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FALL 2015

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FROM THE EDITOR FOCUS ON OUTER SPACE

HOBBS IN SPAAAAAAACE... FOCUS ON FAITH

FROM ATTORNEY TO MINISTER FOCUS ON A PULITZER WINNER

N. SCOTT MOMADAY FOCUS ON MUSIC

OSCAR-WINNING MUSICIAN TURNS TO TROUBLED CHILDHOOD FOR INSPIRATION

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FOCUS ON FILM

SETTING THE SCENE FOCUS ON MAINSTREET

LOVINGTON MAINSTREET RECEIVES SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOCUS ON RECIPES

LET’S EAT!

FOCUS ON A CHAMPION

FROM SACKS TO SENTENCING

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FOCUS ON LIFE IN LEA COUNTY

COMMENTARY: LIVING IN NEW LEA FOCUS ON FAMILY

THE DANIELS FUND CREATES LEGACY FOCUS ON HISTORY

FOUNDING HOBBS NM FOCUS ON MULTIPLE TALENTS

ARTIST TERRY BUMPASS FOCUS ON SPORTS

THE 1969-70 HOBBS BASKETBALL TEAM FOCUS ON THE CHAMBER

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ABOUT THE COVER Lead photo courtesy of Rick Shed / Hobbs Basketball By the Numbers and various other photos of people who once called Lea County home. Where are they now? Read their life stories throughout this issue! Kyle Marksteiner, Editorial Director - Adrian Martinez, Advertising Photography by Various Photographers - Submitted for Use in Focus on Lea County Special Contributors: Jonathan Sena, Susan C. Waters, Eric Woods, Leah LM Wingert, Lovington Mainstreet, Jim Harris & the Lovington Chamber of Commerce FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY AD VENTURE MARKETING

Ad Venture Marketing, Ltd. Co. • 866.207.0821 • ad-venturemarketing.com All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy of the information provided. The publisher assumes no responsibility or liability for errors, changes or omissions.

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F O C U S from the editor

ALL’S FAIR and a TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE WE ARE ENTERING OUR SECOND YEAR OF FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY AND THANK YOU, AS ALWAYS, FOR YOUR TREMENDOUS SUPPORT!

KYLE MARKSTEINER Editorial Director

FOCUS ON LEA CO.

I’ve got a special surprise for you later in this column, but there’s a short update first. In the last edition I promised to attend this year’s Lea County Fair and Rodeo and sample the giant turkey legs there. I regret to say that I did not have a giant turkey leg at the fair – I had two giant turkey legs and a whole lot of lemonade. It was a great visit! Focus Magazine set up a booth this year, and I assisted with the booth on Tuesday and enjoyed getting to meet many of you. I especially enjoyed getting to visit with several members of New Mexico Junior College and handing out a whole bunch of pens and magazines to visitors. The family and I returned on Saturday, where we spent the entire day listening to fiddling

PHOTO: The 2015 Lea County Fair and Rodeo delivered as promised.

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

competitions, admiring contest entries and vendors, visiting the animals, riding carnival rides and finally swinging by the rodeo. We had a blast, and the Lea County Fair and Rodeo was everything I’d been promised it would be. And now for the main event… Lea County, it turns out, has quite a few remarkable success stories. We felt it would make for an excellent fifth edition to catch up to some of those folks. To get things rolling on this “Where Are They Now?” edition, we assembled an elite team of people who, well, grew up here. And with that, I’m going to turn the rest of this column over to my publisher, Lajuana Martinez. A B O U T T H E E D IT O R

Kyle Marksteiner is the editorial director of Focus on Lea County and Focus on Carlsbad. He can be reached at editor@ad-venturemarketing.com.

E

ach summer I get together with a group of women that I attended Hobbs High with back in the mid-70s. We check out the various unique bed and breakfasts and quaint shopping areas around the state of Texas (Yes, we all live in Texas now.) and catch up on each other’s lives and the lives of our fellow HHS classmates. Just to reassure you, this is “information sharing,” never gossip. When we gathered this past June, our editorial staff had just met and decided on the theme of “Where Are They Now?” for the fall edition of Focus on Lea County. So, during one of our afternoon “information sharing” times, I threw out the idea to the ladies and asked if they had any leads on former Hobbsans that might be interesting. They had many, and the results of that discussion make up the majority of this issue. So, a great big thank you goes out to the ladies of the “HHS YaYas” group for your contributions. You know who you are.

Lajuana Wimberly Martinez PUBLISHER, FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY PRESIDENT, AD VENTURE MARKETING


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F O C U S on outer space

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015


by Kyle Marksteiner

LOCAL RESIDENT PLAYED HUGE ROLE IN SHUTTLE PROGRAM

It

might be an understatement to say that the 1960s space race caught Wayne Hale’s attention. The former Hobbs resident was so intrigued that he went on to become one of NASA’s key players in the United States space shuttle program. Hale was born in Clovis, but he moved to Hobbs when he was five after his father took a job with an accounting firm here. He finished high school in Hobbs, and his parents still have a house in town. “It was a great place to grow up,” he boasted. “We had Scouts, Little League and church activities. I think my favorite thing was the old Aquamarine swimming pool. That’s where I spent countless hours.” Hale was interested in space at a very young age. He grew up at the height of the space race and recalls John Glenn’s orbit when he was in the second grade and the moon landing during high school. “I was all about space,” he reflected. After Hobbs, Hale attended Rice University in Houston, where he earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. At the time,

NASA was winding down its Apollo program and had yet to start its space shuttle program, so there were not many aerospace jobs available. Instead, he completed graduate school at Purdue University and was subsequently hired by NASA in 1978.

Shuttle flights would last two weeks with three- to four-month intervals in between.

His first job was as a propulsion officer in the Flight Control Division of Flight Operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. He worked on the propulsion system and was stationed in Mission Control. It was, he recalled, a very good time to grow up with the NASA program, as legendary astronauts were working at arm’s length.

“That’s when we’d do flight preparations,” Hale explained. “For example, if there was a scientific experiment, we wanted to understand how it operated. We made sure the crew’s checklist was proper and created flight rules.”

Hale grew up professionally with the shuttle program. He started monitoring specific propulsion systems before advancing to overall flight director, a position he held for 40 of NASA’s 135 total space shuttle missions. In 2003, he was asked to join the space shuttle program, which manages not just the flights but all preparations out of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There, he served as launch integration manager. What was life like in Mission Control during a shuttle launch?

Former Hobbs resident Wayne Hale sits in NASA’s Mission Control Center, where he served as flight director for many years.

PHOTO:

While a mission is going on, you work ten-hour shifts that include one-hour transition periods on each end, Hale said. There are three teams in Mission Control, and shifts are all designed around the crew’s schedule.

Of course there were also numerous practices and simulated missions. Hale eventually returned to Houston, where he became the manager of the space shuttle program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He held several different leadership positions during the post-Columbia return to flight effort. Hale retired in 2010 as the deputy associate administrator of strategic partnerships at NASA Headquarters

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in Washington, D.C., just a year before the final space shuttle flight. He’d spent the final part of his career working on some NASA programs away from the shuttle. He took up consulting after his retirement. He is currently a consultant with Special Aerospace Services of Boulder, Colorado, and he does a lot in the oil and gas industry, where his former line of work often comes in handy. “We’re using some of the safety methods and procedures we learned while docking spacecraft,” Hale pointed out. What’s the legacy of America’s space shuttle program? Among other things, it led to hugely important endeavors such as the building of the International Space Station and the release of the Hubble Telescope along with the release of many other probes and satellites. “It was an immensely successful program,” he noted, “but it did have

some basic safety issues. We needed to rectify that by building a new way to get people into space.” Since 2011, NASA’s shuttle program has morphed into a program to support bringing commercial companies into the fold. The ultimate goal is to have a commercial spacecraft that will allow NASA scientists and others to conduct experiments in space. “As you know, right now we are depending on the Russians to take our astronauts to the International Space Station,” Hale declared. “We need to get back into the business of flying on an American vehicle.” Hale has obviously kept up with recent space exploration efforts, including this year’s up close photographs of the dwarf planet Pluto. “I know several people involved with the New Horizons missions, so I’m very pleased to see their success,” he stated, adding that his only real involvement was to cheer from the sidelines.

Hale revealed that one aspect of his career he always enjoyed was that it appealed to youth. “I think two of the things that excite kids are rockets and dinosaurs,” he observed, adding that rockets have a few more jobs than dinosaurs. “I really encourage them to study the sciences and math. There are hopefully still a lot of young people excited out there.” Hale still has many fond memories of growing up in Lea County, and who knows? Maybe one of the little girls or boys playing with rockets at the nearby park will grow up to become the next NASA flight director. Among the honors he has received are the NASA Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award in January 2002, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in August 1999, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in April 1992 and numerous NASA Group Achievement Awards. Hale began an “official NASA blog” during his days with the program. To keep up with Wayne Hale now that he has retired, visit his blog at waynehale.wordpress.com.

PHOTO LEFT: A younger Wayne Hale at his desk at NASA. PHOTO BELOW: Wayne Hale, at right, still writes a regular blog about his experiences.

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F O C U S on faith

From Attorney to Minister JONATHAN SENA Commissioner

CITY OF HOBBS

Tommy Hays is the director of Messiah Ministries, a non-profit organization focused on helping people experience God’s love through emotional healing and spiritual maturity. Ordained as a minister through the United Methodist Church, Hays has written several books including Free to Be Like Jesus, with a forward written by Max Lucado. Hays’ journey in Lea County began when he was in the seventh grade when his family moved from West Texas to Hobbs. “We lived on South Turner Street, and I went to Heizer Junior High. I had a paper route to residents in South Hobbs, and I had to collect dues,” he reflected. He later graduated from Hobbs High School and attended New Mexico Junior College (NMJC), where he was student body president and joined Eli Borden’s debate team. As director of the top debate team in America at that time, Borden helped Hays hone his skills. Hays related that it was a

PHOTOS: Tommy Hays, a Hobbs High School graduate, regularly

ministers internationally on turning to God for inner healing.

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“cross-examination style of debate that built my confidence to pursue my life-long dream of being a courtroom trial lawyer.” Hays then attended the University of Texas at Austin, obtaining his bachelor’s degree and eventually his law degree. However, his time in college was not without challenges. In addition to his parents’ divorce, Hays experienced the challenge of paying high tuition costs. But he didn’t give up. Although scholarships and his parents helped financially, he was grateful for Lea County businesses who gave him job opportunities. During one summer, he worked for $2 an hour hauling hay. He worked as a clerk for Bailey’s Men’s Store on Broadway during the school year. Another summer in 1984, Maddox and Renfrow kindly gave him a job as a summer clerk for six weeks. Don Maddox even brought the young Hays along for some work one afternoon at the court in Lovington.

Messiah Ministries Director Tommy Hays

Along the way, he fell in love, got married, began his new career as a successful trial attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas, and started attending a Methodist church. After a few years, Hays obtained an exciting job with David Perry, an attorney who achieved notoriety for his work with the Ford Pinto cases. “Perry made me a junior partner... My specialty was product liability litigation, representing families in catastrophic injury and death cases against General Motors and other corporations,” he shared.


But then one Sunday while sitting with his wife at church, a thought came to him about preaching. It started that Sunday and recurred many Sundays thereafter. Finally he prayed, “Lord, I feel you’re calling me to be a preacher.” After a conversation with his pastor, Tommy began attending a school of ministry one night a week. A pastor friend eventually asked Hays to speak at church on a Sunday morning. During this transition time, in what would be his last big case, Hays flew to General Motors’ headquarters in Detroit to cross examine the former chairman of the board regarding problems with a vehicle’s gas tank that resulted in the death of his clients’ children. This was a crowning achievement for the young attorney. However, as Hays flew home from Michigan and was preparing his notes for preaching at a tiny little church, he realized he was a “thousand times more excited to preach at that little church than cross examine the chairman in the most exciting case of my career. It was a real confirmation to me, that I really needed, in making such a radical choice to change my life and follow the calling of God.” So Tommy began this adventure of moving toward what he believed God was leading him to do: ministry. Since his wife was from Kentucky, it just made sense for Tommy to attend Asbury Seminary for the next three and a half years. Although Hays relished his time at seminary, his life was about to change again. Tommy’s heart was crushed when his wife informed him she wanted a divorce. The startling news caused him to question his career change. Hays said he finally realized that although God hadn’t caused his divorce, God could turn it around for good. He was comforted by Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work

together for good to those who love God...” He related, “Someone gave me the book Healing for Damaged Emotions by Dr. David Seamands. That is a book about inner healing from pain in the past, rejection, etc. I had never heard of that before. David Seamands’ son, Steve, was a professor, and Steve would minister [through prayer, etc., with students] after class. This dramatically touched my life and helped restore my sense of calling.” Through a process of mentorship, Hays sensed that helping people receive inner healing was the direction of his calling for ministry. He mentioned Matthew 10:8, “Freely you have received; freely give,” and then 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us...so that we can comfort others.” He believes that in the very places where we overcome, God gives us grace and authority to help others overcome, according to Revelation 3:12. “It’s amazing how God took my brokenness, pain, and shame and turned it into a ministry to encourage others.” Tommy Hays, now remarried, continues to lead an inner healing prayer ministry, speaks at Oak Hills Church alongside Max Lucado at their monthly healing service, and often ministers across the U.S. and internationally in conferences and retreats. Hays has a vision for reaching the greater San Antonio area “to be one in unity and for the Body and Bride of Christ to be healed and free, filled with the Holy Spirit, ready for the coming of Christ and being Christ in their world every day.” The former Hobbs resident and successful attorney now finds great satisfaction and deep joy in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping Christians to “know their identity and their destiny, being set free of all that would hold them back from embracing all God created them to be.”

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F O C U S on a Pulitzer winner

Writer and Artist, Father of the Native American Renaissance by Susan C. Waters

N. Scott Momaday was born in Oklahoma in 1934 at the Kiowa Comanche Hospital in Lawton. Like so many in the Great Depression and the years beyond, his parents moved around for employment. At one point, his parents assisted in the war effort. His mother worked at the Hobbs Army Air Base, and his father, an artist and draftsman, worked with oil companies in the Hobbs area. Primarily, his parents were teachers with the Indian Service at various locations in New Mexico. Momaday’s parents were unusual; in the first part of the 20th century, a college education was a rarity, but his father

studied at Bacone College and became a noteworthy artist. His mother went to Haskell Institute and was a storyteller and a writer. Momaday comes naturally to storytelling. He was born into the oral tradition and his father constantly told him Kiowa stories. Beyond the creative impulse which drives Momaday to write is a mission: to preserve the fragile future of the Kiowa stories, stories which ground a people in their heritage. Momaday happened upon the literary

PHOTO: N. Scott Momaday receiving the National Medal of Arts award from President George W. Bush in 2007.

scene at the right time. People in the literary world call the literature taught in schools, especially at the college level, the “canon.” The canon was changing when Momaday earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University and began publishing his writing in the 1960s and 1970s. Suddenly, writings by Americans that were previously ignored were being included. Slave narratives were of interest, as were Native American stories. Today, one can find in literature books the diaries of early American explorers like John Smith as well as the narrative in which Mary Rowlandson describes her harrowing 11 weeks in 1675 as a captive of Native Americans during King Philip’s War. In Momaday’s House Made of Dawn, PHOTOS: Al and Natachee Momaday, N. Scott’s parents. Al worked for local oil companies in Hobbs, and Natachee worked at the Hobbs Army Air Base. N. Scott Momaday as a young boy.

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the main character is faced with a multi-faceted dilemma. Returning war veterans and their oftentimes tangled return to society have been explored by a number of writers, but Momaday’s protagonist must deal with his background as a Native American in a changing Western world. The protagonist Abel goes from never having been in an auto to dangerously close to a tank in WWII. In many places in the novel, the Native American and Western worlds collide, sometimes catastrophically. The author lived on Navajo and Apache reservations and pueblos and is well acquainted with their worldviews.

disorder, a scary limbo that many of our servicemen and women inhabit. It is difficult to live with and difficult to treat.

Where is he now? Momaday currently resides in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico during the 2014-15 academic year to teach in the Creative Writing and American Literary Studies Programs in the Department of English.

Momaday’s heritage is typical of many Americans in that it spans many ethnic groups. His father was a full-blood Kiowa, but his great-greatgrandmother was Mexican, captured in her homeland in 1844 at about the age of eight. In The Way to Rainy Mountain, Momaday describes her as having “raised a lot of eyebrows... for she would not play the part of a Kiowa woman.” She rose in stature in the tribe and “owned a great herd of cattle, and she could ride as well as any man. She had blue eyes.” Momaday’s mother was Cherokee, English, Irish, and French, though she embraced her Cherokee identity the most.

Most New Mexicans have heard of “skin-walkers” from the Navajo tradition, a person who can transform him or herself into an animal with evil intentions. Abel encounters what he believes is the equivalent of a skinwalker, an albino which he perceives as a witch. He knifes the man out of self-defense, an act which would have been understood in Abel’s world. Momaday based the episode on an actual incident in Jemez Pueblo. Talking about House Made of Dawn, Momaday said that Jemez Pueblo men returning from WWII had been “uprooted, and they had a hard time getting back into” the Native American culture. Today, we refer to Abel’s mental state as posttraumatic stress

Although Momaday embraces his Kiowa heritage in his writing, he sees himself as the product of two very different cultures. He writes, “I am an Indian and a Western man, and I believe I’m fortunate to have the heritage I have. I grew up in two worlds and straddle both those worlds even now. It has made for confusion and a richness in my life. I’ve been able to deal with it reasonably well, I think, and I value it.”

If Momaday’s mission was to preserve Kiowa tales from disappearing into oblivion, he has more than succeeded. His works are internationally known and acclaimed, ensuring that there is a written record of the Plains Indians in libraries around the world. His books have been translated into Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German, French, Swedish and Italian.

At home, he has received more recognition than most writers can hope for. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for House Made of Dawn, he was awarded the 2007 National Medal of Arts. He has had the honor of being the Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate, and he also received Italy’s greatest literary award, the Premio Letterario Internazionale Mondello. He is considered the father of the Native American Renaissance. He has taught at a number of universities, here and abroad. He has 17 honorary degrees. And the list goes on. Humble in his manners and speech, Momaday does not consider himself simply a novelist. His first love is poetry, but besides being a storyteller, he is also a painter. His daughter has followed in her father’s tradition: Jill Momaday directed, produced and wrote the documentary film Return to Rainy Mountain, which tells her father’s story and that of the Kiowa. Jill is an actress, and her film credits range from Coyote Waits, produced by Robert Redford, to The Desperate Trail, written and directed by Sam Shepard. Her daughter, Natachee, is a poet and a blues singer. Another daughter, Tai, is also a poet and actress. It seems the story of the Kiowa will continue to be told by many generations of the Momaday family and by the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma. PHOTO: Aho, Momaday’s grandmother, his last link to Kiowa culture

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F O C U S on music

Oscar-Winning Musician Turns to Troubled Childhood for Inspiration by Eric Woods

W

hen he picks up the guitar and chisels out a melody on its six strings, Hobbs native Ryan Bingham gets alone for days at a time, sometimes peeking behind the curtain of his memory for inspiration. Behind that woven tapestry of hurt, triumph and loss are hardscrabble West Texas and New Mexico characters, perfectly flawed and hammered down by weaknesses, regret and difficult circumstances. People like his parents, who met tragic ends, his mother drinking herself to death and his father eventually committing suicide. “When I write, it does always seem like I go back to that place and to my roots,” Bingham revealed of Hobbs. His voice sounds old and parched as he answers the question. “You start there and mix in your other experiences in life. I sit down to write songs, and I tend to always go back to that place and I start there.” Bingham spent most of his early life shuffling from house to house and town to town. Sometimes Bingham didn’t even get a chance to unpack his belongings before it was time to pick up and move again. His parents, caught up in addiction and unable to pay the bills, began a downward spiral, and Bingham and his sister basically took care of themselves. Bingham eventually struck out on his own and began going from town to town, living in his pickup while working the circuit as a bull rider.

PHOTO: Musician Ryan Bingham

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As for his music career, that got a late start. It all began with a classical guitar Bingham’s mother bought for him when he was 16, which rested in a closet until a neighbor began teaching him a classical Mariachi song called “La Malaguena.” Bingham replied he learned the tune a bit at a time while he was living in Laredo, Texas.

conversation was collaboration between Bingham and Grammywinning producer T Bone Burnett who worked together to write the Academy Award-winning tune “The Weary Kind.” The song skyrocketed after the film’s release and not only earned Bingham an Oscar but a Golden Globe as well.

Bingham eventually started playing his guitar and singing for friends, and that led him to pull out his six-string while at a bar located in Stephenville, Texas. The owner thought he had a lot of talent and offered Bingham a standing Wednesday night gig.

Bingham remarked he was given a copy of the script for Crazy Heart, and used that as a guideline for co-writing the song.

His three chords and gut-wrenching truth mingled together for a pocketful of self-penned tunes and some indie releases, which began to get the attention of many throughout the Southwest. Bingham eventually signed with Lost Highway Records and released his first major label debut with “Mescalito” on October 2, 2007. The album was produced by former Black Crowes member Marc Ford. Bingham’s big break came when Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper brought Bingham’s music and face to the forefront with the release of the film. His tunes also breathed life and gave a voice to the movie’s main character, Otis “Bad” Blake. The Academy Award-winning film is based on the novel written by Thomas Cobb and was released in 2009. The film stars Jeff Bridges as Blake, a worn out alcoholic country singer who strives to turn his life around after falling in love with budding music journalist Jean Craddock, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Bingham said Cooper approached him to write songs for the film’s soundtrack. A product of that

“It came a bit easy for me,” confessed Bingham “I don’t know, I just really related to the characters in the story. The character of Bad Blake was very much like my father and his friends and the people I grew up with.” Born George Ryan Bingham, the budding singer/songwriter was born in Hobbs in 1981. Bingham said he resided in the area until he was five years old. After that, he and his family moved to California, then packed up and headed to West Texas when Bingham was about 11 years old. He then moved back to Hobbs in his early teens. His grandparents, Tom and Fredda Bingham, still live in Hobbs, and he does make it back from time to time for a visit. And there are some local things he misses and grows nostalgic for. “Hobbs is a pretty small town, and I don’t know, to some people it might look like a dusty and desolate place, but there’s something about the wide open spaces and being able to see for miles. I sometimes think about the food and the green chilies and things like that, you know, things you can only get around there. That is what I miss.” Bingham now calls Los Angeles home, where he lives with his wife, Anna

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Axster. They recently had a daughter, but when asked for the baby’s name, Bingham hesitated. That’s something he doesn’t want the public to know. “She’s just a little girl,” he protested in a whisper. What he would say was that he wrote the song “Broken Heart Tattoo” for her. It is a cut from his latest album Fear and Saturday Night, which was released in January. So, what exactly did he want to tell his daughter? “I don’t know if I really wanted to tell her anything. It was more just that I’ve always kind of written songs about what I’m going through and things that have happened in my life,” Bingham’s voice cracked as he chuckled. “Obviously this is a big one. I don’t know, I guess for her just to get ready because it’s a big world out there, little one. I think the song explains it.” Bingham also wrote a song for his parents called “Never Far Behind.” Even though his mother bought him his first guitar, Bingham denies his parents had anything to do with his music. Yet, they influence much of what flows through his lyrics. At least in the beginning. “They didn’t play a big part in my music, and that was something I dealt with my whole life,” he confided. “Their alcoholism and things they were going through, all of the songwriting as a young man was a way for me to vent and get things off of my chest. It was a therapeutic thing, and it was a way of talking about the stuff that was going on in my life. I think a lot of those songs, there are bits and pieces of that in there.” As for the grit in his voice and the validity it brings to the sadness in some of his tunes, Bingham laughed and said he came by it honestly. “Man, you know I get that question a lot,” he laughed. “I think it really comes from the places I played. I was

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playing in these old dive bars and honkytonks. You walk in, and there is like a layer of smoke. Usually there wasn’t a very good sound system, so you’re in there playing, and it’s loud.” “I think the big part is just not really

knowing how to sing,” he added. “I really just learned on my own, and blowing out my voice every night trying to sing over the crowd. I just worked with what I had and just fell into the deal.”

Born:

George Ryan Bingham

March 31, 1981 in Hobbs ALBUMS:

Wife: Anna Axster

• Mescalito released on Lost Highway Records in 2007 • Roadhouse Sun released on Lost Highway Records in 2009 • Junky Star released on Lost Highway Records in 2010 • Tomorrowland an indie release dropped in 2012 • Fear and Saturday Night is the fifth studio album and was released indie in 2015 on his label Axster Bingham Records.

AWARDS:

• Academy Award for Best Original Song: “The Weary Kind “ • Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song: “The Weary Kind “ • Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: “The Weary Kind “ • Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Song: “The Weary Kind“ • World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film: “The Weary Kind”


F O C U S on film

by Leah LM Wingert

NATIVE DAUGHTER CARLA CURRY DID NOT KNOW WHEN SHE LEFT HOBBS FOR TUCSON, ARIZONA THAT ONE DAY SHE WOULD BE IN THE MOVIES. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined myself in the film industry.” Curry, who now designs film sets for Academy Award-winning films, stated. “It wasn’t even a known career when I grew up in Hobbs.” Curry continued, “But things have changed, and the film industry has moved to New Mexico, [so] now it is a viable career choice.”

western streets to slick futuristic offices, grungy bathrooms, FBI offices, spas, third grade classrooms [and] spaceships,” these sets, whether simple or complex, are the product of hundreds of hands and hours of work and are meticulously crafted by set decorators like Curry.

How did it all begin? She said after being in “[the] right place [at the] right time [and being] willing to do anything and everything,” she landed a job as a set dresser “cleaning up coffee cups and trash off of the sets.”

Born and raised in Hobbs, Curry is a 1974 graduate of Hobbs High School. Her mother, Betty Curry, continues to live in Hobbs, running the Testing Center at New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) for the last 42 years.

For the average movie goer, the story begins when the curtain opens and the lights dim as the theater silences and the world upon the stage or the screen pops into view. Reality slips away as the audience is transported to another time and place as the silent observers of a fictional life. However, days and weeks of preparation have gone into just that opening scene. From “old

While her work has taken her out of Lea County, Curry has a special place in her heart for Lea County, especially “the landscape

PHOTO: Carla Curry and Michael Corenblith at The Alamo (2004) wrap party.

[when she] travels back to the area, the immense sky, the mesquite brush, and endless horizon [that] makes [her] heart sing.” While Hobbs in the 1970s was a vastly different place, Curry still has fond memories of her early life here and has a strong desire to “represent [her] hometown and county.” The people of Hobbs were a strong influence. “My favorite memories of Hobbs are the people,” Curry recollected, “Edna Hepp, our fearless Girl Scout leader… she taught us all self-sufficiency from a young age…how to camp, basic first aid and [how to] be a contributing member of our society.” More people of whom Curry has fond memories included “Covelle Jones, my art teacher at Hobbs High School, [was]


“The film industry has brought an enormous amount of revenue to the state and provides hundreds of New Mexicans jobs that didn’t exist twenty years ago. It has put New Mexico on the map as a film destination.” a wonderful guide to art exploration, Lane Laughlin who gave me retail skills [and] how to manage people, budgets and deadlines. Everyone contributed to the person I am today, and every skill I learned, I still use today!” she enthused. After high school Curry attended NMJC because they “offered some of the best art classes and instructors in the state.

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After I received my associate degree, I moved to Tucson, Arizona and managed retail shoe stores for Lane Laughlin.” After eight years of working in retail for Laughlin, Curry was ready for a change. While any job in the film industry may seem exotic and alluring to the outside world, Curry was quick to point out that “it’s not glamour, it’s hard work [and requires] a [strong] work ethic.” It is that work ethic, instilled in her by her mother, Betty, and her upbringing in Hobbs that have made Curry successful in the field of set decoration. Curry is doubly proud that the industry she works in is bringing much needed work and revenue to her home state of New Mexico.

what the sets will look like after the locations have been decided.” However, without “set dec,” there wouldn’t be anything on the sets to shoot. The stage would be bare of details, such as the multiple bottles scattered around the alcoholic’s room or the ashtrays and cigarette butts that indicate a smoker. The set decoration team “provides everything from carpet, art, lighting, dishes, tools, plants and basically everything you see in front of the camera.” Curry has worked on such films as the multiple Academy Award-winning film Crazy Heart. A film made in and about New Mexico, Curry recalled the making of Crazy Heart as “a fantastic experience. It was a small film, not a big budget, but everyone knew we were making something special.”

“The film industry has brought an enormous amount of revenue to the state and provides hundreds of New Mexicans jobs that didn’t exist twenty years ago,” she explained. “It has put New Mexico on the map as a film destination.”

It was also a “special treat to work with another Lea County native, Ryan Bingham,” she added. Bingham went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song, “The Weary Kind.” The film also netted actor Jeff Bridges the 2009 Best Actor statuette.

Curry got her first job in the industry while living in Tucson, which was a “busy film community and I happened to get lucky enough to get onto a local film project that needed help.” With that break Curry has crafted a career out of the minutiae of what makes a set go from painted walls and wooden beams to a finished onscreen product. After consulting with the “production designer, who is in charge of the look and tone of the film,” Curry and the production designer then “decide

While Curry no longer lives in Hobbs, she is married to a rancher and continues to have “a foot in both Texas and New Mexico” and is passionately committed to her hometown. She continues to think of this patch of earth as “the cosmic center of the universe. It seems that wherever I go, or who I meet, I can always find a lead back to Hobbs.”

FOCUSNM.COM


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F O C U S on mainstreet

LOVINGTON MAINSTREET RECEIVES SPECIAL RECOGNITION AT N E W M E X I C O M A I N S T R E E T ’ S 3 0 - Y E A R C E L E B R AT I O N Lovington MainStreet is rounding out another amazing summer. TABATHA LAWSON

Executive Director LOVINGTON MAINSTREET

The past few months have proven extremely busy for LMS, as we have had the privilege of hosting the 6th Annual Smokin’ On the Plaza Championship BBQ Cook-Off in June, along with the 2nd Live On Love Street Summer Concert Series, and a downtown shopping extravaganza. These highly anticipated, exciting events have been well-received, boasting record attendance and incredible live performances by well-known national artists. The all-ages, free events featured music, dancing, food, shopping, games and more, proving there was something for everyone to enjoy in Historic Downtown Lovington! New Mexico MainStreet held the Annual Summer Leadership Meeting in neighboring Artesia on August 12-14, where directors and board members from all over the state gathered to network, attend informational sessions, and celebrate thirty successful years of revitalization

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

efforts in New Mexico. As part of the festivities for “Thirty Never Looked So Good!” the 30th Anniversary New Mexico MainStreet Commemorative Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday, August 13 at the Ocotillo Theater. The New Mexico MainStreet 30th Anniversary Commemorative Awards recognized outstanding achievements and exceptional leadership among the state’s local MainStreet organizations and partners. The celebration in Artesia built on these accomplishments, recognizing longterm partners, and highlighting New Mexico MainStreet’s commitment to ensure that New Mexico towns can thrive as culturally and economically vibrant communities. This year’s recipients represent a broad range of individuals and organizations throughout New Mexico who have demonstrated successful approaches in

MainStreet through partnership, board service, fundraising, marketing strategies, economic positioning strategies, architectural design, historic preservation, and placemaking initiatives. Their work highlights the success of local programs and commitment by local partners to revitalize local communities. Lovington MainStreet is the proud recipient of the award for 2015 Outstanding Economic Positioning/ Business Development, as well as being named a Nationally Accredited Organization by the National MainStreet Center for the second year in a row! This goes to show how hard work, determination and collaboration can really pay off. The summer of 2015 has been exceptional for LMS. Stay tuned for an equally exciting fall, winter and beyond. Check out our web site, Facebook, Twitter and/ or Instagram for more information on how you can get involved and for further proof of how Lovington MainStreet is “Preserving Our Past, Loving Our Present & Improving Our Future!”


LET’S

Eat!

Winter is coming, but not for a little while. We hope you enjoy these fall recipes! Recipes from allrecipes.com.

Bacon Potato Salad

Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas

• • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • •

Ingredients:

3 pounds russet potatoes 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 large onion, diced 3 stalks celery, sliced 6 hard-boiled eggs, quartered and sliced 2 cups mayonnaise 1/4 cup milk 3 Tablespoons sour cream (optional) 1/4 cup white vinegar 1 teaspoon celery salt 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Remove skin from potatoes; quarter and slice. 2. Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. 3. Combine potatoes, bacon, onion, celery, and eggs together in a bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, milk, sour cream, vinegar, celery salt, salt, and black pepper together in a separate bowl. Fold mayonnaise mixture into potato mixture until incorporated. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 pinch ground cumin, or to taste 1 pinch paprika, or to taste 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place chickpeas in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand for 24 hours. Drain and dry on paper towels. 2. Preheat oven to 400°. 3. Pour chickpeas into a baking dish; drizzle olive oil over the top and season with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to coat chickpeas. 4. Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 20 minutes, until crispy and fragrant, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


F O C U S on a champion

From Sacks to Sentencing FEDER AL JUDGE JIM BROWNING by Kyle Marksteiner

JAMES BROWNING WAS “BENCHED” QUITE SOME TIME AGO, BUT THAT’S A VERY GOOD THING. Browning, a former Hobbs resident and football standout, now serves as a Judge James O. Browning on the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, a position he’s held since his 2003 nomination by George W. Bush. And it all started with a book at the Hobbs Library that really caught his attention. Browning was born in Levelland, Texas, but he actually spent the first couple years of his life in nearby Sundown, Texas, where his father worked for Texico. He moved from there to Midland to Hobbs, where he celebrated his fourth birthday. “It was a wonderful time,” he reflected. “My parents still live there and I get down to Hobbs fairly frequently. I married a Hobbs girl who I knew in first grade.” “I owe Hobbs a tremendous debt,” he added. “It was and is a wonderful town.” Browning played football for the Eagles and was on the 1972 state championship team, the last time the Eagles won state. Members of the team had a reunion in Dallas a few months ago, and they regularly get together in Hobbs. Browning said he keeps in touch with his classmates but doesn’t do Facebook due to the security restrictions associated with being a federal judge.

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

He played defensive tackle, nose guard and center during his time on the football field. After Hobbs, Browning went to Yale University, where he also played football. He worked in the oilfields during the summer. He attended law school at the University of Virginia while clerking at a firm in Roswell and then on the East Coast. He is a member of the Raven Society and the Order of the Coif.

Judge James Browning says a book about law caught his attention when he was in the fourth grade, and that made all the difference.

PHOTOS:

Judge Browning actually picked Yale for football reasons. He was an allstate player who had a lot of collegiate interest, but he blew out his knee during the seventh game of his senior year. “Some schools were reluctant, but Yale’s attitude was that I should come up there and play,” he remembered. “Ivy League football was prominent back then.” While football was a lot of fun, Browning said he’d planned to attend law school since he was a child. He decided when he was in the fourth grade that he wanted to read every book at the public library. He was working his way through the list when he got to a copy of Chief Justice John Marshall’s constitutional opinions.

Interestingly enough, the judge now owns that exact copy of the former library book. Browning said some of his law clerks worked out a deal with the library where they bought a new copy so they could give him the old one.

That book, he revealed, is what inspired him to attend law school.

“It’s still sitting here on my desk,” he acknowledged. FOCUSNM.COM


Later in high school, he’d actually considered engineering, but he ultimately made the decision to pursue political science. After law school, Browning had numerous opportunities to work back East, including some clerkships with the United States Supreme Court. He served as a law clerk to Judge Collins J. Seitz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1981 to 1982, and then clerked for Justice Lewis F. Powell of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1982 to 1983. That’s when his wife, Jan, decided it was time to return to New Mexico. “At that time, we had two little boys,” he recalled. “My wife said, ‘The kids are in New Mexico, and if you want to see the kids, you should come, too.’” He passed the New Mexico bar and borrowed his father-in-law’s car while looking for a job. He began working at the law firm Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, where he mostly handled complex commercial litigation. Browning served as deputy attorney general for a year (1987-1988) and then returned to the law firm. He formed his own firm, Browning & Peifer, in 1990, where he continued to practice until his federal appointment in 2003. Browning said about 60% of the cases on his docket as a federal judge are criminal cases. That includes federal drug cases and all cases that happen on reservations. There are also civil rights cases, foreclosures and cases against alleged tax dodgers. The federal court also handles civil cases where the citizens involved are from different states. Being a federal judge actually bears a striking resemblance to being a state judge, Browning said. “This morning, I sentenced someone for hitting someone else with a sledgehammer,” he observed. Browning has tried his share of cases PHOTO: Browning was a football standout for the Hobbs Eagles. He also played for Yale.

FALL 2015 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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that made the headlines. He was, for example, the judge who overturned a Mora County drilling ordinance that prohibited fracking. “Historically, a county cannot enact or supersede federal law,” Browning wrote in his 200 page decision at the time. “The ordinance thus goes beyond Mora County’s historical lawmaking just to deprive a corporation of their rights.” He also presided over the Robert Vigil trial. The former New Mexico State Treasurer was indicted on 28 counts of extortion, money laundering and racketeering. Browning is one of seven federal judges out of New Mexico. Appeals from his cases go to the 10th Circuit in Denver, Colorado. Appeals from there go straight to the United States Supreme Court. “We’re the trial court for the nation,” he summarized. Browning said he still follows Hobbs athletics quite a bit. One of his sons played sports for La Cueva High School and the other son for Albuquerque Academy while his daughter, Elizabeth, competed for the Hope Christian volleyball team. “But I’m still a Hobbs fan,” he declared. “When they are in town, I’ll try to fit into a letter jacket and go out there and root for the Eagles.” Although he has overseen trials with national implications, the judge still seems to enjoy swapping stories of football rivalries with Clovis back in the day, “I still have a close connection with Hobbs,” he concluded. “It’s been a wonderful part of my life and continues to be so.”

Federal Judge James Browning still has strong ties to Hobbs and Lea County. 24

FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

FAMILY FACTS ABOUT JUDGE BROWNING • His parents are Weldon and Shirley Browning • His wife is Jan Ramey Browning • His children are Eli Browning (1981); Jacob Browning (1983); and Elizabeth (Browning) Bell (1985) • Elizabeth is married to Zac Bell and their children are Bennett (4 yrs.), Emma (3 yrs.) and their third child is due in October. Zac’s father and grandparents are also from Hobbs.


