Cowboy Days festival returns to Farm & Ranch Museum
February 14th, 2023
Culture, skill, and entertainment will be in abundance at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s 23rd-annual Cowboy Days celebration in Las Cruces.
The fun is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. The family-friendly admission price is $10 per carload.
This year marks the return of the Castro family performance group of Lienzo Charro El Pedregal in Vado, N.M. Daniel Castro and several of his family members perform trick roping and traditional charreada demonstrations from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Charreada is a festive event that features a variety of equestrian activities, as well as costumes and music that bring a uniquely Latino culture to a sport that has its roots in Spain. Seating is limited for these performances in the Round Pen.
“The best part of what we do is that we’re able to do it as a family,” said Castro. “My kids are by my side learning part of our culture and tradition through our shows. It’s important to us to keep our heritage alive for future generations.”
The Parade of Breeds cattle program is a staple of Cowboy Days. Livestock Manager Greg Ball brings each of six breeds of beef cattle into the Round Pen to discusses their history and characteristics. This popular program is from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Linda McDaniel of Alamogordo will be at Cowboy Days with her working dogs. They will demonstrate herding at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Pony rides for children ($5) are from 9-11 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m. with a limited number of tickets available.
Horseshoeing demonstrations are scheduled for 10-10:30 a.m. and 1-1:30 p.m. Chuck wagon cooking, blacksmithing, and fiber arts demonstrations also will take place throughout the day. The local chapter of the Back Country Horsemen will do horse care demonstrations, such as saddling and grooming, at 10:45, 11:45, 12:45, 1:45, 2:45 and 3:45.
Cowboy Days guests will enjoy listening to the music of Las Cruces’ Neal McCowan (12:30-3:30 p.m.), having lunch at the food trucks, and shopping at the craft booths and Museum plant sale.
Ollie Reed of the Western Writers of America will do a presentation in the Museum’s Theater at 2 p.m. A New Mexico journalist since 1976, Reed received the 2016 Rounders Award, which is presented by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to those who "live, promote and articulate the western way of life."
Reed also will do a presentation at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 3. This special “school day” of Cowboy Days is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with several hundred area school children touring the Museum and visiting about 20 educational activity stations. Some of the presenters on March 3 are musicians and storytellers Crow & Karla of Las Cruces, Fort Selden Historic Site, Master Gardeners, Back Country Horsemen, Mesilla Valley Cowbelles, High Noon Leather, City of Las Cruces Museums, Branigan Library, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, NMSU Cooperative Extension Services, Asombro, Doppler Dave Speelman from KVIA in El Paso, New Mexico Ag in the Classroom, and fiber arts demonstrations by Museum volunteers.
A highlight on Friday, March 3 is the Sheep to Shawl program with sheep shearing most of the day, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to enjoy the educational activity stations, the sheep shearing, plant sale, and see the Museum’s exhibits and livestock. Regular Museum admission applies on March 3: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, and $3 for children 4 to 17.
Admission to Cowboy Days on March 4 includes all the Museum’s regular offerings, including the popular exhibit: Riding Herd with Billy the Kid: The Rise of the Cattle Industry in New Mexico. Pets are not allowed at the Museum.
Saturday, March 4
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Continuous activities: Wool carding, spinning and weaving demonstrations, chuck wagon cooking, blacksmith demonstrations, craft booths, food trucks, plant sale, exhibits.
9-11 a.m.: Pony rides for children near the Pony Barn. ($5). Limited number of tickets.
10-10:30 a.m.: Horseshoeing demonstration on the South 20.
10-10:30 a.m.: Working dog demonstration near the Sheep Barn.
10:30-11:30 a.m.: Parade of Breeds cattle program in the Round Pen.
10:45 a.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Charreada and trick roping performance in the Round Pen.
11:45 a.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
12-12:30 p.m.: Working dog demonstration near the Sheep Barn.
12:30-3:30 p.m.: Neal McCowan music in the Courtyard.
12:45 p.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
1-3 p.m.: Pony rides for children near the Pony Barn ($5). Limited number of tickets.
1-1:30 p.m.: Horseshoeing demonstration on the South 20.
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Parade of Breeds cattle program in the Round Pen.
1:45 p.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
2 p.m.: Ollie Reed and the Western Writers of America in the Theater.
2:30-3:15 p.m.: Charreada and trick roping performance in the Round Pen.
2:45 p.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
3:30-4 p.m.: Working dog demonstration near the Sheep Barn.
3:45 p.m.: Back Country Horsemen’s horse care demonstration near the Bridge.
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