NFL star buys Tucumcari dealership

By Chelle Delaney: Freedom Newspapers

TUCUMCARI — There’s a new bear in town from Chicago.

Brian Urlacher Cross Country Auto Sales is purchasing the Mills-Strebeck Autoplex on Lake Road.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bears linebacker’s car business took over the management and is purchasing the dealership, said John Everhart, general manager of the new Cross Country operation. He declined to disclose details of the purchase.

The new owners will sell GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac vehicles, he said.

None of the eight employees will lose their jobs under the new ownership. “We’ll eventually go to 17,” Everhart said, adding that most of the new positions would be in the service and parts department.

The acquisition gives Cross Country a General Motors outlet and used car center, Everhart said.

Development of the Ute Lake Ranch and other growth in Quay County is what made the purchase attractive, he said.

Urlachler has used-car sales operations bearing his Cross Country name in Lovington and two in Albuquerque, Everhart said.

The 2.5-acre operation will have better lighting, and other improvements will be in the offices and signage, Everhart said. The Mills-Strebeck sign was taken down Thursday and the new sign was installed on Friday.

In time, there will a grand opening and visits by Urlacher, Everhart said.

A Lovington native, Urlacher is a University of New Mexico graduate. He signed with the Chicago Bears in 2000 and has a contract that runs through 2011.

Urlacher is featured in the Oct. 23 issue of ESPN the Magazine and in Nike’s current “Football is everything” series of commercials.

He anchors a Chicago defense that has given up just two touchdowns this season while helping the team compile a 5-0 record.