Cities need to celebrate tumbleweeds

By Jim Lee

Last week I wrote about tumbleweeds in our fair city. Coincidentally, a number of people have been talking about our favorite local nuisance of plant persuasion. So I decided to continue with the topic this week.
But this week I’m taking a different approach. Instead of cussing and spitting at the balls of flora bouncing happily in the hefty breezes, how about honoring these botanical buddies?
Before you call 911 to have me put away in the home for the terminally silly, bear in mind that what I’m about to bring up isn’t my idea. I ripped it off from my friend Dave Russell.
I’ve known Dave for years, but his idea verifies my opinion of his sanity status at long last. Dave proposes the establishment of the annual Portales Tumbleweed Festival.
The concept does bring up a number of really interesting possibilities. It could make people dream up a lot of creative uses for tumbleweed, magically transforming it from a pain-in-the-neck to an asset.
It could provide games for bored kids out of school for the summer. It could generate tourist dollars and publicize this great community of ours.
Last but not least, the festival just might be a fun thing to do.
In addition to the games, we could even have a big parade and start the Miss Tumbleweed Pageant, or have a Tumbleweed King and Queen.
As far as games are concerned, the possibilities are virtually endless. How about events like tumbleweed tossing or using a rake and a wad of tumbleweed for a game like New York stickball?
What about tumbleweed roping?
How about an event called Tumbleweed Tower in which contestants see who can build the tallest pile of tumbleweed?
Since tumbleweed can be edible when harvested at the right time, how about a tumbleweed cookoff? A tumbleweed poetry contest? Tumbleweed art? Tumbleweed hairstyles?
The Tumbleweed Derby has also been suggested, in which people race their tumbleweed through the city streets (no hands allowed) like a cross between soccer and a grand prix.
Considering that other communities in the region also have generous supplies of tumbleweeds, they could compete with parade floats and participate in all the events. The Chamber of Commerce could send press releases to national television shows, and it may even hit CNN on a slow news day.
Dave Russell just may have come up with a wonderful idea for Portales and Roosevelt County. Stranger things have happened. Remember the pet rock?
Yes, Dave could have a useful brain-blizzard here.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: