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Discover Socorro and Surrounding areas: 2013 Visitors Guide

Discover Socorro and Surrounding areas: 2013 Visitors Guide

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The official 2013 visitors guide of Socorro, New Mexico and surrounding areas. Published yearly by El Defensor Chieftain (Number Nine Media, Inc.). For more information. please call 575-835-0520.
The official 2013 visitors guide of Socorro, New Mexico and surrounding areas. Published yearly by El Defensor Chieftain (Number Nine Media, Inc.). For more information. please call 575-835-0520.

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Published by: El Defensor Chieftain on May 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Horace T. Lyons, of the class of
1913, is credited with the notion
to put an M on Socorro Peak. He was
enrolled as a freshman at the New
Mexico School of Mines in 1908 before
Socorro Peak was so adorned.
During Lyons’ years in Socorro, he
found out about two other Ms associ-
ated with western U.S. mining schools:
The Colorado School of Mines’ M on
Mount Zion near Golden, Colo., com-
pleted in 1908, and a similar M on Big
Butte at the Montana School of Mines
(now Montana Tech) completed in 1910.
Lyons reasoned that if other pres-
tigious mining schools in the Rocky
Mountains had such mascots, shouldn’t
the most prestigious mining school in
the Southwest have one as well? Of
course, New Mexico’s M needed to be
even larger than its counterparts; the Colorado M is 104 by 107
feet, and the Montana M is about 90 by 90 feet.
Socorro Peak’s M is roughly 150 feet in height and 100-110
feet in width, and was laid out with compass and steel tape
between 1911 and 1912. The lines of the M are roughly 30 feet
in width. Two burros hauled the first loads of lime and water
in 1912.

Lime, being water-soluble, washes away with rain and
snow, and it became tradition to repaint the M with lime at
least once every year. School of Mines President Fayette Jones
proposed in 1916 that two days be set aside for the event, but
the interference of World War I and the resulting lack of stu-
dents delayed the second whitewashing until 1919.
Water was packed up the cliffs by burros until 1922. For a time
after that, students relied on nature, and painted the M when there
was snow to melt to make the water for the whitewash.
By late 1937, M day became a regularly scheduled event,
with students riding in a bus to the mouth of Blue Canyon,
then hiking up the mountain together, carrying water and
lime. However, packing water up the mountain was a grueling
task, and M day resumed its dependence, at least in part, upon
snowfall by around 1945.
This remained standard procedure until water, and some
lime, could be transported up the mountain with four-wheel
drive vehicles.

The tradition of painting the M continues today, with stu-
dents competing to be the first to reach the summit carrying
not lime or water but a 50-pound sack of marble dust. The
event is now part of the annual ’49ers Celebration in October.

El Defensor Chieftain


Visitors Guide 2013

Arts & Entertainment

For more information call 575-835-8927


11th Annual

6-10 p.m.

Noon - 10 p.m.
on the Historic Plaza

Music ~ Spirits Tents
Family Fun
Food ~ Arts & Crafts


The city of Socorro hosts various
music events, dances and the
farmers market at the Old Town Plaza.
Many plaza events include food, beer
and wine vendors; free samples for tast-
ing; jumping balloons for children and
music to bring the community together.

New for 2013,
events at the plaza
include the dance
series, which starts
in July, said Jennifer
Gonzales, director of
the Socorro Heritage
and Visitors Center.
The new dance series
includes country line
dancing, country
two-step, fox trot, merengue, salsa and
a winter gala in December. The series
gives people something they can do,
she said.

Held every October is SocorroFest,
the biggest evente. Local performers,

such as Roon, Audio Frenzy, Doug
Figgs and Mariam Funke, perform on
one of the three stages in the plaza so
audiences can enjoy different music

The farmers market sells home-
made goods and arts and crafts and
is hosted on the plaza twice a week
through the summer. In the winter the
market is held in the Finley Gym com-
plex. In December, the electric light
parade and the luminarias on the plaza
art stroll give people an opportunity to
view artwork, listen to music and enjoy
each other’s company.
For more information, call 575-835-
8927 or visit www.socorronm.gov.



El Defensor Chieftain

Visitors Guide 2013


Arts & Entertainment

Socorro is a music town.
The music scene in tiny Socorro
rivals those of many small cities. With
two weekly open mics, numerous perfor-
mance venues, an annual music festival
— SocorroFest — and a terrific Performing
Arts Series hosted by New Mexico
Tech, there’s something for everyone.
The Socorro music scene is fortunate to
have the support of many local businesses

• The Old Town Bistro features local
and out-of-town performers on week-
ends, an open mic every Monday night
and a song circle the last Thursday of
every month.

• The Capitol Bar features regional
blues and rock bands on weekends.
• Sofia’s Restaurant has performances
Saturday nights and Sunday mornings,
as well as an open mic every Friday.
• The Buckhorn Tavern in San
Antonio features the Blue Monday
Blues Band every other Monday.
• Bodega Burger Co. has live dinner
music on occasional Fridays.
• If you’re lucky, you may catch
Bernie Romero and his band at El
Matador on a Friday evening.
• Up the road in Bosque, the Blue

Door hosts open mics and perfor-
mances on Friday and Saturday.
• And in Magdalena, the
Golden Spur Bar and Bear
Mountain Coffehouse feature
live music.

Socorro is home to many
great musicians and bands,
including Bernie Romero
(Spanish), Doug Figgs and
Mariam (country), The
Remedy (variety), Roon (folk/
rock) and Suavecito (variety).
You can find out what’s hap-
pening musically in Socorro
online at socorromusic.com.
Opportunities for music lovers


• The New Mexico Tech Performing
Arts Series, which showcases well-
known and up-and-coming acts from
all over the world. Performances hap-
pen in the Macey Center Auditorium
on campus.

• The Presidential Chamber Music
Series fresented by NMT, featuring
classical performances by some of New
Mexico’s finest musicians.
• SocorroFest, a two day music festival
hosted by the city of Socorro. 2013 will be

the 11th year for this event featuring local,
regional and national acts.
• A Fourth of July celebration hosted
by NMT, featuring local and regional

• The city’s Cinco de Mayo celebra-
tion features local and regional Spanish
music on the Saturday closest to May 5.
• Festival of the Cranes Arts and
Crafts Fair, held the Friday through
Sunday before Thanksgiving, shich fea-
tures local solo and duos to accompany
the many arts and crafts vendors.



El Defensor Chieftain


Visitors Guide 2013

Arts & Entertainment

Macey Center is home to the New Mexico Tech
Performing Arts Series, which brings a dozen
highly acclaimed music, dance and theater performances
to Socorro and the surrounding community every school
year, from September to May.
A spacious and versatile venue, the 615-seat theater
is used for dance recitals and school concerts, as well
as spring musicals and winter feasts, film festivals and

The large lobby and meeting rooms accommodate
a variety of functions, from weddings and banquets
to first responder trainings and the annual Mineral
Symposium every fall. The state Science Fair and the
Science Olympiad are held there each year in the spring.
Macey Center includes a 3,400-square-foot art gal-
lery featuring exhibits by local photographers, painters
and fiber artists, open Monday through Friday from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery space is large enough to hold
catered luncheons and the annual spring fashion show,
and on some occa-
sions, even local arts
and crafts vendors.
For information about
upcoming events or
available services, call
The center is also
home to classical music
performances spon-
sored by New Mexico
Tech President Dr.
Daniel H. Lopez. The
Presidential Chamber
Music Series consists
of four concerts per
year, hosted by New
Mexico Symphony
Orchestra violist Willy
Sucre. The concerts
are free, and open to
the entire community.



El Defensor Chieftain

Visitors Guide 2013


Arts & Entertainment

New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series has something for everyone
who is interested in music, theater and dance. Shows are chosen each
year with a little bit of everything of interest. The PAS all-year-round season
includes 12 shows and five free classical concerts, making it popular in Socorro
and surrounding areas.
“Shows are successful with attendance from audiences of all ages and people
from all backgrounds,” said PAS director, Ronna Kalish.
More out-of-town people from Los Lunas, Belen, Truth or Consequences
and Bosque Farms are attending shows because of the wide variety of perfor-
mances, she said.

“PAS is like a diamond in the desert, there are shows for everyone,” said art-
ist Catharine Stewart-Roache, adding that the performers love coming to New
Mexico because they say it has the best audience.
PAS organizes a huge Fourth of July celebration with music, family events and
a spectacular fireworks display. New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. Lopez also


Art Series

supports PAS with the Presidential Chamber Music Series, which
is hosted by violinist Willy Sucre who performs with string quar-
tets, piano sextets and piano quartets.
“This year the season is unique because there are more shows.
It’s very international, with music concerts and extravaganzas,”
Kalish said.

