioneer Days as the Bank of Clovis Pioneer Balloon Jubilee will begin at 6:00 a.m. with an expected launch, weather permitting, of around 40 balloons.
That will take place just north of Plains Regional Medical Center, as will another attempted launch on Sunday morning at the same time.
At Greene Acres Lake, on Saturday night, the balloonists will gather for a Balloon Glow & Firestorm.
The annual Pioneer Parade will also take place on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. on Main Street in Clovis. Other activities include a Food Fest, to be held at North Plains Mall on Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and a Beard Competition taking place Friday at 8:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn.