Mark Your Calendars: Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium October 12, 13 and 14, 2012


LCCS Cowboy


Each year, during the second full weekend in October, Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico plays host to the nation’s finest cowboy festival with old west storytellers, noted historians, poets, musicians (including the world famous Texas Playboys), chuckwagon cooks and competitions, chuckwagon cook-offs, western artists and craftsmen for three days of events, cowboy competitions, horse demonstrations, western swing dancing, kids rodeo and educational activities. In 1996, the symposium was selected as the Best Cowboy Cultural Event by the National Cowboy Symposium Association. In addition, the Lincoln County Cowboy Sympsium has been named one of North America’s top 100 events by the American Bus Association.

Tickets on Sale August 1, 2012
8:30 AM, Mountain Time
Gatlin Brothers
Friday Night Concert, October 12, 2012

Asleep at the Wheel
Saturday Night Dance, October 13, 2012

The Texas Big Three
Jake Hooker, Billy Mata & Jody Nix

Friday & Saturday Nights

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Plenty of events and music around town Including David Ball and The Pioneer Playboys at the Spencer Theater. Or enjoy a supper show at the Flying J Ranch featuring Floyd Domino Review with Red Volkert, Tommy Allsup, Flying J Wranglers and many other special guests.

Schedule and locations to be announced soon!!

All American Labor Day @ Ruidoso Downs

The All American Futurity: The World’s Richest Quarter Horse Race

The Quarter Horse race that every owner, breeder, trainer and jockey wants to win is Ruidoso Downs’ signature event, the All American Futurity.

Run over 440 yards every Labor Day, the All American Futurity gained its lofty status through unique financial cooperation between the track and horsemen. Ruidoso Downs contributes “added money” to start the race’s purse, and then horse owners make payments to keep their young horses eligible. Many of these payments are made before the horse ever starts in a race.

This system made the All American Futurity the world’s first $1-million race for any breed of horse and enabled the All American to become the first $2-million race in Quarter Horse racing. Now the All American Futurity has a purse of $2.4 million and is the richest race for a two-year-old of any breed in North America. Read more and see more at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack site!

Quarter Horse racing’s biggest races are on Labor Day weekend!
The $2,400,000 All American Futurity is on Labor Day and the $2,234,539 All American Derby is on Sunday, Sept. 2.


Ochoa, Winner 2011 (Courtesy of Ruidoso Downs Racetrack)


More on the race at Ruidoso News…


“A Land So Strange” @ The Hubbard Museum

Depression Era Rendering of the Altar Sanctuario Chimayo
Depression Era Rendering of the Altar Sanctuario Chimayo


Over the past four centuries, a distinctive culture has evolved in New Mexico, an area described 400 years ago in the journal of Cabeza de Vaca as Una Tierra Tan Extraña…… A Land So Strange. The Hubbard Museum is proud to present its newest interpretive exhibit, A Land So Strange, which opens Saturday, June 16th, and runs through February 8, 2013.

As the State of New Mexico celebrates its 100th anniversary, A Land So Strange was created and designed by Curator of Exhibits, David Mandel and Curator of Collections, Adele Karolik, to provide a unique and educational journey through nearly 400 years of New Mexico history. With hundreds of artifacts and images from the 16th century to the 20th century, the exhibit tells the story of the Native Americans, the Spanish, and the Euro-Americans who created the New Mexico we experience today.

Take a closer look at materials drawn from collections around the nation that represent these separate cultures at Ruidoso Downs’ The Hubbard Museum, just minutes from Vera Cruz Mountain Ranch.


9:00 am-4:30 pm daily


26301 Hwy 70 West

Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346



Phone: 575-378-4142

The Rodeo Came To Town Along With The Rain

Here’s a contribution from Jenny Reed, one of our very own Ranch Representatives over at Vera Cruz Mountain Ranch. Thanks, Jenny!