Kalish said there haven’t been fewer than 300 people who
come to PAS performances, and all shows are popular. The show
that received the highest attendance in 2012 was Popovich’s
Comedy Pet Theater with 650 people in house. One thing
that PAS won’t change are
the shows that appeal to the
young people and seniors,
she said.

PAS is partnered with the
Socorro Consolidated School
District, Magdalena Schools
and Alamo Navajo School
Board to bring education-
al youth performances and
workshops to all the commu-
nities. Tech Club Macey is a
social gathering opportunity
held before all shows with
food and drinks for people
21 and over.
“We think this is the
coolest program in Socorro
County,” Kalish said. “The
tickets are affordable and we
want everyone to participate.”

20th Annual
4th of July Celebration

Free live music and
entertainment, family activ-
ities and food vendors sell-
ing barbecue, snow cones,
popcorn, cotton candy,
watermelon, candy, baked
goods and more. The eve-
ning features New Mexico
Tech’s Famous Fireworks

The day long celebration
is sponsored by the New
Mexico Tech Performing
Arts Series, city of Socorro
and EMRTC.

July 4

El Defensor Chieftain


Visitors Guide 2013

Arts & Entertainment

Socorro Coummunity


The Socorro Community Theater
is a community group and a
nonprofit organization that performs
a series of three or four plays a year,
and a children’s workshop in the sum-
mer, says vice president for Socorro
Community Theater Eileen Comstock.
The Socorro Community Theater puts
on shows such as “You’re a Good Man
Charlie Brown,” “Much Ado About
Murder” and “The Odd Couple” (female
version). The Socorro Community
Theater performs at the Garcia Opera
House, Finley Gym, Macey Center or

at Cottonwood Valley Charter School,
and most of the shows at the theater are
for a general audience.
“Socorro Community Theater brings
people together, from all walkes of life
and many cultures,” Comstock said.
The theater serves as a venue to
making new friends, she said. The the-
ater always needs volunteers and ideas
for the plays and there are many people
who contribute their talents on and off
stage, she said. Volunteers help with
costumes, sets, makeup, tickets, public-
ity and scenery.

“Participating in the theater is
a good way to meet other people,”
Comstock said.
Socorro Community Theater attracts
actors and actresses from high school to
beyond college, and sells annual mem-
berships for support, she said. Theater
memberships include individuals, cou-
ples and patron memberships.
“The Socorro Community Theater
is important because it creates a cre-
ative outlet for people to participate,”
Comstock said.

Garcia Opera


The Garcia Opera House was built in 1886. During
that decade, the discovery of lead and silver in the
nearby Magdalena Mountains transformed the quiet town
of Socorro, with a population of a few hundred people,
into a thriving center of commerce and industry, with a
population of more than 4,000.
The opera house opened on Dec. 1, 1886, with an event
advertised as a “musical festival composed of 100 musi-
cians, followed by a grand dance and supper.” Since that
first spectacular extravaganza, the Garcia Opera House
has been the setting for events including masquerade balls,
political rallies, productions of the Socorro Community
Theater, arts and crafts festivals, wellness fairs, school
concerts, weddings and banquets.
The Socorro Community Theater has staged an aver-
age of two productions a year in the historic Garcia Opera
House, from Shakespearian plays to modern comedies
and dramas, every year since 1994. For more information
about Socorro Community Theater, call 575-835-2564 or
visit www.socorro.com/sct/.

El Defensor Chieftain

Visitors Guide 2013


Sports and Recreation

New Mexico Tech

Golf COurse

Considered by many to be a vibrant desert oasis, the New
Mexico Tech Golf Course offers golfers of all skill levels
a fun, challenging and scenic experience.
Set almost directly at the foot of Socorro Peak, the 18-hole
championship course consists of rolling hills and breathtaking
elevation changes, and allows for potent views of the Rio Grande
Valley to the east.

