Cowboy Days -

The Old West becomes new again each spring at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. Cowboy Days, the museum’s biggest event of the year, brings to life New Mexico’s ranching traditions through demonstrations, food, living history activities, and other programs. Cowboy Days returns to the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, March 3 – 4, 2023.

Cowboy Days features chuck wagon cooking and other demonstrations, including Colcha embroidery, chair caning, weaving, dowsing, wool spinning, and wood carving. Also included are performances by local musician Neal McCowan, presentations by Western Writers of America, herding demonstrations by ranch dogs, horseshoeing and blacksmithing demonstrations, sheep shearing, and a plant sale, as well as food, arts and crafts vendors and more. Pony rides for children are from 9 – 11 a.m., and from 1 – 3 p.m. with a limited number of tickets available.

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 museum’s livestock staff hosts the popular Parade of Breeds, in which each of the six breeds of cattle are brought forward and their unique characteristics are discussed. This popular program runs from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. In addition, costumed museum volunteers set up shop at various sites around the 47-acre facility, portraying characters from the Old West – many recognizable to locals – and interacting with festival goers.

Other organizations providing activities generally include Back Country Horsemen, 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.

The Old West has never been more accessible, or entertaining, than in this family-friendly celebration of rural traditions, covering the spectrum from age-old customs to contemporary adaptations. Admission to Cowboy Days 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. For more information, visit the website.

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