Orchestra

Cultural Art Series

Join us for a night of music that is designed for the young at heart, featuring A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten,among other works

Bert Dalton Quartet

"Time Out For Brubeck" is a program of all Dave Brubeck music played by celebrated jazz pianist, arranger, educator, and producer Bert Dalton. The performance will include the same instrumentation of the original Brubeck quartet - and the same “joie de vie” as the real thing!

Monday, October 19, 2015 Tydings auditorium 7 PM Hobbs, NM For tickets and information visit swsymphony.org

Friday, November 13, 2015 Crosswinds Community Church 7 PM Hobbs, NM

WE ARE A FULL SERVICE CREATIVE AGENCY.

M A R K E T I NG MANAG E M E NT & CONSULTING • P RINT DESIGN & PR OD UC T I ON • L OG O & BR A ND D EVEL O PMENT • W EB D ESI G N & S O CI A L M E D I A D I RE C T MAI L & A DVERTISING SERVICES • COP YWR I T I NG SER VI C ES • SPEC I A L T Y PUBL I C AT I ONS • PR O MOT I ONA L PR O D U CT S 8 6 6 .2 0 7 .0 8 2 1 • Ad - Ve n tu re M a rk e ti n g . c o m


F O C U S on life in Lea County

Commentary: Living in New Lea Art and the County’s Second Best Times by Jim Harris

he period of time at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century − roughly between 1880 and 1917 − would have been the most exciting time to be living in the southeast corner of New Mexico on the land that would become Lea County. It was a frontier period, which could best be called the era of first permanent settlement. For me, the second most exciting time for living in Lea County is now, generally the last years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st

century. If you are looking for labels, this is a time that could be called the era of second settlement. The county is becoming a new frontier when an influx of diverse residents is not only changing demographics and the economy but also the history and culture of this corner of the Land of Enchantment. The new economic, social and cultural order of the county can be found in every corner of Lea, from Jal to Crossroads, but it can best be seen in Hobbs and Lovington, located in the geographic center and positioned as the economic hub of a growing

PHOTO: Native Americans Joe and Fannie Aragon of Acoma Pueblo traveled to Lovington in June to sell their art across

from the courthouse and in front of the Lea County Museum.

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

number of businesses that reach all the way to the Pecos River on the west and deep into Texas on the south and east. It’s not difficult to have all the senses in sync with the new Lea in a number of places, for instance, walking the grounds of Urenco in Eunice, sitting in a comfortable chair watching the horses run at Zia Park or dancing to the music of a popular Austin band on a street next to the courthouse in Lovington. If you want to see, hear, smell, touch and taste the newness here, have dinner at Joe Yue’s restaurant at Rockwind Community Links north of Hobbs. Then walk out from the dining room onto the new golf course


Podiatric Surgeon Joseph P. Marino, DPM

PHOTOS: The new Lea has fewer windmills that work, but plenty of birds make them work

for avian families. Two years ago Billy Joe Shaver, the man Willie Nelson calls the greatest of all Texas songwriters, the “wacko from Waco,” the original honky tank hero, played a street dance on the east side of the courthouse in Lovington.

at sunset to see the greens and fairways in the magical, plains light of the new Lea County. I don’t think I have seen a sight like it in the four decades I have lived here. Among other places, the new Lea is found in the blossoming of several arts communities that have sprung up from diverse groups and individuals in Hobbs and Lovington, organizations that have been watered and tilled by a small supporting crew. The flourishing arts can be found in literature, music, drama, dance, painting, sculpture, photography, graphics and more. As everyone is aware, art grows hand-in-hand with commerce, but in some ways the economy is the antithesis of art. At least that is the way artists have traditionally defined their work, with commerce being what is essential and continual, and art being what is additional and rare. As with politics, everyone who can speak has opinions about what art is and what it does or does not do not only for a person, but also for a town, city or region. In New Mexico, politicians and arts advocates continue each year to wage boisterous battles over how much of an impact the arts (most notably painting and cinema in New Mexico) have on

the economy, waging war as they have done for almost a century following New Mexico becoming a state in 1912. Since my earliest taste of the arts was literary, here are Mark Twain’s appetizers about the importance of literature and books: “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” What we need in Lea is more readers. What we need in Lea is more artists to write, sing, paint, act, dance their way into the cultural life of Lea. Lea County has changed much, modern Lea very different in so many ways. But what we also need now is to keep the momentum of positive growth. We need residents and community leaders who understand that a town or a county grows not by money alone. Art is one pathway forward, and it is a trail that leads more and more to making this era memorable and a time in which we can say that these are the best days and this is the new Lea County. ABOU T THE AU THOR

Jim Harris is the executive director of the Lea County Museum.

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F O C U S on family

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015


The Daniels Fund Creates Legacy Bill Daniels - Cable TV Pioneer, Philanthropist Extraordinaire by Susan C. Waters

One of the largest private foundations in the United States, the Bill Daniels Fund, reflects the experiences and concerns of its founder, and many of the events that were to shape Bill took place while he lived in Hobbs, New Mexico. Bill was a man who understood the human condition—the weaknesses that we are prone to and the strengths which we are capable of—and he had deep empathy for the hardships everyday people can face. Instead of simply voicing his concerns or funding research to find out how to assist people, he placed his cable TV fortune in a fund to help people overcome difficulties.

was kind of a wild ass, so my dad sent me to New Mexico Military Academy,” (New Mexico Military Institute, or NMMI). From his training at NMMI came an understanding of how high-energy children need discipline before they end up in trouble, an understanding which caused him to require one part of the Daniels Fund be devoted to what we now call “at risk students.”

in the first half of the 20th century. The Great Depression, from 1929 to the late 1930s, made making a living horribly hard and sometimes impossible. By chance and with a lot of determination, oil was discovered in Hobbs in the late 1920s, and people flocked to find work in a place described by one New Mexico roughneck as “sand, mesquite, bear grass and jack rabbits.”

Daniels, a World War II and Korean War veteran, visited a bar in Denver that was showing a boxing match from another state, and he became interested in the technology to move television over long distances. He later set up a microwave feed that delivered Denver programming to Wyoming and ultimately amassed a fortune, but it all began here.

It was in 1937 when Bill’s father, Bob, moved to Hobbs to head an insurance company which catered to the oil industry. The family followed. It was during this time that Bill’s parents decided that their overactive, sometimes aggressive child needed more discipline. Hobbs was a raw and rough town, and Bill’s parents worried that wilder parts of the town might end up being a bad influence.

Hobbs was a mecca for many people

In Bill’s own plain-spoken words, “I

PHOTOS: Cable TV Pioneer Bill Daniels and his family moved to Hobbs in 1937. He still has a lasting legacy in the area.

FALL 2015 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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“At risk” does not just mean unruly children; it also means environments that are detrimental to the goal of earning a high school diploma or college degree. For Bill, a degree was a means to an end and not an end in itself. Daniels Scholars, which number 1,000 at any one time, are required to maintain a high average and are also required to report on their progress. Bill was not interested in investing in a person’s whim or hobby; instead, he wanted to support men and women in attaining a sustainable career. Ethics, ethics, ethics! Bill believed that one should always be ethical in PHOTOS TOP: Some of the Daniels Foundation legacy: children’s hearing and helping those with disabilities. PHOTO BOTTOM: A class of Daniels Scholars - the program focuses on ethics and career building.

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

all business transactions, and for that matter, in all interactions in life. Given the free-for-all that American society is becoming, where anything goes, Bill’s ethics initiative is radical. College initiatives funded by the foundation must instruct students in integrity to “act with honesty in all situations” and in accountability to “accept responsibility for all decisions.” Students are also to embrace the ideals of trust, transparency, fairness, respect, and the rules of law. His unwavering belief in ethics has been successful: students graduating from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver can expect a lot from their MBAs. Of the approximately 643 business schools accredited by the Association

to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Daniels has ranked in the top five percent of business graduate programs. Business Week, The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times also give the undergraduate and graduate programs very high marks. The Daniels Fund works with many companies to help with internships, and obviously, lots of companies are very interested in Daniels graduates. Initiatives in ethics training are not limited to the school named after him; the Foundation has supported programs at other universities, and training is also being incorporated into K-12 schools. It was in Hobbs where Bill’s developmentally disabled sister,


Self-sufficiency was key to Bill’s thinking and to his philanthropy. Instead of simply offering a handout to people and families that are homeless, Bill’s foundation encourages people to become self-reliant. He knew firsthand what it was like to have homelessness looming in the distance. Before the move to Hobbs, Bill’s father lost his business, and the family had to move to Iowa to live with Bill’s grandmother. Still, the whole family worked to support the household, from making hand lotion to sell door-to-door to gathering wood to heat the house. Bill thought that hard work was the only way to survive, and he did not have tolerance for slackers.

