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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Officials get conflicting info on tickets stolen

Pecos police are investigating the theft of several thousand dollars worth of rodeo tickets sometime late Friday night, many of which were then sold by the thieves to people for the final night of this year’s rodeo on Saturday.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said, “We have spoken to several people about where they received the tickets when they were trying to utilize them at the ticket booth. We received eight different (ticket) sources, and some of them even indicated they didn’t buy the ticket, they were just handed the ticket.

“So as of today we don’t have any evidence leading us back to one or two people involved in the theft,” he added.

McKinney’s wife, West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee member Brenda McKinney, said two sections of tickets valued at $9 apiece were taken from the box office sometime following Friday’s performance. “We didn’t realize they were stolen until Saturday,” McKinney said.

A number of the tickets turned up in people’s hands on Saturday, as they attempted to use the stolen tickets to get into the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

“They were coming in with those tickets, and they were telling us they were purchasing them from other people,” Brenda McKinney said.

“Some people said a kid gave them their tickets, some people said it was a guy with a white moustache and some said it was a lady, so we don’t know who it was,” Clay McKinney said.

Both the police and Reeves County sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate the theft, and along with rodeo committee members talked to the people who attempted to get in with the stolen tickets.

“We had one person say they purchased the ticket out front from somebody, but we weren’t able to catch them,” Brenda McKinney said.

“It had to have happened Friday evening after we closed,” she said. “The tickets were in the area where we sell tickets, and the ladies (in the ticket booth) were gone maybe 10-15 minutes, so it wasn’t broke into.

“We figure somebody slipped their hand in there and grabbed the tickets. When she returned it was still locked, but somebody with long arms could have gotten their hands in there, and we didn’t discover it until we started with early Saturday ticket sales,” McKinney added.

The committee was able to reproduce the tickets using a different color, and checked for the stolen ticket numbers at the gate on Saturday.

“We knew what could come in as far as the ticket numbers and what couldn’t,” she said. “But it was pretty crowded at the gate, with all the people jammed up at the window, so we figure some got through that we didn’t catch. But we caught quite a number of them.”

As far as those who were caught with the stolen tickets, Brenda McKinney said, “We weren’t turning them away, but we were asking them to pay us, because we knew they were stolen. At $9 a ticket, that’s between $3,000 and $4,000 lost to the committee that helps us pay all our bills.”

The theft was the second major incident in the past four years at the West of the Pecos Rodeo. In 2004, a box containing between $10,000 and $12,000 in cash and checks was stolen from the press box at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, also following the Friday night performance of the rodeo.

Police seek more details on drowning at city pool

A 14-year-old boy from Mexico drowned Friday night at the Town of Pecos City’s Athletic Pool at Maxey Park, and Pecos Police are still trying to piece together the circumstances that led to his death.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said officials were withholding the boy’s name, pending notification of his parents. The boy was staying with family members in Pecos reportedly while his parents were traveling between Mexico and Oklahoma City.

According to unconfirmed reports, the 14-year-old was with two cousins on Friday night, when they went to a private party being held at the pool by Elena Vasquez for her family. The party was scheduled to end at 11 p.m., but at 10 p.m. the pool was cleared by lifeguards on duty due to lighting in the area.

“They were allowed back in at 10:30 and then 5-10 minutes later a little boy said someone was at the bottom of the pool,” city manager Joseph Torres said. “The lifeguard pulled him out and started doing CPR,” city parks department director Adolfo Ruiz said. Pecos EMS crews were called and continued doing CPR at the site and continued to work on the teen in the ambulance, but were unable to get a pulse. He was transported to the emergency room at Reeves County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before midnight.

Officials who arrived at the scene were told none of the people who originally had been at the pool party knew who the 14-year-old was. At the time the EMS crews, Pecos police and Reeves County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Athletic Pool, they were unable to locate any family members who could give them the identity of the teen.