Rodeo 1It’s been a busy week for Capitan New Mexico, just 15 minutes east and over the Indian Divide from here at Vera Cruz Mountain Ranch. The small town hosts the largest rodeo in the country (according to locals) holding rodeo events nightly for 4 days for points towards world titles. There’s another event however, that I believe shows more about the true composition of the local cowboy. It’s called the ranch rodeo where teams of 4 compete in several events for the best time in each event and an overall winner in cumulative total for all events. This years ranch rodeo had 16 teams! These teams were not all young boys either. There were teams with fathers and sons/daughters and teams of fathers competing alongside teams of their sons. The ages of competitors ranged from teens to grandfathers. The 6 events centered around working cattle from horseback and included doctoring, branding, trailer loading, stray gathering, and wild cow milking. Most all of these activities are performed on the ranches, but they usually aren’t timed. There can be some good natured competition among the local ranch hands which is where I believe this event evolved.

This year the badly needed rains came about the same time as the rodeos. The thunder heads would build up and start dumping on Capitan around 12:30 pm and the local ranch rodeo events started at 1:00 pm in an outdoor arena, regardless of weather, I came to learn. The ranch rodeos started on the 4th of July with the youth ranch rough stock riding for young cowboys/cowgirls ages 4-14. We were looking forward to watching the little tikes attempting to stay aboard their mounts whether it be sheep or steer for the required 8 seconds. When the lightening, thunder and rain started pouring down just before the event was to start, we ran for the truck and headed for home believing that surely the event would be cancelled. I learned the next day just how naïve and pampered I am. These young cowboys and girls learn early by example and experience that ranch life isn’t easy, life isn’t fair, and mother nature doesn’t always cooperate with your plans. They learn growing up that when there’s a calf to tend to or an obligation to fulfill that you don’t wait until the weather clears or for hard times get better. They learn that there’s a lot of things that you can’t control but the one thing you can is your own actions and if you make a commitment whether it be to raising cattle or riding rough stock, then you do the best you can do and you don’t stop until the job is done. The determination on many of the little cowboys faces showed that these lessons were being learned at a very early age.

The adult ranch rodeo was held over two days on Friday and Saturday afternoons due to the large number of teams. The weather remained consistently uncooperative by continuing with the thunder, lightning and pouring rains beginning in the early afternoons. Thank goodness the metal stands were covered but it still got a little nerve racking for us spectators with the lightning. I never heard a complaint from anyone however. The closest thing I ever heard was a hope that it was raining as hard at their home ranch as it was here at the fairgrounds. The rodeo began each day with the national anthem being sung by the contestants and the Capitan grandstand choir. Not a verse was missed nor a heart not covered either by a cowboy hat or a hand. By 1:00 pm the arena was a deep, muddy, slick mess with thick soupy puddles in several spots. It was chilly, raining and windy but the judges in their slickers were mounted on their horses and in the arena ready to judge the first event when we finally decided to leave the dry comfort of our trucks in the parking lot and make a dash for the grandstands during a slight let-up of the rain. This was after everyone frantically searched for protection – umbrellas, slickers, jackets, sweatshirts, things that we haven’t needed for the past 2 years!!

Typically 2 teams would compete simultaneously in each event. Now this means that there are 8 riders horseback along with 6 judges all horseback at one end of the arena, and for most events, 2 cows and 2 calves turned loose at the other end of the arena. All 8 competitors line up with their ropes under their arm and when the flag is dropped go charging down to the other end of the arena where the cows and calves are located and must rope their heads and/or their heels, jump off of their horse, lay the cow or calf down and secure it so that it can be doctored, branded, etc. Now as I said, these are all things that must be done on the ranch so the cowboys and their horses are pretty used to this activity. However, add to it the fact that the cowboys are being timed, that there are 8 of them going for the same 2 cows and calves, that they are only allowed 1 loop each (throw of the rope to catch the animal), it’s been pouring rain for over an hour, and the arena is now about 2 feet deep in muck, and the complexity multiplies by a significant amount. For us in the stands, it was thoroughly entertaining and for me I must say a little awe inspiring.

