Wild West Lives on in Northeast New Mexico

Ranches, rodeos, dances and fairs celebrate cowboy heritage this summer and fall

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Nara Visa Cowboy Poetry & Song Gathering
Nara Visa Cowboy Gathering

Solano Starlight Ballroom Dances

The legend of the American cowboy lives on in Northeast New Mexico — from Harding County to Colfax County — where large ranches originally acquired through Spanish land grants in the 1800s still operate as working ranches to this day.

This summer and fall, clients are invited to experience the cowboy lifestyle firsthand by staying at these ranches. There, they can have a chuck wagon dinner; sing cowboy songs by the campfire; explore ghost towns scattered across the region; or explore the wide open spaces.

The region is also hosting a number of small-town festivals that celebrate the rich history of the cowboy. 

“Small-town festivals represent family heritage throughout New Mexico,” said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “The friendly folks in rural Northeast New Mexico have been entertaining family and friends for many years. I invite you to join them.”

The Solano Starlight Ballroom Dances take place Aug. 30 and Sept. 27 from 6-10 p.m. at the Harding County Community Building in Solano, N.M. Entertainers include George Bullfrog & the Turquoise Trailers (Sept. 27) and the Modern Swing Pioneers (Aug. 30). Here, clients can gather with locals to share a meal and dance under the stars.

On Aug. 16, Tucumcari hosts the Quay County Fair & Kiwanis High Plains Junior Rodeo from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., featuring exhibits, a livestock show, crafts, food and entertainment.

From Sept. 19-21, clients can go to the Nara Visa Cowboy Poetry & Song Gathering in the small ranch town of Nara Visa in Quay County. The event  — one of the most traditional cowboy events in the U.S. — features chuck wagon breakfasts and dinners; an ice cream social; cowboy poetry; and cowboy music.