Officials were unable to interview the cousins of the 14-year-old at the athletic pool, but family members were later located and came to the hospital emergency room, where they were informed of the boy’s death.

Police interviewed some of the family members at the hospital, and again on Monday morning, but did not have a complete report on the incident available as of early Monday afternoon.

As of Monday, officials did not know if the teen fell into the pool or hit his head while in the pool. However, Ruiz said the lifeguard who performed the CPR said he could smell alcohol mixed with the pool water in the teen while doing mouth-to-mouth respiration.

Police could not confirm on Monday morning that alcohol was involved, but McKinney did say the body has been sent off for autopsy and toxicology tests. Workers at the pool when the party was going on said there was no alcohol at the pool during the party. Torres said the form used by the city for private party rentals of the pool stipulates that no alcohol is allowed on the premises, and that the city is not responsible for any injuries that may be incurred during the time of the rental.

However, as a result of the drowning, Torres said “We’re going to be closing the pool for private parties for the rest of the year. It will still be open for regular hours. It’s not going to be closed, but we won’t rent it out for private parties.”

N.M. reports Pecos River pipeline completed

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – The completion of a 10-mile pipeline near Carlsbad will help New Mexico meet its obligations under a settlement over Pecos River water.

The Seven Rivers pipeline, which started construction a year ago, stretches from the Seven Rivers area 18 miles north of Carlsbad to Brantley Lake on the Pecos River.

It has the capacity to deliver more than 15,750 acre-feet of water a year to the river as required under the terms of the settlement. An acre-foot, about 326,000 gallons, can meet the annual water needs of one to two U.S. households.

The project is one of several actions New Mexico has taken to make up a water deficit to Texas under the 1947 Pecos River Compact that assured part of the water to both states.

Texas sued New Mexico in 1974, claiming New Mexico was keeping too much water. In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled New Mexico hadn't sent enough water downstream for 34 years and ordered it to pay back the water debt.

As part of that, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission has bought water rights along the Lower Pecos River and left farms fallow to send the water downstream.

The state, the Carlsbad Irrigation District, the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District and the federal government entered into a settlement in 2003 to end 50 years of litigation and help the state comply with the Pecos River Compact.

"We are not done with the settlement agreement," Estaban Lopez, director of the Interstate Stream Commission, said on June 23 at ceremonies marking the end of the construction. He said the pipeline and associated well field are major components, and that "I'm confident that within the next few months we will finally get to the full implementation of the agreement."

Lopez said the pipeline project will help the state meet its interstate compact requirements as well as will improve the water supply outlook for the Carlsbad Irrigation District.

Jim Renfrow, Pecos River commissioner for New Mexico, said the state has a water delivery credit with Texas of more than 90,000 acre-feet. However, the credit could be wiped out in two to three years if drought conditions continue, he said.

"That is why the Pecos settlement is so important," he said. "The Seven Rivers well field and pipeline project will serve a crucial role in avoiding any future potential shortfalls."

Rodeo Hall welcomes five new members

Five new members of the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame were inducted on Friday morning, during a ceremony at the Hall’s pending home at the former Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot.

Part of the depot was open for displays of the past inductees before Friday’s ceremony, the first induction into the Hall in two years. Wanda Harper Bush, Charles Good, Jiggs Barfield, Walter “Big Walt” Poage and Roy Cooper were this year’s inductees.

Of the five new inductees, Barfield and Poage were inducted posthumously, while Bush and Cooper were unable to attend Friday’s ceremony.

Good was the lone inductee able to attend. He competed in Pecos from 1960 through 2000, and is a past PRCA champ in steer roping and in senior competition. “This is a real moment for me,” said Good, whose family members and brother Billy Frank were in attendance. He talked about his memories of coming down from New Mexico to past Pecos rodeos.

“We thought this was the fanciest place in the world. We’d go over to Ben’s and eat Mexican food, and thought we were living high on the hog,” he said.