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Daniels Fund President and CEO Linda Childears says that she often wants to pinch herself on the drive home to make sure her job is real. She says her job is tremendously rewarding, a vocation where helping those down on their luck is the daily agenda. For Bill it was a way to give back to society. After lifethreatening illnesses in the 1990s, Bill believed his life was spared for only one reason: to help others. So to lend a helping hand to those whose lives had taken an unfortunate turn, he established the Daniels Fund with over a billion dollars.

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For many, a lifetime’s accomplishment would have been being the father of cable TV. His real legacy, the one he truly wanted, lives on in the lives of everyday people needing second chances.

N y

Unusual is the focus of the Daniels Fund on people who are often overlooked by society. For the elderly, the Fund backs programs that enable older people to stay in their homes. Assistance can be in the realm of transportation, or it can be in the form of visiting nurses and meal preparation. It could be as simple as a much-needed wheelchair. Once again, Bill’s own experience influenced his wish for the Fund to support the elderly and their needs. As his mother became older, he did everything possible to make sure that she could comfortably and safely stay in her home.

Bill was not immune from weaknesses. He liked to drink, and it reached the point of being debilitating. It was part of the business culture. Bill’s lowest point was when, after a number of drunk driving incidents and a car crash, he found himself in a strange hotel room, disoriented because of the bottle. Checking into the Betty Ford Center was something he did openly. In a time when admitting to substance abuse was not kosher, he did so, even beginning speeches by saying how many days he had been sober. In his life, he was a top donor to the Betty Ford Center.

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Dorothy, lived with the family and was treated with respect— this, in a time when people like her were sent to institutions for life. Respect for people with disabilities is a modern phenomenon; way before his time, Bill had empathy for people who have limitations, and his foundation assists people with disabilities as well as their caregivers. Programs help individuals purchase or borrow equipment necessary to live decent and independent lives. Through one program, mentally disabled men and women learn how to survive in the world.

Bill died in 2000, but his works live on in the four states supported by his foundation: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. He would be pleased.

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F O C U S on history

Founding Hobbs

NEW MEX I C O by Leah LM Wingert

“Every family has a story…” - JOE BYERS

There is more wind than rain, and more scrubland than farmland near Hobbs, New Mexico. The city sits on a piece of desolate prairie that is so hot and windswept that for years the name of the high school yearbook was The Sandstorm. Modern Hobbs is a city of tremendous booms and devastating busts due to the unpredictability of the oil industry that is the primary source of employment and revenue. However, in the time of wagon trains and “Manifest Destiny,” a family of six forged their way across the rocky, uninviting western territory from Texas and settled in the corner of Southeastern New Mexico leaving behind an indelible mark: their name. Enticed by the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160 acres of public land to those who met the criteria, families began to flood to the West to seek their fortunes either in California during the gold rush of the 1860s or in the wide open spaces of the frontier. By 1907, the initial thrust of pioneers had begun to wane. However, because of the need for fresh air and sunshine to heal his wife, Fannie, of tuberculosis (The Grandma Hobbs Affair, Joe Byers 2007), James Isaac Hobbs packed up his family and headed toward the sunset.

PHOTO: The Ellis Byers room at the Lea County Museum.

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With no real plan as to where to go, the Hobbs family eventually settled in Southeastern New Mexico. Here the Hobbses found endless skies, abundant land and utter isolation. Miles of uninviting ground separated neighbors with no roads or means of communication. In 1907, when the Hobbs family arrived, the town had neither a school nor a post office to

make it official. The work of carving out a living in the unforgiving landscape of the New Mexican desert was a backbreaking task known as “dryland farming,” or simply put, farming without any means of irrigation. This left the fate of the Hobbs family and their neighbors up to the weather and their ability to survive on the land. The Hobbs family was fortunate in this regard Fannie Hobbs was the daughter of a physician, so she gained the reputation of being the tiny town’s resident


PHOTO ABOVE: An example of a room from pioneer days at the Lea County Museum. PHOTO RIGHT: Old home/storage building on the

Luck property (Bar C Bar Ranch).

doctor. Life in Hobbs was still hard, however, and it had neither school house nor church. It was James Hobbs who initiated the fund raising for a school house for the town’s children. Once completed, the one room became known as Hobbs School, and Miss Louise Howell was its first teacher. According to The Grandma Hobbs Affair, this gave rise to the use of the name Hobbs when speaking of the town and its environs. The building also served as a community center where neighbors separated by long distances could meet and discuss the day or week’s gossip. Eventually, the city gained its own post office which was named the Hobbs Post Office, therefore sealing the family’s name forever in the annals of the history of New Mexico. As the family settled into their lives in the rough patch of ground that was Hobbs, the children grew, married and eventually had children of their own. Then, after more than twenty years of struggling to make the ground

produce the fruits of hard labor, a miracle occurred: oil was discovered. Precipitating an unprecedented explosion in population, the sleepy town went from being an unknown spot in the desert to a destination. Fannie Hobbs became a mini celebrity in town, known as Grandma Hobbs, and was a keen supporter of the city until her death at the age of 85 in 1942. Her daughter, Minnie, one of the three children that made the arduous journey by wagon from Texas in 1907, married neighbor Ernest Byers from another one of Hobbs’ founding families. Once the oil boom hit in the late 1920s, Byers moved out of the growing city with her family to the smaller city of Lovington seeking a more rural life. The progeny of James and Fannie Hobbs continued to be held close in the hearts of the Lea County community. Joe Byers, one of their grandsons, wrote The Grandma Hobbs Affair. Dedicated to the memory of his grandmother, the book details the love Fannie had for both the city of Hobbs

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and its people. There is also a room in the Lea County Museum dedicated to Ellis Byers, who died over the skies of Germany in World War II. Another of the Hobbs grandchildren is Mrs. Fran Dawkins of New Orleans, Louisiana, who was on hand for the dedication of the Ellis Byers Room of the Lea County Museum. “She [Dawkins] is a great friend of the Museum,” said Lea County Museum Director Jim Harris. “She is very conscious of history.” Dawkins is in fact still so tied to Lea County that she will be returning for her high school reunion in October; she is a 1955 graduate of Lovington High. While Dawkins may now live in New Orleans and her parents and grandparents are now relegated to history, she and her family are still a part of the fabric of Lea County. Every family has a story, and for the Hobbs family, that story led to a town in the desert of Southeastern New Mexico that will forever bear their name.

