18th Annual Cowboy Days
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s 18th Cowboy Days festival will have some extra flavor.
The Museum in Las Cruces has added the first-annual Cowboy Days Chili Cook-off, sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), to its exciting, two-day schedule of activities. Cowboy Days is March 4-5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for everyone 5 and older. There are no passes or coupons for this event.
The public is invited to sample the chili entries beginning at 2 p.m. on March 4 and noon on March 5. The cost to sample all of the entries is $5. CASI-sanctioned chili cook-offs are intended to bring local communities and competitive cooks together to raise awareness of the awesomeness of chili and raise funds for local charities. This cook-off will benefit the ACTion Program for Animals in Las Cruces and the Friends of the Museum.
While chili is the main category in the cook-off, there also will be competition for cooking beans, and for making salsa on Saturday. The cook-off is open to anyone. The beans and salsa competitions have no rules and can be pre-made. The sanctioned chili competition has rules in that it has to be made on-site and cannot have "fillers" such as beans, peppers, hominy, etc. -- only the meat and sauce. The turn-in time for salsa is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and beans is 12 p.m. on Saturday. The chili turn-in time is 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday. A saloon tent featuring beer will be part of the chili cook-off area.
“These CASI cook-offs are such fun events,” said Stephanie Johnson-Burick, who is organizing the cook-off. “It’s an opportunity to compete and enjoy the fellowship of others while raising funds for local charities. We (the cooks) compete in order to win points to qualify for the Terlingua International Chili Competition, which is considered the "granddaddy" of chili cook-offs and held the first Saturday of November. There is lots of camaraderie among the cooks and we are always looking for new members to join us. We are also a 501 (c) (3) organization.”
Another new activity for Cowboy Days is horseshoes. Families also will enjoy the many children’s activities, as well as pony rides ($5), mechanical bull rides ($3), miniature train rides ($3), stagecoach rides (free), gold panning, chuck wagon cooking, and other demonstrations, including blacksmithing, wood carving, weaving, and wool spinning.
The Borderland Pistoleros Mounted Shooting group returns to Cowboy Days and will demonstrate their skills of shooting from horseback in the Museum’s roping arena twice each day. The Museum’s livestock staff hosts the popular Parade of Breeds program twice each day, as well. Each of the museum’s seven different breeds of beef cattle will be brought into the round pen individually where each breed’s unique characteristics and history will be discussed.
Enchantment Historical Productions will provide the popular Old West Thunder gunfight re-enactments each day at noon, and will put on the 19th-Century Fashion Show, and a musical play called “Pangur Ban’s Irish Story and Song.”
Pat Howard of Las Cruces will have his herding dogs at the Museum on Sunday-only for demonstrations, and there will be a plant sale both days. Arts and crafts vendors, and food vendors also will be part of the event.
Several of the area’s top cowboy singers and musicians will perform, and members of the Western Writers of America will be on hand to sign and discuss their books. Musical performers include Kenny Arroyos, Eddy Harrison, Voz Vaqueros, Washtub Jerry and the Ramblin’ Rangers. The featured authors are Melody Groves, Ralph Estes and Stephen Zimmer.
Other participants at Cowboy Days include cowboy cook Dave Harkness, the Back Country Horsemen, and Fort Selden.
For more information about Cowboy Days in general, call (575) 522-4100. For more information about the Chili Cook-Off, please contact Stephanie Johnson-Burick at (575) 649-8487 or email her at email@example.com.
Sponsors for Cowboy Days include: The Friends of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Tharp Farm, Mayberry Farms, T-4 Cattle Company, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces, and Kohl's of Las Cruces.
Saturday, March 4
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $5 for everyone 5 and older
Ongoing activities: Arts & crafts vendors, food vendors, CASI Chili Cook-Off and beer saloon (chili public tasting from 2-3 p.m. - $5), Museum children’s games and craft activities, Fort Selden children’s activities, plant sale, gold panning, miniature train rides ($3), mechanical bull rides ($3), living history characters, Back Country Horsemen, horseshoe games, the music of Kenny Arroyos, and demonstrations, including chuck wagon cooking, blacksmithing, wool spinning, weaving and wood carving.
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Pony rides near the Horse & Cattle Barn ($5).
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Voz Vaqueros singing group in the Courtyard.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Stagecoach rides in front of the Bruce King Building.
11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Author Stephen Zimmer in the Theater.
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Borderland Pistoleros Mounted Shooting in the Roping Arena.
11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Ramblin’ Rangers musical group in the Courtyard.
12 p.m. to 12:40 p.m.: Old West Thunder gunfight re-enactments in the Heritage Garden.
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Parade of Breeds in the Round Pen.
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Pony rides near the Horse & Cattle Barn. ($5)
12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Washtub Jerry performs in the Courtyard.
1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Author Melody Groves in the Theater.
1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Eddy Harrison performs in the Courtyard.
2 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.: Pangur Ban’s Irish Story and Song in the Theater.
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Public tasting for the CASI Chili Cook-Off. ($5)
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Parade of Breeds in the Round Pen.
2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Ramblin’ Rangers musical group in the Courtyard.
2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.: Author Ralph Estes in the Theater.
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Borderland Pistoleros Mounted Shooting in the Roping Arena.
3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Washtub Jerry performs in the Courtyard.
3:30 p.m.: Awards announced for Chili Cook-off and salsa and bean contests.
3:30 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.: 19th Century Fashion Show in the Theater.
4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Eddy Harrison performs in the Courtyard.
*Schedule subject to change