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SMILE AND FOLLOW ME – Participants in Saturday’s March of Dimes walk-a-thon wore signs declaring “Smile and follow me” as they walked a 20-mile route around Artesia. On hand to get the Artesia walkers started was Don Perkins of Albuquerque, formerly a Dallas Cowboy and now a member of the March of Dimes National Board of Trustees. Perkins pinned a “follow me” sign on Teresa Troublefield as Susan Haldeman and David Calvert looked on. (Daily Press 1977 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from April 23-29.

40 years ago
April 23-29, 1977

As reported in the Pinon News: The school bus quit on Antelope Flat enroute to Weed School Thursday morning. They had to leave it setting in the road and get the Timberon bus and go on to school. Willie Stone came and made repairs and had it ready to go Friday morning. Smiles are numerous on the faces of the ranchers of the area because of the one half to two inches of rain fall over the area Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday of last week. The rain fall has been reported over an extra large area, so the ranchers feel feed should be good in the country in a short time.

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Artesia junior golfer Richie Price twice tied for third place in the medalist honors at a 10-team prep golf match held Friday and Saturday in Ruidoso. Price also completed his individual qualification for the state golf tournament on Saturday with a 76 score on “the toughest course we’ve played all year.” On Friday, Price shot a team-low 78.

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The Artesia Bulldogs all but clinched the District 4-AAA baseball title here Saturday, defeating and eliminating the Portales Rams from district competition in back-to-back 6-0 and 12-2 wins. Pitcher Tony Huerta, who now has 15 wins to his credit this year against zero losses, threw a four-hitter in the opening stanza of the Artesia-Portales double header. In addition to his shutout against the Rams, Huerta combined with second baseman Karl Mahan and shortstop Jerry Brown to tally three pickoffs from second base.

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Steve Messmer, winner of the state speech contest for high school students sponsored by the National Council of State Garden Clubs Inc., presented his speech to the Artesia Garden Club Tuesday afternoon. In his speech, Messmer discussed the importance of conservation. He also discussed the project he instigated last year of having Artesia High School students plant trees in the Cloudcroft area.

30 years ago
April 23-29, 1987

Employees of the Artesia Public Schools were honored Tuesday evening for more than 635 years of service to the school system. Harold Creswell, Virginia Howell and Genevieve Kreamer were presented retirement pins, and Lowell Irby was awarded a 10-year pin for service as a member of the Board of Education. Receiving 25-year pins were Beth Creswell, Jose Callegos, Lovetta Lewis, Lora Jane McPherson, Fay Pittman, Max Ratliff and Mildred Stockton. Samuella Flaming, Mary Jane Mortensen and Evolyn Terpening were presented 20-year pins

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He was one of the first to sport an “I’m Not Herb” bumper sticker after a child mistook him for the hamburger promoter. He drives a custom-built Manta Mantage just for fun. He is credited with nicknaming Artesia “The City of Champions” and says “the (Artesia High School) Bulldogs unify Artesia.” In 1952, he was named an honorary member of the Artesia Downtown Lions Club after he sold more tickets than the entire club. And Friday, April 30, will be his last day. Artesia’s first announcer on the first-ever radio broadcast to emanate here will sign off the airwaves. Dave Button, general manager of KSVP radio station, is retiring after 34 years with the station and 44 years in broadcasting. Tim Wade will take over as station manager. Button also is the last charter member of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association still in the business.

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Twenty-five Artesia FFA students traveled to Las Cruces recently to compete in various contests on the state level. The livestock team consisting of Allan Bledsoe, Winnie Joy, Michael Bennett and Dee Dee Laumbach competed against 42 other teams to win second place in one of the most competitive livestock contests in this state’s history. The foursome also won a trip to Denver, Colo., to judge at the National Western in January. Other students doing well on the state level were: Adam Wortley, Brandon Devine, Misty Ridge and John Grubbs. As a team, they received 13th place in the poultry division. Great things are expected from this team in the future, as the team consists mostly of greenhands. Team members Richard Donaghe, Wortley, Devine and Grubbs also received 13th in a competitive wildlife contest, completing against 25 other teams.

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Frank DeHoyos and Chad Riley were two of the featured speakers at the recent Central Elementary School pinon tree planting dedication ceremony. The three New Mexico state trees were obtained with the help of Nita Knauf and a grant from the Keep New Mexico Beautiful Foundation. The trees, which are each 35 years old, are expected to bear nuts at age 50.

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A loud “yee-haw” rang out in council chambers after the council voted to allow George Bradford to continue to keep horses on his property at 105 S. 26th St. The action reaffirmed a 1981 lifetime variance granted to Bradford. His daughter, Ann Whittington, responded to the vote with a joyous whoop. “I’ve aged 10 years over this worry,” she said. “I ride five miles, I feel 10 years younger,” Bradford said. Asked whether he could keep his horses somewhere else, he replied that he could keep them at Riverside — “but it’s a long way to walk to saddle one up.”

20 years ago
April 23-29, 1997

Artesia High School senior Danny Sanders will be heading to Anaheim, Calif., this week to compete at DECA’s 51st Annual Career Development Conference. Sanders qualified for the event by placing third at the state DECA competition in Albuquerque, where, among other activities, he role modeled as an auto parts store manager. Marketing teacher and DECA advisor Danny Parker will accompany him to California. “I’m looking forward to going; the furthest west I’ve been is Grants,” Sanders said. “It will be a big change.”

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Wanda Hanson called Mrs. Oza Holcomb to learn some history of Pinon. Mrs. Holcomb knew a lot of the history, but could not think of the names of the people, so she had he call Bill Gage, as she wanted to know about Bill’s relatives, and she felt sure Bill had heard the things she wanted to know since he was a small child up until his father died.

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Bulldog runner Aaron Kennemur crossed the finish line first to punctuate Artesia’s winning the Class 3A 400-meter relay Monday at the Artesia Invitational at Bulldog Bowl. He joined Chris Olivas, Kirk Robbins and Josh Miller in clocking a state-qualifying time of 43.81, well ahead of second-place Lovington’s 45.13. Artesia won the meet with 145.5 points.

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