By Mickey Winfield, Freedom New Mexico
From peanuts to plows and bovines to barbecue, the 16th annual Ag Expo came to a close at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds on a sunny and fair Wednesday afternoon.
With Portalesï¿½ high temperature in the mid-to-high 60s, one might expect an increase in attendance, but Sharon King Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce executive director said attendance was actually significantly lower than last year.
According to King, this yearï¿½s expo brought nearly 3,000 attendees ï¿½ compared to more than 4,000 last year.
ï¿½It was gorgeous weather, but Iï¿½m told thatï¿½s probably why it was low,ï¿½ King said. ï¿½Whenever thereï¿½s such good weather, (people) go out and work instead of coming out here and spending money.ï¿½
But the unseasonably warm weather also allowed Jerry and Carolyn Franklin from Tucumcari to visit the final day of the Expo.
ï¿½This is the first time weï¿½ve been here in probably 10 years,ï¿½ Jerry said. ï¿½(We) found some new and interesting products and equipment to look at and things like that. We enjoy visiting with people, thatï¿½s the main thing, (we) get to see a lot of people that we donï¿½t see during the year.ï¿½
ï¿½The weather has been tremendous,ï¿½ said James Clark, the manager of a farm equipment company at the expo. ï¿½You couldnï¿½t ask for better.ï¿½
ï¿½Thereï¿½s a little something for everyone,ï¿½ Carolyn Franklin said. ï¿½Itï¿½s a beautiful day, so that was good, and we enjoyed it.ï¿½
Some notable events on the expoï¿½s last day included alternative crop use and production for the biofuels seminar, an eat-smart cooking class, antique tractor parades and the Bum Steer barbecue.
The Roosevelt County Sheriffï¿½s office also had a large presence on the expoï¿½s final day.
ï¿½Weï¿½re not out here from a security standpoint, because there are never any problems out here. Itï¿½s a great bunch of people that come out,ï¿½ Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker said Wednesday afternoon. ï¿½Anytime I can have a forum for my office, it gives us that opportunity to make that face-to-face connection.ï¿½
Elida resident Deena Kimman was impressed, not with the weather, but by the organization of the event.
ï¿½This is the first day weï¿½ve been able to make it,ï¿½ Kimman said. ï¿½Itï¿½s always so wonderful the way they put it together. It just flows very nicely.ï¿½
Expo attendees also had the opportunity to enter into a drawing for a red 16-foot stock trailer, valued at close to $4,000 which will be awarded on March 20.
Clovis resident Eric Palla brought his three boys, ages 7, 4 and 3, to the expo on Wednesday and said itï¿½s a nice event for the whole family.
ï¿½Itï¿½s great, the kids always have a good time,ï¿½ Palla said.
While the kids are entertained, the expo also serves a much larger, important role in the region.
ï¿½(This event) attracts people from all over the area and different states, and it just drives a lot of attention. We need to remember that agriculture is vital to this area and itï¿½s vital to our economy and to the nation as a whole,ï¿½ Kimman said.
Dave Burns, with Engineered Building Solutions, says the expo has been great for his bottom line.
ï¿½This is a small community and large companies donï¿½t like to go to small communities because they donï¿½t think that they can sell their products,ï¿½ Burns said. ï¿½Weï¿½ve probably got a little over $1.5 million worth of quotes out here (this week).ï¿½
ï¿½A lot of it is just maintaining relationships that you already have and hopefully getting some new business out of it,ï¿½ Clark said.