By Mike Linn
A wisecracking stuffed dog wheeling around the Portales square in a fire truck? It earned a plethora of attention from curious children — and a few adults — on Thursday.
But many of the interested onlookers were unaware of how a stuffed animal could be so witty and such a talented driver.
Little did they know the masterminds behind the ploy were inconspicuously standing 20 yards away, Fire Chief Steve Beaty controlling the truck and Fire Marshal Mike Running controlling the dog’s humorous one liners.
The two firefighters added another dimension to the party-like atmosphere near the Roosevelt County Courthouse, where Amarillo’s Newschannel 10 broadcast its 5 p.m. news.
The gathering saw several forms of entertainment: water balloon volleyball, local bands, cheerleaders from Floyd schools and a Blackwater Draw children’s dig site.
“It’s a little hot, but it’s a great time,” Robert Pacheco said. “It’s good to see so many people turn out to represent Portales and Roosevelt County.”
The TV news station’s broadcast in Portales was among five it plans to conduct in New Mexico cities this week.
For the Blackwater children’s dig site, city officials dropped a truckload of dirt on the southeast corner of the courthouse parking lot.
Blackwater Draw employees then guided children in uncovering buried archaeological artifacts.
“The kids are having a great time here,” said Robin Gillespie, an archaeology major at Eastern New Mexico University. “It’s a great opportunity for us to teach the children the various aspects of what we do.”
About 50 yards away children had another source of entertainment courtesy of Josie Thomas, operator of Josie’s Jumps.
Children were bouncing in the jump tent, and according to Thomas spending a good deal of energy.
“They’re getting exhausted — they’re guaranteed to have a good night’s sleep,” Thomas said.
“This is great for Portales to be recognized to people watching the news channel. We had a great turnout.”