Demonstrations, living history, and family fun are the focus as Cowboy Days returns to the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces for the 22nd year.
The event is Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5. The Museum is closed on Sunday. The Friday activities begin with members of the Museum’s living history group interacting with guests in the galleries. The historical characters will share their stories in exhibits around the Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the characters include Buckshot Roberts from the Lincoln County War, Fray Lorenzo, rancher Charles Martin, mercantile proprietors Cal and Mrs. LaPoint, and Nellie, who will share a day in the life of a rancher’s wife.
Following the living history program on Friday, Las Cruces author and historian David G. Thomas will give a presentation called “The Trial of Billy the Kid” in the Museum’s Theater at 2 p.m. Thomas, who authored a book with the same title, will share rarely reported details of the Kid’s trial in Mesilla. The presentation is being held in conjunction with the opening of the Museum’s new exhibit, “Riding Herd with Billy the Kid: The Rise of the Cattle Industry in New Mexico.”
Regular Museum admission applies to Friday’s activities: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens (60 and over), and $3 for children 4 to 17.
A variety of family activities are planned for Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for Saturday is $10 per carload and includes all the Museum’s standard offerings.
Saturday’s activities begin with demonstrations from 9 a.m. to noon, including Colcha embroidery, weaving, sewing, twining, wool spinning, and chair caning. The blacksmith shop will be open for demonstrations all day, and visitors can take a chuck wagon tour in the Museum’s new exhibit, “Riding Herd with Billy the Kid.”
Horseshoeing is another popular demonstration and it takes place from 10 to 10:30 a.m. and from 1 to 1:30 p.m. on the South 20 portion of the Museum’s campus. The Southwest Dairy Farmers’ Mobile Dairy will be on site to do milking demonstrations and a dairy program at 9:30, 10:30, 1:30 and 3:00. Sheep shearing in the Sheep & Goat Barn will take place throughout the day, and the Back Country Horsemen will be stationed near the Historic Green Bridge. Also near the bridge will be Museum living history characters giving a talk on branding.
The Parade of Breeds cattle program is a staple of Cowboy Days. Livestock Manager Greg Ball brings each breed into the Round Pen to discusses their history and characteristics. The Museum has seven different breeds of beef cattle. This popular program is from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Linda McDaniel of Alamogordo will be at the Museum with her herding dogs and they’ll demonstrate sheep herding at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Music and activities will create a lively atmosphere throughout the Museum’s Courtyard on Saturday. Singer/musician Kenny Arroyos will perform from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., while the Ramblin’ Rangers will perform from 11 a.m. to noon, and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. At noon, there will be a line dancing demonstration by Sol Ballroom in the Courtyard. The Art of the Historical Fashion Show will follow from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Courtyard activities include games and crafts for children, as well as informational booths. There will be bandana making and farming-in-a-glove kits, and New Mexico Ag in the Classroom will be doing butter-making demonstrations. Other organizations providing activities include Branigan Library, 4-H, New Mexico Meats, High Noon Leather, Master Gardeners, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Cattle Growers, Asombro, Cowbelles, and the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute.
Due to Covid restrictions and staffing issues, there will be no stagecoach, pony, or train rides this year. Pets are not allowed. For more information, please call (575) 522-4100. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces.
Friday, March 4
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Living history characters in the Museum’s galleries.
2 p.m.: Author and historian David Thomas presents “The Trial of Billy the Kid.”
Saturday, March 5
All day: Museum exhibits. Children’s games and activities in the Courtyard. Food trucks south of the Bruce King Building. Blacksmith demonstration at the Blacksmith Shop. Sheep shearing demonstration at the Sheep & Goat Barn. Branding talk near the bridge. Back Country Horsemen near the bridge.
9 a.m. to noon.: Demonstrations, including butter making, twining, sewing, wool spinning, and chair caning in the Organ View Terrace.
9:30 a.m.: Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy milking program on the South 20.
10-11 a.m.: Kenny Arroyos performs in the Courtyard.
10-10:30 a.m.: Horseshoeing demonstration on the South 20.
10 a.m.: Sheep-herding dogs demonstration on the South 20.
10:30 a.m.: Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy milking program on the South 20.
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Parade of Breeds in the Round Pen.
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Ramblin’ Rangers perform in the Courtyard.
12 p.m.: Sheep-herding dogs demonstration on the South 20.
12-1 p.m.: Line dancing by Sol Ballroom in the courtyard.
1-1:30 p.m.: Horseshoeing demonstration on the South 20.
1 p.m.: The Art of the Historical Fashion Show in the Courtyard.
1:30 p.m.: Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy milking program on the South 20.
2-3 p.m.: Kenny Arroyos performs in the Courtyard.
2-3 p.m.: Parade of Breeds in the Round Pen.
3 p.m.: Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy milking program on the South 20.
3-4 p.m.: Ramblin’ Rangers perform in the Courtyard.