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GOODWILL MELON FEAST - Artesia Chamber of Commerce member Bennie Mason, left, lends a helping hand to Loco Hills residents Daryl Burks, center, and James Moore during the Thursday evening watermelon feast and goodwill visit to the rural community. A number of Artesia chamber members and city businessmen participated in the annual goodwill trip, bringing favors for the kids and door prizes for all. (Daily Press File Photo)

GOODWILL MELON FEAST – Artesia Chamber of Commerce member Bennie Mason, left, lends a helping hand to Loco Hills residents Daryl Burks, center, and James Moore during the Thursday evening watermelon feast and goodwill visit to the rural community. A number of Artesia chamber members and city businessmen participated in the annual goodwill trip, bringing favors for the kids and door prizes for all. (Daily Press File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from Aug. 30 – Sept. 5.

40 years ago
Aug. 30 – Sept. 5, 1975

Artesia’s Bulldogs lost 23 seniors from last year’s football squad. But as far as District 4-AAA coaches are concerned, that isn’t enough. Artesia won everything last season – the district championship, the postseason playoffs, the Class 3A state championship, and all the coin flips in between. And although Coach Mike Phipps has an inexperienced team back this year, the Bulldogs appear to be the team to beat in their second season in the district.

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As reported in the Pinon News: School started Thursday with Mrs. Dorthey Williamson from Timberon, driving the Timberon and Pinon bus. Friday, she was unable to get to school. Fred Gage, one of the teachers, drove the bus from Pinon to Weed, taking the Pinon children to school. The school system has two buses. A mini bus to carry the children from Timberon to Pinon, then they with the Pinon children get on the big bus to go on to Weed. On the return trip all the children travel back to Pinon where the driver leaves the Pinon children and the big bus. He takes the mini bus from there.

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A total of 3,435 students were enrolled in the Artesia Public Schools Tuesday, according to school administration officials. The number is down 14 from the 3,449 students enrolled on the same day one year ago. In comparison, 3,447 students were enrolled at the beginning of the 1974-75 school year, and a total of 3,436 were enrolled at the end of that school year.

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“Our goal the past 95 days has been to beat Goddard. Tonight, we’ve got a chance to reach that goal.” That’s the way Mike Phipps, second-year head football coach at Artesia High School, summed up his feelings about tonight’s season opener against Roswell Goddard. Steve Starkey will start at center tonight for the Bulldogs. The 170-pound junior won the center position during preseason competition and will play a vital role in the success of the Bulldog offense this season.

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Artesia has never lost a football game to the Goddard Rockets but have come close to losing once. In 1973, the Bulldogs pulled out a last-second, 6-0 triumph over the Rockets in Roswell, the closest game the two teams have played.

30 years ago
Aug. 30 – Sept. 5, 1985

Artesia, Ruidoso vie in hot weather opener. So, bring you shorts and portable air conditioners. The Bulldogs won both 1984 matchups with the Warriors, taking a regular-season victory and playoff triumph as well. Ruidoso was impressive in both games, and knowing full well the Warriors played a lot of juniors last year, Bulldog coach T.W. Harvey and his staff know they will face an experienced squad tonight. Ruidoso coach Cooper Henderson turned the Warrior program around last year and has the home folks buzzing this fall. There’s a lot of interest in Ruidoso football again, and a lot of that interest probably will be in the east bleachers tonight. “It ought to be a good ballgame,” says Henderson, the leader of the Artesia Mafia in Ruidoso, which is comprised of himself and assistant coaches Ronny Maskew and Clendon Kirkpatrick. Henderson played ball here, Maskew played and coached here, and Kirkpatrick, an assistant at Aztec a year ago, is an ex-Bulldog. It also is Henderson’s first trip back to the old stomping ground as the opposing coach. Last year’s duo of battles were his first against his alma mater as a coach.

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Excavation work at the Brantley Dam site south of Artesia is expected to continue at least through October, according to Larry King, project director. “We should be through with the excavation work by October,” King said, “and start the embankment building the earthen portion of the dam. We’ll be doing a little bit of that before long, but we’ll really get into it in November.” Completion of the dam is still two years down the road, and only when the dam is able to hold water will any activity take place at Lake McMillan, King said.

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The Ruidoso Warriors got some revenge on the Artesia Bulldogs, but Cooper Henderson says nothing really was proven — yet. Henderson’s Warriors nipped T.W. Harvey’s Bulldogs 14-13 Friday in the season opener for both teams at Bulldog Bowl, getting revenge for a pair of losses to the Bulldogs in Ruidoso a year ago.

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A new coach, but it’s been seven years. Linda Ferguson this fall reassumes control of Artesia High School’s volleyball program after a seven-year absence, and to those expecting her to immediately duplicate her past success (state titles in 1977 and 1978)… well… she’s not promising anything. The Bulldog varsity dipped to 4-12 last season, getting bounced by Lovington in the first round of the district
tournament, and even though the junior varsity racked up 8-8 season and 5-3 district marks, there were a lot of players who saw both varsity and JV action. Consequently, Ferguson has some solid varsity experience to utilize this fall, but that experience wasn’t accumulated together.

20 years ago
Aug. 30 – Sept. 5, 1995

Burrell Martin won a three-way tiebreaker to capture the first football contest of the year last week. His 35-7 pick on the score of the Artesia-Ruidoso game was just two points off the actual 34-8 score.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Pat and Manuel Tanner rode through the Gabaldons’ pasture south of Pinon recently, and Mrs. Gabaldon was riding her roping horse that had not been ridden in two months. She has a roping engagement in Artesia in about two weeks so she was wanting to get him ready to go. She did not know anyone was watching her. The Tanners had just come through a gate and were watching her. The horse started bucking; and they reported he was really doing the job, but Mrs. Gabaldon was expecting it so she was ready. The Tanners reported, “She rode like she might be in her rocking chair. She really could ride!” Irving Porter says she works for him a lot working cattle and helping brand. She knows just where to be and just what to do at the right time and is extra good at roping calves to brand.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back is compiled each week by Daily Press Community Living Editor Teresa Lemon.)