“I’ve got good memories of Buck Jackson. He always had something to day and was a good cow trader,” Good said of the longtime Pecos rodeo announcer who the arena was later named after. “When the barrel racers would run he would always take 2-3 years off their age.”

Good also talked about his memories of Barfield, who died in 1997. “Jiggs furnished the cattle out here for the roping, and Jiggs always believed in furnishing cattle that could get away,” he said.

“Dad sure did like furnishing cattle for steer roping and team roping,” said his son John, who accepted the award at the ceremony. “He drew a lot of the good cowboys, and a lot of the time they were hoping they missed. That was kind of his philosophy; he thought the cow should have a chance to get away.”

Jiggs Barfield also competed in the Pecos rodeo in team roping and team tying for 40 years, from 1953 through 1993. He and John won the final team tying competition held in Pecos, in 1975.

“It was so important a week, when the Fourth of July came he’d shut the ranch down,” John Barfield said.

“He started competing, and after that our place became a practice stop on the PRCA circuit,” he said. “I got to rope with some really good ropers.

The other posthumous induction was of Poage, who died in 1995. His son Bud accepted the award, and talked about how much the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo was part of his family’s life.

“I knew July 4 was the Pecos Rodeo when I was 3-years-old. I knew it was Independence Day when I was 7,” he said. “If you asked my daddy which was the best rodeo, it was always Pecos.

Cooper is the only inductee still active in roping, and was traveling with his sons, who also rope, this past weekend. The former Pecos area cowboy competed between 1976 and 1995 in steer roping, calf roping and team roping, and won both PRCA Rookie of the Year and the World’s Championship in calf roping in 1976.

Tuffy Cooper, who served as his son’s coach, said “He wanted to be a roper when he was young,” and that his sons are following in the family tradition. “He’s hauling kids to Santa Fe, N.M., then to Clayton, N.M. and then back here tomorrow (Saturday) night.”

“It’s a great thing for me to see all these guys. There’s probably no other sport where people are so close-knit,” Cooper added. “It’s a great experience, and I recommend for the young kids to enjoy your passion for rodeo, because you ride each other’s horses, travel together and root for each other to win.”

Bush, who lives in San Angelo, competed in Pecos from 1957 through 1985, and won the event three times, including the 50th edition held in the late 1970s. Overall she won 32 championships in WPA and WPRA events.

“Probably nobody would have appreciated this more than she,” said Wanda Driver, who accepted the award for Cash. She said the 50th edition buckle Cash won is currently on display at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.

West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee President Joe Keese served as master of ceremonies for the induction, and began by going through the history of the Hall and the efforts led by John Rediger to get the project going, which included getting Union Pacific Railroad to donate the depot to the Town of Pecos City. The depot was then turned over to the Hall of Fame Committee in 2003.

“We’ve been working for several years on this trying to figure out what to do,” Keese said. The 2006 induction was held in the unrestored west end of the depot, while this year’s event was held on the lawn outside the depot’s east end, where a small section has been restored and set up as an exhibition area.

“We’ve worked several years with the architects to get this building remodled in a historic restoration, but we’ve decided to go forward on the Hall and not so much on the building,” he said. “We’ve been moving forward, and each year we see a little more progress. I think it will be a great facility for the legends we have housed here.”

Riders repeat as Pecos Rodeo winners

Back-to-back titles in an event at the West of the Pecos Rodeo don’t happen all that often. So the final results of the 2008 rodeo were even rarer, as last year’s champions in all three roughstock events were able to come away with victories again, following Saturday night’s final performance.

Bobby Mote shared his title for the second year in a row in the bareback riding, this time with Tilden Hooper, while Fred Boetcher, who shared his title a year ago and Cody DeMoss won outright championships in bull riding and saddle bronc riding, after no one was able to top their scores from the second night of the rodeo.

Mote, who is also the defending National Finals Rodeo champ and the current leader in the 2008 standings, scored 87 points on Grass Dancer during Wednesday’s opening performance, and Hooper rode the same horse to that score two nights later. Both cowboys earned $3,285 for their wins, while third place went to Evan Jayne, who was one point behind and earned $2,108 for his 86-point ride on Big Lights.

