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A Sun Country firefighter sprays down a pile of trash at the base of a massive fire at the old Artesia landfill, which was closed almost two years ago. Brisk winds spread the fire, which ignited a pile of discarded tires, complicating firefighting efforts. (Daily Press 1996 File Photo)

A Sun Country firefighter sprays down a pile of trash at the base of a massive fire at the old Artesia landfill, which was closed almost two years ago. Brisk winds spread the fire, which ignited a pile of discarded tires, complicating firefighting efforts. (Daily Press 1996 File Photo)

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

40 years ago
Oct. 30 – Nov.5, 1976

Bulldog head coach Mike Phipps told his team before the game Friday that they could have a really good time playing against the Tucumcari Rattlers if they did not loaf and did not turn over the football. The Bulldogs certainly did not loaf. That fact was demonstrated by the 52-0 mark on the scoreboard at the end of the game. But the turnovers, four of them to be exact, gave the Rattlers enough opportunities to get back in the football game. The Tucumcari squad, however, could not cash in on either of two Artesia fumbles or two intercepted passes, thanks to an overpowering Bulldog defense… and the Big Orange had fun anyway.

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Shortly before noon, some 27 percent of the registered voters in Artesia’s seven polling precincts had cast their ballots in today’s general election. By 11:30 a.m., a total of 1,438 voters had entered the voting machines and lines were waiting at most precincts. In all, 5,300 persons are registered and eligible to vote in Artesia’s seven precincts. One election official at the Moose Lodge said, “I’ve never seen it this heavy before. We have not had one single lull since we opened the door this morning. There were 30 or 40 people waiting in line this morning for the door to open.”

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Television sports personalities Howard Cossell and Alex Karras can now feel safe in knowing at least one Artesian feels they are the best choices for the United States’ chief executives. While most Artesians were casting their general election ballots Tuesday for one or the other of the two major party candidates competing for the presidential election – Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford – one Artesia voter at the Grand Heights precinct voiced his support for the two commentators on ABC’s Monday Night Football program.

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Students at Park Junior High School in Artesia will do almost anything to raise money for the North Eddy County United Fund this year, as demonstrated Tuesday when one homeroom held a beauty contest featuring boys in drag as contestants. Students paid 25 cents each to watch the boys – Mike White, Lonnie Speir, Jay Francis, Joe Lujan, Paul Alvarez and Allen Marsh – display their wares. Lujan drew the most applause and was named Miss Park Junior High School 1976.

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As reported in Big Orange Country: The sophomores were running from their upperclassmen again last week. The reason: SNOW! One of the time-honored traditions at Artesia High School is rolling the 10th-graders in the snow. Even girls weren’t safe and could be seen outside learning just how cold and wet the white stuff can be. Now the juniors and seniors are eagerly awaiting the next snow, and the class of ‘79 is hoping that we’ll have a dry winter.

30 years ago
Oct. 30 – Nov. 5, 1986

Young trick-or-treaters will be out in droves tonight roaming the streets of Artesia on their annual candy hunt. The Artesia City Council moved the official celebration of the holiday from Friday night, Oct. 31, to tonight to avoid conflict with a home football game.

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Other teams take a week off; Artesia schedules Roswell High. Regardless of whether you think the Bulldogs should play a non-district game in the middle of their district slate or take a Friday off for fun and games of another sort, coach T.W. Harvey’s team squares off against one of the best Class 4A teams in the state at 7:30 p.m. today at Bulldog Bowl. Coach Jim Bradley’s Coyotes are loaded. They were loaded last year as juniors, and they’re really loaded as seniors. About their only weakness is that their top split end is just a sophomore. But he catches passes like Vanna White, which is enough to convince a wish-boning team like Roswell to throw the ball. The Bulldogs stand 2-7 on the season and go into tonight’s tilt against the probably-heavily-favored Coyotes near full strength.

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Goodness, the way the Roswell Coyotes were airing it out late in the game, you’d have thought they were 16 points behind instead of 16 points ahead. Coach Jim Bradley’s team scored a 28-12 victory over the Bulldogs Friday at Bulldog Bowl, but the way they went about it probably had more than a few Bulldog fans shaking their heads. Artesia’s postseason plans come down to Friday’s regular-season finale against Portales. The Bulldogs have to beat the Rams by 13 or more points to grab the District 4-AAA runner-up slot and berth in the prep-layoff game.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Basil Holcomb was thrown from his horse Tuesday morning of last week while he and Mrs. Holcomb were gathering cattle. He was bruised and possibly had two ribs cracked. His horse ran off. Mrs. Holcomb was not with him at the time as she had gone ahead of the cattle to close a gate. When she got back to Basil, his horse was not to be seen, so she hunted it on her horse, but failed to find it. She and Basil then left her horse and had started home when she saw Mr. Holcomb’s horse standing on a hillside. She walked about a quarter of a mile to him, but she could not catch him, so she tried to drive him on to the house and walked about two miles after him before she gave up. She called Mr. and Mrs. Billy Joe Brooks and they came and helped her hunt and find him. Mrs. Brooks caught him on her horse. Then they helped Mrs. Holcomb gather cattle the rest of the afternoon.

20 years ago
Oct. 30 – Nov.5, 1996

Connie Baker and Joyce Moore were named Bowlers of the Year by the Artesia Women’s Bowling Association. Special awards for 1995-96 went to Regina Garner: Individual Scratch Game (267) and Highest Average (195); Sharon Snowden, Individual Handicap Game (309); Donna Linney and Geraldine Nowak, Individual Scratch Series (670); Andy Ybarra, Individual Handicap Series (777); and Denise Craft, Most Improved Average (22 pins).

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H.W. Baize went 19-1 to win last week’s Daily Press Pigskin Payoff football contest, missing the Roswell-Carlsbad game. Tim Salsberry went 17-3 to take second place.

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Five-year-old Jacob Matthews and his 8-year-old brother James displayed belt buckles they received for winning top honors in their respective age groups Oct. 26 in the United States Team Roping Championship Finals in Oklahoma City. Jacob won the 5-and-Under division crown while James clinched the 8-9-year-old title.

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Zia Intermediate School sixth-graders who won top honors in the recent Punt, Pass and Kick competition are John Perez, Myron Soliz, Marcus Cabezuela, Adrian Olivas, Gilbert Saiz, Emilio Guzman, Alex Salazar, Brandon McFatridge and K.C. Crouch.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Friday night, the last football game of the season was played at Cloudcroft School. Jason Mateer has enjoyed the games so much and hates to see them end. The game started at 4 p.m. His mother, grandmother and a sister were there to attend and see him play. The sad part was the Cloudcroft team lost.

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