The course is generally considered a short one by golf stan-
dards, giving golfers the opportunity to work on their precision
game, but varying fairway lengths also allow the big swingers to
let loose with their drivers.
New Mexico Tech Golf Course features three par-five holes.
Hole No. 1 is 457 yards from the white tee, and the championship
tee is a full 100 yards farther than that. Hole No. 5 is a true test
of length and skill at 559 yards from the blue tee, and its wicked
dog-leg right gives hitters a chance to lay up and play it safe, or
go for glory over an unforgiving patch of scenic desert terrain.
So golfers will likely use nearly every club in the bag to navi-
gate the 6,688, par-72 course (5,887, 73 for women). The course
carries a 71.0 rating for gentlemen at a slope of 129, and 69.7 with
a 125 slope for ladies.
Golfers will also contend with two dozen sand bunkers and 11
ponds that are in play on 10 holes. An especially challenging hole
comes at No. 10, a par-4 351-yard straight shot from the white tee.
But the green is completely surrounded by ponds, testing every
golfer’s accuracy from the tree-lined fairway.
The course is open year-round and is normally uncrowded, but
the links fill up often for various tournaments and championships
throughout the year.
The annual Socorro Open, a Sun Country PGA-sanctioned event,
will be held from June 3-8. The nearly weeklong tournament con-
sists of a senior open, an open Pro-am and a professional open. It’s
also home to one of world’s more fascinating sporting events in the
Elfego Baca Shoot. Brave golfers travel to the top of M Mountain,
some 2,500 feet and three miles west of the course, and attempt to
play a 50-foot wide “hole” near the base of the mountain.
The course also plays host to the 2013 Furr’s Buffet New
Mexico State High School Class 1-3A Championship May 13-14,
and the Junior America’s Cup Qualifier will take place May 19.
The course serves as an ideal site for numerous other fundrais-
ing and charity events throughout the year.
New Mexico Tech Golf Course is equipped with all the ame-
nities including a pro shop, locker rooms, driving range, putting
range and an adjacent chipping green.
The M Mountain Grill offers tasty menus for breakfast and
lunch, as well as snacks and beverages.

Golf Digest named the course one of America’s 500
best places to play golf as well as one of the 10 best
public courses in New Mexico, so come and find out for
yourself how much this course has to offer.
For more information on New Mexico Tech Golf Course
call 575-835-5335, or visit www.nmt.edu/nmt-golfcourse.

New Mexico Tech Golf Course
#1 Canyon Road, Socorro, N.M. 87801

We proudly offer:
18 holes Unrestricted walking Full practice
facility Friendly, qualified staff Lesson with
PGA Pros Available rental equipment

El Defensor Chieftain


Visitors Guide 2013

Sports and Recreation



Socorro County makes up an extremely large
chunk of land in New Mexico, and luckily for
pilots, recreational flyers and aviation enthusiasts the
county houses two airports.
Located on the southern edge of town, the Socorro
Municipal Airport (KONM) was most recently renovated
in 2009 and had an Automated Weather Observation
System installed (AWOS). The airport has two runways
and stands at an elevation of 4,875 feet. The north-south
approach runway (15/33) is 5,841 feet long and 75 feet
wide. The asphalt surface is in good condition. The
single-wheel weight bearing capacity is 50,000 pounds,
and the double-wheel is 75,000 pounds. The east-west
approach runway (6/24) is 4,590 feet long and 60 feet
wide. The asphalt surface is also in good condition and
both runways have a medium intensity edge limit. The
AWOS frequency is 118.325. For more information go to
The presence of the Socorro Municipal Airport
allows the installation and the city to play host to the
annual M Mountain Fly-in.
The fly-in, heading into its sixth year in 2013, gives
attendees an opportunity to experience several different
styles of alluring aircraft. The show has traditionally
featured home-built planes, experimental aircraft, mili-
tary style planes and helicopters and even vintage war
birds. In past years aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey and
AH-60 Blackhawk had shown up, and in 2012 a fully
restored B-17 Flying Fortress dazzled the audience.
Committee members plan on having another historical
war bird on hand in 2013.
Named New Mexico “Airshow of the Year” in 2012,
the M Mountain Fly-in offers anyone who attends a
unique experience. This year’s event will take place on
Sept. 28 and 29 and will feature plenty of food, enter-
tainment, music and fun. Organizers are also adding an

aviation career day the Friday before the official beginning of the
fly-in. For more information find the M Mountain Fly-in page on

Not far to the west of the village of Magdalena sits Ambers
Guin Field at an elevation of 6,727 feet. The natural soil runway
is 5,650 feet long and 50 feet wide. The field’s busiest days come
in the fall and winter months during deer and elk hunting season.
Call 575-854-2462 for more information.
And definitely not forgotten in Socorro County are model
airplane aficionados. The Chile Proppers Club hosts its own fall
fly-in annually at New Mexico Tech, and dozens of radio con-
trolled model airplane enthusiasts show up to demonstrate their
piloting skills.

El Defensor Chieftain

Visitors Guide 2013


Sports and Recreation

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