Boetcher, who rode on Thursday, scored 90 points on Hood Figure to pick up his second Pecos victory in as many years. It was worth $4,489 and was three points better than Soul Shanklin and L.L. Jenkins, who also rode on Thursday. Shanklin scored his 87 points on board the bull Country, while Jenkins rode Air Up There for the required eight second to earn a tie for second and $2,992.

DeMoss also was a Thursday rider, but won his second straight saddle bronc title on a re-ride, just prior to Boetcher’s winning effort. DeMoss scored 88 points on Hard Drive to finish one points ahead of Bryce Miller, who scored 86 points on Little River. The win was worth $4,147 to DeMoss and $3,179 to Miller. Former Pecos Rodeo champ Billy Etbauer tied for third with Dustin Flundra, who had the rodeo’s final ride on Saturday. Both scored 86 points, Etbauer on board Centerfold and Flundra riding Ginger Snap, and each took home $1,935.

While the roughstock riders were repeats from last year, overall the cowboys this year had trouble placing high in more than one event. Monty Eakin of Midland took home his first All-Around Cowboy title for Pecos, based on the most money won in multiple events. Eakin’s $1,501, won in tie-down roping, while he placed high enough in steer roping without earning any money to earn this year’s title.

Eakin got his money from a third place in the second go-round of tie-down, which was won by Bud Ford with an 8.9 second time, to 9.3 for Kurt Henderson and 9.4 for Eakin. Ford earned $2,032 for his win, the same as first go winner Scott Komos and Average winner Joseph Parsons, while Henderson took home $1,767.

Komos had an 8.7 second time in the first go, while Parsons won with a combined 20.8 second time in his two attempts. Clint Cooper tied for second in the first go with Parsons, both with 9.9 second times, and each earned $1,534; while Cooper shared second in the average and the same payout with Fred Whitfield, after both had 21.1 second times for their two attempts.

In steer wrestling, Bill Pace won the second go-round on the final attempt of the night Saturday, taking down his steer in 4.6 seconds, while first go-round winner Mickey Gee was able to tie for fourth in the second go, and won the average and a pair of $1,901 first prize payouts. Gee’s 4.2 second time was the overall best of the rodeo, and allowed him to win with a 9.2 second total, while Pace tied with Chancey Larson for second in the average at 10.1 seconds and shared $1,409 in prize money.

Chad Kelly, who had taken the second go lead just before Pace’s ride, was second there with a 4.7 time and won $1,573, while Clayton Hess was third, with a 4.9 second time, good for $1,245. In the first go, second and third were shared by Billy Bugeing and Jule Hazen, both of whom had 4.6 times and won $1,409. In steer roping, Rod Hartness won the average with a 43.2 combined time on three attempts, and also took the second go, with an 11.5 time. Both were worth $1,788. Lawson Plemmons picked up that same amount with a win in the third go-round, thanks to an 11.6 second effort. Leo Campbell and Buster Record tied for second there, and pocketed $1,325 apiece, while Scott Snedecor and Rocky Patterson shared the first go title with 12 flat times and won $1,634.

Snedecor also won second in the average, with a 45.6 time, and earned $2,219, and was third in the second go, with a 12.4 time, and won $1,171. Landon McCaugherty’s 11.6 second time was good for second there, and won $1,479, while Record placed third in the average, with a combined 48.7 time, and earned $1,757, and Beau Byers and Paul Patton shared third in the first go-round, with 12.9 times, worth $1,017.

Travis Tryan and Michael Jones were also double first place winners, taking the average in team roping with a combined 14.7 second time after winning the second go-round with a 6.4 second effort, the best overall for this year’s rodeo. They each won $1,803 in both the second go and the average, while the first go went to Derrick Begay and Victor Aros, with a 6.7 second time.