Growing up and being raised in Ohio, (both me and our horses), I was fairly confident that I would not have been able to coax Swoosh into the mucky arena horseback had it been completely empty, let alone with the chaos of the events going on. If by some chance I was able to get her in the arena long enough for someone to shut the gate behind us, had I tried to rope a calf, and jump off of her and run down my rope (which would be wrapped around the saddle horn) to attend to a squirming muddy cow or calf while 7 other riders and 2 cows raced by us, into us, over us, chasing/or being chased, she would not have stood her ground keeping tension on the rope nor would I have been able to ignore the inherent dangers all around and stick to my job just for the sake of the team or the event. I do believe we would have both run for the gate and tried to dive over. However, time and again the teams and their horses took on the challenge without hesitation. There were times that the mud was so heavy on the cowboys boots and chaps that they had to make several attempts just to get their legs up in the stirrup to mount again and race back to the finish line. Cowboys working on foot were thrown to the ground by the uncooperative cows in the thick, slippery surface and both they and their hats, trampled in the mud. Every time however, no matter their age, the cowboy got up, spit the mud from his mouth, found his hat scooped the mud out and placed it firmly back on his/her head, ready to go on to the next event or back to the task at hand. I was so impressed how no one backed out or quit because of the uncooperative weather or cow. I believe it’s how and where they’re raised. It’s not in their nature and never even comes to mind not to face an adversity and overcome it. Time and again a teammate would dive for the cows head only to be thrown down in the muck and lose his grip. He’d jump up and dive in again for a grab at her horns while she’d swing her head stumble in the muck and finally fall to the ground more often than not on top of him. There was no quit in any of these teams – it just wasn’t considered. There was no blame or excuses. It’s the nature of ranching and it is always tough and they realize that when they win there’s always a bit of luck in the deal.

This ranch rodeo is not about money or prizes. There are no big sponsors here or cowboys with Copenhagen, Pepsi, or Rockstar plastered all over their shirts, chaps, jeans, hats, etc. The cowboys don’t compete for trucks, trailers, or national attention. They don’t compete in giant covered climate controlled arenas with tractors preparing the trucked in surface making it just right for roping or landing. The only cameras around are from the local newspaper and the family members gathering treasures of memories for years to come. The top prize for each event was $400.00 for the team. The entry fee was $80.00. The winners just might have had enough to cover their entry fees and the cost of the soap needed to clean up themselves, their horses, and their gear when all was said and done. It was not enough to cover the unfortunate ones whose hat although pushed down tight on their head was dislodged during a scuffle with an uncooperative mother cow trying to be brought down and subdued. It was for the spirit of the competition and the fun memories and stories provided at their expense for the next generations and those of us lucky enough to witness the event. I will never forget it. I now realize how much of a city girl that I really am compared to these folks. But, I will continue to try to live by their example. I will not however, expect my horse to do so.

The end of the event was celebrated by handing over an envelope with cash along with ropes or headstalls to the extremely muddy but always grateful and humble cowboys with a soft applause from us spectators. There was no gloating by the winners, but lots of handshakes and congrats from fellow teams. Ironically, this years overall team winner included Justen Washburn. Justen’s sister Becky is a local veterinarian for Capitan. Her husband Tom who also happens to be a great roper, did a fabulous job announcing the events and joking about the cowboys and their various mishaps during the events. For those of you who don’t follow the PRCA, Justen Washburn is a PRCA world champion saddle bronc rider and has competed for many years on the tough but glamorous PRCA tours. He is also a camp instructor for the PRCA Championship Rodeo Camp. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that these are the types of roots that champions are made from nor does it surprise me that it is where this champion chose to return.

I Hope That You Had A Wonderful Independence Day!!

A special Thank you goes to Julie Carter for sending me some of her fabulous pictures. She is a talented author and photographer whose wonderful and humorous books inspired me to attempt to share with you life out here from my eastern point of view.

Best Wishes,


To contact Jenny Reed about land in New Mexico, please call 877-289-6650 or reach her at J Reed Hitching Post Land Company <>.

Win a Ruidoso ‘Get the Picture’ Getaway


Two lucky travelers may find themselves winners of a day at the races, dinner with the Flying J Wranglers and a couple of nights at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca – all in Ruidoso – when they register to play the “Get the Picture” photo challenge and upload at least one photo during June or July 2012.

The New Mexico Tourism Department is encouraging its citizens to get out and explore both the familiar and the obscure in its ongoing “Get The Picture” photo challenge and is offering a $10,000 grand prize for the effort.

