43rd Annual Shovel Races – Angel Fire New Mexico

Imagine sitting on an aluminum snow shovel and sliding down a mountain at 60 – 70 miles per hour. Well for 43 years people have been doing just that on the slopes of the Angel Fire Ski Resort. Unfortunately, my first visit to the World Famous Shovel Races looks like it will be the last time the event is being held. Organizers have said that lack of interest from participants, spectators and sponsors have forced them to make the difficult decision to cancel the event after this year. A decision that isn’t setting well with everyone.

  Customized shovels and signs supporting the return of the Shovel Races in 2021
Riders customize the look of their shovel to reflect their tastes and personality,
With the announcement of the final shovel races, participants and spectators showed up to demonstrate their support.

I spoke with a few racers about why they liked to shovel race and here’s what they said.

Shovel racing certainly isn’t for everyone, and some start younger than others but none the less, it can be a family affair and for me, an opportunity I won’t likely get a chance to try anytime soon.

With Speeds up to 65 MPH it takes a special person to ride a shovel down a ski hill
Getting started early probably helps in the long term development of a snow shovel rider.
The Angel Fire Trail Maintenance crew worked hard all day to keep the course in safe condition.
Some people stick with the basic shovel design.
It’s too bad organizers have decided to pull the plug on this unique and local event. Maybe someone will come along and be the catalyst to bring it back in 2021.

Link to Shovel Race Story on YouTube

Economic Development in Cimarron

In a Village the size of Cimarron, economic development is a very hot topic. Earlier in January the State of New Mexico and Lance Forest Products announced the relocation of their sawmill in Northern California to a industrial site here in the Village. While this is great news for the community, such as at least 40 new jobs, and the transformation of a vacant lot into a tax generating property, it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges.

The first of these is the drafting and passing of a LEDA (Local Economic Development Act) ordinance, which allows the municipality and the business interest to begin the slow process of applying for economic development grants, securing private financing, and establishing the basic legal framework for the deal to come to fruition. Currently the Village Council is waiting on Lance Forest Products to submit answers to a series of questions, both organizational as well as financial to minimize the number of amendments and related expenses (lawyers aren’t free) to the LEDA documents.

Ultimately the issue was tabled until the February 12th meeting allowing Lance Forest Products an additional two weeks to submit their answers. Village Administrator, Shawn Jefferies, was directed by the Counselors to contact Lance Forest Products and let them know the Village is ready to proceed as soon as they can get their information submitted.

Meanwhile back in Northern California, Lance Forest Products is disassembling their current sawmill and assisting their employees there with finding new jobs in the area. We will see how long it takes before they are turning logs into lumber and other related wood products here in Cimarron.

Cimarron Village Council Attorney replies to a question during a special session of the Council held on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
The Cimarron Village Council discusses the Proposed LEDA ordinance during a Public Hearing Prior to Wednesday’s Special Session.

Scouts BSA Girls Troop

In February 2019 the Boy Scouts of America allowed girls 11 – 18 years old to join their core program, Boy Scouts, and renamed the program Scouts BSA. Here in our little village of Cimarron, five young ladies formed Scouts BSA Troop 68 for girls. They are a linked Troop with Scouts BSA Troop 68 for boys. My wife and I volunteer with the girl’s Troop.

On, Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the girls held their first-ever Court of Honor, an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of each of the girls over the last year. You might notice in the photos that there are more than five girls present. The Troop has grown by a couple of young ladies, one that transferred to the Troop from a Troop in Utah and another that crossed-over from Cub Scout Pack 68 last May. The Troop will grow again in about two weeks when three new girls will cross-over from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA.

As an Eagle Scout myself, and the father of a couple of girls that would have loved this opportunity, I am very excited to see what these girls will accomplish in the program. I always thought allowing girls in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA was long overdue, particularly since girls ages 14 – 21 have been a part of the Explorer/Venturing program since the early 1970s.

Family and friends salute the U.S. Flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the opening ceremony of the Scouts BSA Troop 68 for girls, first-ever Court of Honor.
All seven members of Scouts BSA Troop 68 for girls participate in the opening ceremony of their first ever Court of Honor.
The girls of Scouts BSA Troop 68 planned and conducted their first-ever Court of Honor on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate the first-ever Court of Honor for Scouts BSA Troop 68 for girls.

New Field, New Name, New Sign

In 2019 volunteers used donated materials to create a new baseball/softball field in the Village of Cimarron. The field allows the Cimarron Rams to play home games for the first time in many years.

Life Scout Cullen O’Neil is a player on the CHS Baseball team, and is also a member of Scouts BSA Troop 68 working on his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. For his project he elected to design and construct new signage for the ball field.

The name, “Cimarron Philturn Field” pays homage to Waite Phillips who donated the land the field is on to the Village of Cimarron back in the 1940s. Phillips also donated approximately 120,000 acres of land to the Boy Scouts of America that is known today as Philmont Scout Ranch. Philturn, a combination of Phillips last name and the Boy Scouts motto of “Do a good turn daily,” was also the name of the first Scout Camp created in 1938 after the Phillips donation.

While the field was available for use in 2019, nearly every game scheduled was either cut short or cancelled due to weather. Let’s hope that 2020 will be a little kinder and the residents of Cimarron will soon hear an umpire yell, :Play Ball.”

Life Scout Cullen O’Neil of Troop 68 in Cimarron, presents design options to Village Council members as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project.
Members of the Cimarron Village Council review proposed signage for new baseball field.
The winning design for Cimarron’s new Philturn Field. Village Council members allowed Life Scout Cullen O’Neil to choose the design he liked best.