Martin Lucero and JoJo Leonard were second in the average at 15.9 seconds and won $1,568, while Justin and Matthew Ingle were third in the average, at 15.9 seconds, and third in the second go, with a 7.2 time, and won $1,332 apiece in both efforts. Second in the second go was won by Justin Yost and Jory Levy, with a 7.1 second time, while in the first go, runners-up were David Motes and Richard Durham with a 7.4 second time, and third went to Chance Kelton and Boogie Ray, with a 7.5 time.

Two West Texas cowgirls won the top two spots in barrel racing. Stephanie Fryar of Big Spring captured the title with a 17.62 second ride on Thursday night, earning her $3,160, while Terra Bynum of Colorado City, who rode during Tuesday’s slack competition, placed second, with a 17.70 time, and won $2,528. Another Tuesday rider, Shali Lord, was in third, .01 behind Bynum, and took home $2.054.

This year’s rodeo got off to a hot start, as far as temperatures were concerned, but clouds on both Friday and Saturday evenings brought temperatures below triple digits by the time the nightly performances started. Rains dotted the area throughout Rodeo Week this year, but stayed away from the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena except for a few brief sprinkles on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

Commissioners asked to restore RCDC position

Relocating voting boxes to different sites, and the restoration of a position at the Reeves County Detention Center were topics of discussion during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Friday morning at the courthouse.

Reeves County Detention Center I&II Warden Martin McDaniel was on hand to discuss the position of for Human Resources Specialist that is currently open at the facility.

“This was a position that we used to have and it was taken away,” said McDaniel. “Now we feel like we need another person in that office and want to advertise for it.”

“We feel it’s important to help process these applicants,” he said, adding that he already had administration post the position.

“We already have quite a few applicants, both from inside the facility and the community,” McDaniel said, and officials are hopeful they will get a good applicant that will fit the needs of the facility.

The Human Resources post is one of many open at the RCDC, where the lack of available housing and higher paying jobs available in the oil and gas drilling industry have left the prison with about a third of its available jobs open.

“Are the numbers about the same out there?” asked Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras.

“Yes, we still have about 63-64 percent, but we have a pretty good academy,” said McDaniel. “They will be taking the test and hope that they can join us.”

McDaniel said that they are actively trying to recruit more applicants and have set up a billboard in El Paso.

“We have had about 17 calls and we’re also trying to do something about the housing to help out these folks,” said McDaniel.

In the action on polling sites, the commissioners discussed and approved relocating the Reeves County Election Voting Box 12 from the Texas-New Mexico Power Reddy Room on Stafford Boulevard to the Reeves County Hospital lobby on Texas Street.

Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez said that they were asking for the move because the TNMP administration told them that they hold their meetings there and don’t know when they will need that room.

“The meetings sometimes coincide with elections,” she said.

Florez said that the Reeves County Hospital Board had already approved having the box moved to the hospital during elections.

She also requested that they relocated voting box 5 from the Balmorhea Fire Hall to the new Balmorhea Community Center on the east side of town.

“Since they completed the center, we feel that it would be more comfortable there,” said Florez. “At the fire hall, sometimes they would be called out to a fire during elections.”

Relocating voting Box 7 from the Reeves County Library to another location was tabled during the meeting.

“The librarian feels that she has a lot of things in there and would like for that voting box to be moved,” said Florez.

Florez told the group that that box used to be at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Parish and that she is currently trying to contact somebody to see if the church can again be used as the Box 7 site.

“We’re trying to see if we can move it back there,” said Florez.

“What’s the deadline?” asked Contreras.

“We can try to get it done by next commissioners court, because I have to turn in all the changes to Austin,” said Florez.

“Also, are we going to use the courthouse lobby during early voting?” asked Florez.

Half of the front lobby has been turned in to an area that those looking up records and needing copies can use.

“We have all those tables and partitions, it’s been really busy and I know we will continue to need that space,” said Florez.