As an added bonus, new contest registrants who sign up and upload at least one photo between June1 and July 31, 2012, will also be entered in the Ruidoso “Get the Picture” Giveaway, which includes:

  • A two-night stay for two in a spacious King Studio Suite at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso (blackout dates may apply, reservations required);
  • Full, hot breakfast for two each morning;
  • Two free admissions to the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs;
  • An evening for two at the famous Flying “J” Ranch Supper and Western Show, complete with chuckwagon fixins’, Western music, gunfights and much more (reservations required); and;
  • A day at Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino for two, complete with reservations to the Turf Club, race programs and lunch (blackout dates apply).

For official rules and regulations click here.

A random drawing in the Ruidoso “Get the Picture” Giveaway will be conducted from all eligible entries during the last week of July 2012.

Luxury awaits at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca. Guest will enjoy an array of amenities, including Ruidoso’s largest indoor pool, fitness center, on-site massage therapists and suites equipped with a full kitchen, fireplace, whirlpool and private balcony.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West, celebrating 20 years of excellence, is a monument to times and places that are not quite as far off as you may think. It is a living, exciting experience that has something for everyone.

For over 30 years, folks have been stepping back into the legendary era of the Great American Cowboy at the Flying J Ranch. They invite you to experience an evening of great chuck wagon cooking and western music much like cowboys would have enjoyed after a long day on the trail.

Enjoy live horse racing, hot slots, live entertainment, great food and much more at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino, located on US 70 in Ruidoso Downs. Live racing culminates Labor Day Weekend. The Billy the Kid Casino is open daily and features hot slots plus virtual blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em. The Summer Concert Series brings big name entertainers to the mountains while Billy’s Sports Bar & Grill features regional acts all summer.

North Africa in New Mexico

Barbary sheep run wild in the forest north of Vera Cruz Mountain Ranch. Also known as the aoudad, the Barbary is a horned sheep native to North Africa. They’re still located in very isolated mountainous areas in North Africa, but it was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, at first only raised in zoos and private sanctuaries. In 1950, the first animals were released into the wild, and they settled in to New Mexico. More were released in Texas around 1957, where they continue to thrive. These animals are indigenous to dry mountain ranges, usually deep in the desert. They are extremely agile, jumping from stone to stone and climbing steep inclines.


BarbaryMay21 206

BLM sites could see bump in admission fees

In an effort to maintain and improve facilities and services at three popular fee sites in the Las Cruces District, officials with the Bureau of Land Management are proposing to increase visitor fees in 2012, including at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site between Carrizozo and Tularosa.

It would be the first increase at the sites since 1996, when fees first were established. The other sites being considered are the Dripping Springs Natural Area and Aguirre Spring Campground in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces. The deadline to submit comments is Jan. 23. Read more at

The Carrizozo Chamber of Commerce Invites YOU to Celebrate New Mexico’s Centennial

Take a guided Tour of Lincoln County
Friday and Saturday, January 6 and 7, 2012
New Mexico’s Centennial Tour of Lincoln County

Friday, January 6, 2012, Carrizozo, Capitan and Alto’s Spencer Theater

Saturday, January 7, Ruidoso Downs’ Coe Ranch, Lincoln and Fort Stanton

Thursday and Sunday spend time touring Ruidoso sites and general area.

Friday, January 6, 2012
The tour bus will pick up participants at their Ruidoso hotel starting at 8:30 for the drive to Carrizozo. Lincoln County resident Dennis Dunnum will be your host as he explains some of the history of the area on our drive.

Our first stop will be at The Carrizozo Woman’s Club as the members host you with a 10 am brunch* in their registered state and national historic site building. At
the brunch 93-year-old Carrizozo historian Johnson Stearns will share with you some stories of the early times here from his own personal experiences.

Next will be a visit to the Carrizozo Heritage Museum to see exhibits of old-time ranch life and browse the unique gift store full of items of all kinds
for all ages. Formerly this building housed an old ice plant, so this structure is really considered to be a pretty cool place.