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F O C U S on multiple talents

Terry Bumpass ARTIST

Al s o a Bu i l de r of Ae s t h e t i c H o m e s by Jim Harris

T

he 18 years artist Terry Bumpass spent living in Hobbs and teaching at New Mexico Junior College were years of both dramatic changes in his personal life and extensive growth as an artist of ceramics, jewelry and mixed media. In the time since he left Lea, he has owned and lived in four homes, two of which he rebuilt and redesigned and two that he built from the ground up. The two homes he designed and built from scratch are incredibly unique personal homes. One sits in Cerrillos, New Mexico, south of Santa Fe, and the other north of Terlingua in the Big Bend Country along the Mexican border in extreme West Texas. He created the two from very different functional and utilitarian conceptions. The first is a traditional adobe home that would serve the needs of an urban worker and his wife who wanted to live in the country a few miles outside the City Different. The second home that Bumpass built from scratch was conceived as a place of few square feet and for a couple’s basic needs on holiday in an extremely remote setting without electricity or water. All four of his homes have reflected his artistic sensibilities and changing personal aesthetic interests, but it is the last of these, the remote desert home south of Agua Fria Mountain, that has brought him back to his roots as an artist and to the initial yearnings that turned him to a life working in several art forms. Bumpass’ most recent home sits on a 40-acre plot in the Texas corner of the Chihuahuan Desert, 15 miles north of the Rio Grande and some 80 miles south of Alpine, Texas. It is a PHOTO: Artist Terry Bumpass at his home in the desert

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015


frame structure with corrugated metal siding and three rooms built around a central kitchen-bedroom-seating area containing a wood burning stove. Like so much of the art he has created during his life, the desert home was built out of diverse, often discarded materials that he gathered wherever he might be in his home town of Raton, New Mexico, or on the road in America and Canada. Of course, he did need to purchase some materials, such as the concrete and mortar he used in some of the construction and the corrugated metal that he used. In addition, he used local desert sands in mixing his concrete and mortar. He also made extensive use of rock and driftwood he scavenged in usually

dry Black Rock Draw and along the primitive dirt roads of an area known locally as Solitario. Those natural objects he combined with such materials as aspen from northern New Mexico mountains, windows and doors once used in rural homes in the 1930s and shelving found in buildings built in the 1950s. What he created in individual rooms of his small desert home are the aesthetic equivalents of the mixed media artworks that he has exhibited in shows, exhibitions and installations in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. It was in rural Texas where Bumpass found pleasure in creating order out of the disorder of diverse, discarded materials he encountered on his grandfather’s farm near Corsicana. The roots of his life in art were in a wooded, rural and isolated part of East Texas. His Big Bend desert home is

rural and isolated, but the closest thing he has to woods there are bosques found in deep canyons that get heavy runoff water in the summer rain season. Bumpass’ artistic roots are in simple, elementary objects for which his fellow humans have no use. Out of these compounds he creates aesthetically complex statements and encounters for viewers of his work. His artist’s roots partially grew in natural settings, and in the desert home he has found a setting that is farther from towns and cities than he has ever lived in his life. Since Bumpass is now in his sixties, could the desert be the last of the homes he builds? Possibly, but probably not. In fact, the building of his latest home and his desert experiences have rewired and energized his need to make art.

PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE): Terry Bumpass and his son, Chad, on Jan Lake in northern Saskatchewan, where Terry has fished

every year for the past 14 years. A photo from the opening of an art show by Terry Bumpass and Mike Moseley at the Lea County Museum’s Art Gallery in Lovington. Pictured, left to right, Terry Bumpass, artist Carol Hammond (Hobbs), Elizabeth Needham (Sanbury, Ohio), artist Nancy Powell (Hobbs). Terry’s art is on the wall behind them. One of Terry’s homes


F O C U S on sports

by Kyle Marksteiner

The 1969-70 Hobbs Eagles Basketball Team

ONE FACEBOOK POSTER CALLED THEM “THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAM EVER IN NEW MEXICO,” AND IT WOULD BE HARD TO DISAGREE.

T

he Hobbs Eagles have dominated the court pretty much since basketball came to New Mexico, and certainly for most of legendary coach Ralph Tasker’s lengthy reign, but there was something awfully special about the ’69-70 Hobbs team that went 26-1 and included standouts like Larry Williams and Larry Robinson. “It was pure talent,” reflected Mike Clampitt, a guard on the team. “We had nine seniors, and I think all of them got a basketball scholarship except for me.” (Clampitt had a couple of offers but played baseball instead.) “We had size and quickness. We had shooters and we averaged 114.6 points per game. We could have played with anyone in the country.” Clampitt is one of the few members of the team who still resides in Hobbs, and almost certainly the one with the most public profile in town. He’s the Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Club here, and recently oversaw the club’s renovation into a huge new facility. Clampitt grew up playing sports in Eunice, but moved to Hobbs prior to junior high. At the high school level he played both varsity basketball and baseball. “Basketball was probably my favorite,” he mused, “but I was better at baseball.”

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FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY | FALL 2015

PHOTOS: Photos from the 1969-1970 Hobbs Eagle basketball team (Photos courtesy of Rick Shed/ Hobbs Basketball: By The Numbers)


The ’69-70 team was filled with superstars, all of whom received or could have received basketball scholarships. There was 6 foot 9 inch Larry Williams, who went on to play for Kansas State, was drafted by the Bucks and spent his career playing basketball in Europe. He now lives in Lubbock. There were players like Duane Henry and Randall Pugh, who both played college ball for Trinity University. “Duane is the glue that kept in touch with everyone,” Clampitt stated. “He lives in Santa Fe.” And there was 6-6 Larry Robinson, who became a University of Texas superstar and went on to play basketball in Sweden. In fact, he’s still a Swedish citizen. Clampitt said he keeps up with many former team members on Facebook and through occasional visits. Robinson came through the other day, he recalled, and sent a message later about how nice the new Boys & Girls Club is. Larry Robinson is still considered to be one of UT’s best basketball players, and he also paved the way for integration at the university. “He was one of the first black players in the Southwest Conference,” Clampitt recalled. “He was also All Southwest Conference multiple times.” The legendary Hobbs Eagle team was a racially diverse group, Clampitt remembered. What really mattered is that the team had size, quickness and shooting to its advantage and was so good that it probably could have beat some college teams.

“We scrimmaged Western UTEP and stayed right with them,” Clampitt reminisced. “They really weren’t happy about that.” The Eagles, packed with nine seniors, won the state title during the 196970 season, just like they did the year before, and the year before that. The three-peat went down in the record books for high scoring (100 points or more in 14 consecutive games), and that’s the year the stadium was named after Ralph Tasker. In 1971, Hobbs lost in the state finals in Albuquerque to what Clampitt called a controversial call that reeked of home cooking. Of course, Coach Ralph Tasker had a lot left to do with the Eagles. He’d already been a part of the program since the 1949-50 season and had implemented his full-court press by the 1955-56 season. He coached (and won) for many more seasons before retiring following the 1997-98 season with a final win-loss record standing at 1122-291. “When he was coaching with us, he still got out and played some with us at half court,” Clampitt noted. “He had a deadly little set shot.” Clampitt had some basketball scholarship opportunities, but he decided to pursue baseball. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs after high school. He attended their winter instructional league and spring training, but was released when the Cubs drastically reduced the size of their farm club. That’s when he was drafted into the Army. It was the end of the Vietnam War, and Clampitt’s athletic background appealed to a recruiter. He wound up enlisting for three

years, and spent much of his time as a physical activity specialist in Ft. Carson, Colorado. There, he helped veterans returning from Vietnam adjust to life back home. “I think playing sports was a good diversion and something to help get their mind off of what they’d seen,” he remarked. Clampitt’s stint with the Boys & Girls Club began in 1979, when he served as athletic director. During his time in the Army, he’d worked in the intermural office at Ft. Carson, and putting together sports leagues felt like a natural fit. He left for the oilfields, but applied for the director’s spot when it later opened and was hired. The new Boys & Girls Club had 1,400 kids signed up and averaged 350 visitors a day over the summer, Clampitt noted. The club sees most of the young boys and girls who later become superstars for the Eagles and Lady Eagles. “It’s a good feeling,” Clampitt admitted. “Hopefully, we just introduce them to the sport and make it fun for them. That’s our goal.” With a member of the state’s best high school team ever at the program’s helm, Hobbs basketball players certainly get an early start.

HOBBS EAGLES 1969-70 BOYS BASKETBALL ROSTER Larry Robinson Robert Brooks Larry Williams Randall Pugh Charles Hutchings

Easy Pugh James Ward Duane Henry James Dickerson Dickie Speegle

Tim Tasker Mike Clampitt Tommy Tydings


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