She said that her office has been so busy, mainly due to records searches connected to oil and natural gas drilling, and that it has been bringing in revenue to the county.

“It’s been very convenient to have that addition, but we need to discuss if we will keep it or not, because the voting machines take up a lot of space also,” said Florez.

“That’s something we will have to look in to,” said Contreras.

Commissioners also heard from the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department and their plans to apply for a grant from the Texas Forest Service.

Pecos Volunteer Fire Department Chief Freddy Contreras said that they applied for this grant every year.

“Since the county is paying for half of our budget, the city thought it would be a good idea to make this presentation,” said Freddy Contreras.

The funds will be used to allow volunteer firefighters to attend the annual seminar held at Texas A&M.

“We usually have about six to eight that they 100 percent of it,” said the fire chief.

The grant also provides other funding which goes towards needed equipment, according to the chief.

Personnel and salary changes included: new hires at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, Andrew Lopez, jailer/full-time, at $31,179 and Joe Ray Flores, jailer/part-time at $12 an hour; at the Reeves County Recreation Department, Stephanie Herrera, office aide, part-time, at $8 an hour; Reeves County Detention Center III, new hires, correctional officers, Roman Becerra, Kenneth Rayos and Brittany Lobstein at $31,179; Michael Sticht, education, GEO employee, $42,500 and Jesus Contreras, disciplinary officer, $42,457; at RI-II, Heather Archuleta, unit clerk, at $29,411; Bianca Espudo, mail room clerk, $22,214; Manuel Quintana, correctional officer, $31,179; promotions at RI-II, Cynthia Celedon, business officer clerk, $31,179; Jose Maynez, case manager, $32,115; Tracy Ramirez, operations clerk, $29,411; Esequiel Gurrula, activities lieutenant, $40,053; correctional officers, Leticia Acosta, Antonio Carrillo and Trena Jurado, $31,179 and Monica Rivera, procurement specialist, $37,800; at the Reeves County Golf Course, Tony Muniz, part-time, $8 an hour.

Davis receives Centenarian Award, visits Pecos

Ora Mae Davis, 102 years old, and her son, Jim Davis of Kermit had the opportunity to see the 125th West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade.

The two were guests of Bill and Sib Higginbotham of Pecos.

Ora Mae is the sister of the late Annie B. Hollis of Pecos.

Her 102nd birthday was June 22 and she received a Centenarian 2008 Award from the Office of the Area Agency on Aging of the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission in May 2008.

Davis was born June 22, 1906, in Stanton, the daughter of an early Jal homesteader, J.H. and Bessie Medlin.

She attended a teachers’ college or normal school, and started teaching in a two-room school in Jal.

Davis taught all grades and all subjects.

In 1930, she married George Davis, who died in 1993 at the age of 98.

She ended her teaching career to raise a family of four boys, the oldest three of whom attended Jal schools.

The family lived in Jal until 1949, when they moved to Cisco, where they purchased and operated a motel.

Eventually, they moved to Kermit in 1976.

The boys are George, of Gainesville, Leland E. of St. Cloud, Minn.; Jim of Kermit, and Glenn of Hartford, Conn.

She has seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

She is still active, going to church, the Senior Citizen’s Centers and other events in Kermit and Jal.

Going to the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade is one of her favorite annual traditions.

Natividad deployed for third time to Iraq

Staff Sgt. Jaime Natividad was deployed to Iraq on June 13 and this is his third tour to the war zone.

He is a Pecos High School graduate and is one of three siblings now serving in the U.S. Army.

His sister, Rosario, will be joining him in Iraq in October.

Natividad is married to Rebecca Chaves of Pecos and the couple have three children, Samantha, Elijha and Joel.

He is the son of Ruben and Margarita Natividad and they are asking the community for their prayers so that he may return home safely.

Shaw, Medina announce wedding plans

Ronnie Shaw and Berta Medina will exchange wedding vows this weekend.

The couple plan to wed at 6 p.m., Saturday, 5, at Saragosa Hall.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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