From the Museum we will drive down historic 12th Street with a stop at the 408 Gallery, home of the Burros of the Southwest, and enjoy original art available from folks in Town as well as the surrounding area.


Then it will be on to Roy’s Gift Gallery and Olde Time Ice Cream Parlour — the other registered state and national historic site in Town. Enjoy a sample of Roy’s goods from the original fountain built in 1908 and still in operation!
* The Woman’s Club brunch will be quite filling, so there is no planned stop for lunch — only refreshments at Roy’s and a snack before our last stop of the day.

As we leave Town on Highway 54/ Central Avenue, on your right is McDonald Park named in honor of the first Governor of New Mexico, William C. McDonald. Although the Gov is honored here, his resting place is in
White Oaks at the Cedarvale Cemetery.

Capitan’s visit will feature a stop at the Smokey Bear Museum and Park where
you can see a short film about the bear’s life-saving experience and
growth into a national fire fighter. Note: it’s Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear.
As we leave Capitan, we will drive by the planned renovation of the old Capitan train depot. The final stop on our way back to Ruidoso will be a guided tour of the
Spencer Theater. The Spencer family has been longtime ranchers in the Carrizozo area, and there are several structures in and around Town that are attributed directly to their generosity and desire to help the community as they lived and worked here.

Your return to your hotel will be around 5 p.m. when you can relax and enjoy dinner on your own.

Saturday, January 7, 2012
The tour bus will pick you up again from your hotel at 8:30. If the weather is inclement, the bus will drive you to each site where possible; otherwise, please wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers for what could be a chilly, but often sunny day in this Land of Enchantment.
After a short drive to the Coe Ranch on Highway 70 east, we will stop at this landmark and hear Lincoln Historian Drew Gomber explain the history of the Lincoln County area starting with this large ranch, which is an important part of this history.

From there, we will go to the historic Town of Lincoln for Drew’s tour of various places, including the Tunstall Store and Court House. This is really Billy the Kid Country, as you will hear. You should enjoy Drew as he has ‘a million’ tales about these former locale wild westerners he will share.
Then we will proceed to Fort Stanton for a true Mexican lunch, a presentation about the Fort and a guided tour of their sites. If the weather is inclement, we will be
able to see the main areas from inside the building where lunch will be served.

Anticipated return to Ruidoso will be around 5:30 p.m. as you enjoy the rest of your time in Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs with Chambers of Commerce details on sights to enjoy.

REGISTRATION for the Guided Tour of Lincoln County
Friday, January 6, and Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Celebration of New Mexico’s Centennial Per Person Covering:

  • Bus Transportation $48 To and from hotel both days
  • Tour Guide $10 Local Carrizozoan Dennis Dunnum
  • Woman’s Club brunch $22 Full and tasty food at historic site
  • Carrizozo Museum $10 Historical presentation of ranch life
  • Roy’s Ice Cream Parlour $10 Tasty treat at second historic site
  • Smokey Bear Museum $12 Historical movie of Smokey’s life
  • Snack before Spencer $ 5 Munch on bus; sodas at Theater
  • Coe Ranch $12 Old ranch with lots of area’s history
  • Tour of Lincoln $19 Lincoln County War and Billy the Kid
  • Fort Stanton $22 Tour and lunch
  • Total Cost $170 Per Person (less hotels)

The Lodge at Sierra Blanca is offering a special room rate of
$69.00 + tax Suites $79.00 + tax Phone: (575) 258-5500
Web site:
More information re this Chamber Tour? Call 575-973-1607 or visit to register today! (scroll down to Jan 6 event for form)


Lincoln County in December: Trunk Shows, Festivals and Cowboy Santa!

Christmas Santa

(Source: Ruidoso News)

December will see a flurry of events in Capitan for the young and old as the Capitan Public Library winds up to deliver three weekends of festivities and shopping.  The events kick off on Dec. 3 with the library’s bazaar, followed by the Not 2 Shabby shop’s trunk shows on the next two Saturdays, featuring an assortment of local artists and their works.  The Cowboy Santa Parade also will see its 15th year of western winter wonders as horses and marchers parade from the west end of Capitan, down Smokey Bear Boulevard, to the library on Dec. 10. Read more…