Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Articles written by Eric Butler


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  • Lady Rams eye another 3A state run

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    You can almost see a slight grimace in Robbie Crowley's smile when she talks about her softball team's playoff appearances the last couple of years. At Portales High, the Lady Rams have valiantly fought their way at state through what's commonly referred to as the "loser's bracket" in order to get into the championship game — in both 2011 and 2012. Last year, that meant winning four games in 28 hours just to get into the title game against Silver — certainly not an easy road for a team that was the top seed entering the dou...

  • Defending Class 3A champ Rams rebuilding

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    And now comes the morning after, so to speak. In the history of Portales High baseball, nothing quite matches the wild ride that was the 2012 season as the Rams won the school's first state championship on the diamond. CMI photo: Tony BullocksPortales High senior Zach Blaeser makes contact during Saturday's baseball practice at Ram Field. Blaeser will divide time between shortstop and the mound this season for the defending Class 3A state champion Rams. On three consecutive May days, Portales won three straight games which...

  • Q&A - Los Angeles transfer averaging 16 points

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Rodney Blackmon, a cat-quick junior guard from Los Angeles, is averaging more than 16 points a contest this season for the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds. On his 2012-13 resume are three game-winning shots and, in one recent win over Cameron, a stretch where he scored 18 of his team's last 23 points. After playing high school ball at David Starr Jordan in L.A., Blackmon attended West Los Angeles college before transferring to Eastern — where he is a psychology major. How do you like Portales, compared to where you c...

  • YEAR IN REVIEW: Rams relish baseball title

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Portales has enjoyed much success in girls basketball and volleyball, its share of titles in football and, generally, bright spots in everything the high school has participated. But it wasn't until 2012 that the Rams grabbed a state championship in baseball. In the Class 3A state tournament finale, Portales faced a Cobre squad that was on an 18-game winning streak. Worse for the Rams was the fact that Portales had apparently used up ace pitcher David Rodriguez — who had just tossed a 1-0 shutout in the semifinals over S...

  • Year in Review - National recall targeted Sunland

    Eric Butler PNT correspondent

    Editor's note: This fifth and final story in a series on the top news stories in the PNT coverage area in 2012. At the end of August, at a luncheon in Albuquerque, Sunland Peanuts of Portales was recognized as one of the top 100 privately-owned businesses in the state of New Mexico. With 125 employees, the local company basked in the glow of the honor bestowed by Albuquerque businessmen and women. File photo Sunland Inc., is on its way from recovering from a massive setback after the Portales peanut company was linked to a...

  • Year in Review - Police faced setbacks

    Eric Butler CMI Correspondent

    Editor's note: This is one of a series on top stories in the PNT coverage area in 2012. To say that 2012 was a bit of a rough year for the Portales Police Department would be a major understatement. By the time fall turned to winter, the Portales PD had a new chief but had also suffered several minor bruises to the department's reputation and a couple of major blows. In February, former Portales police captain Lonnie Berry was sentenced to 18 months probation and a $500 fine for tampering with public records — largely due to...

  • Year in Review - Prayer divided city

    Eric Butler CMI Correspondent

    Editor's note: This is one of a series on top stories in the PNT coverage area in 2012. In mid-September, Portales' city leagues Sports Director Mike Doerr told the Portales News Tribune that coach-led prayer would no longer be allowed at games under the city's auspices. He added that, "There's nothing up for discussion." Doerr may have been right in that the decision ultimately wasn't altered, but there was certainly plenty of discussion in the weeks afterward. "If they don't want to be a part of it, they don't have to be a...

  • Year in Review - Siblings' deaths rocked town

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Editor's note: This is the second of a five-part series on the top stories in the PNT coverage area in 2012. The death of the Anthony brothers of Elida is No. 4 on the PNT's list. It didn't even happen in Roosevelt County, but when one truck was hit by a larger truck in Chaves County the tragic consequences instantly stretched north. Fred Anthony sits in a 1926 school bus that he rebuilt from scratch. His family said the school bus was one of his great joys. Around 3:45 p.m. Aug. 9, brothers Fred, 72, and Ronald Anthony, 76,...

  • BYU pulls away to beat Hounds

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    PROVO, Utah — When a Division II basketball team ventures into a 20,000-plus arena to take on the likes of Brigham Young, it's usually not a matter of if but when the home team will open up a comfortable margin. JIM MCAULEY: (Provo) Daily Herald Eastern New Mexico's Phil Henry dunks during the first haf of Tuesday game against at the BYU Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. For the Cougars, in a 95-62 victory over Eastern New Mexico University on Tuesday, that came at the end of the first half. BYU (7-3) eventually built on a 1...

  • In tribute: Former Fort Sumner coach made impact

    Eric Butler CMI Correspondent

    Figuratively, it could be said that Mario Martinez was always looking out for the little guy. De Baca County News: Scot Stinnett Mario Martinez is carried to the center of the field by his players immediately following the 28-27 win in the 1995 Class 1A state championship game, the first for Fort Sumner. They were surrounded by the more than 400 Fort Sumner fans who made the 400-plus mile trip for the game. The fact that his own physical stature was small was certainly no...

  • Rams' new head coach excited by opportunity

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    When Mark Gallegos took the job as athletic director at Portales High, Rickie McBroom was the right man for the job Gallegos left behind. As it turns out, it's the right job for the man, too. CMI correspondent: Joshua LuceroPortales senior guard Jacob Aranda, right, works against senior forward Zach Blaeser during the Rams' practice on Monday. Portales opens the 2012-13 season under first-year coach Rickie McBroom on Friday against Roswell High at the RAC. "I think it's a great opportunity," McBroom said of being the Rams'...

  • Seniors rallied team to secure title

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    When Elida senior Shealton Veo-Chenault arose for championship day at the state volleyball tournament last weekend, she and her teammates were brimming with optimism about what might come later. Kevin Wilson: CMI photo Elida players celebrate following championship point over Carrizozo in last Saturday's Class B title match at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Heading over to the lobby of the MCM Elegante in Albuquerque, where the team was staying, Veo-Chenault had a nice big omelet prepared for breakfast. Omelet on...

  • Top-ranked Coyotes wary of Hondo

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Ever since Dora knocked off Lake Arthur in a midseason six-man battle of No. 1 versus No. 2, the Coyotes have become the de facto favorite to run the table to the school's first state championship. But Dora coach Mason McBee's job has been to keep heads level and continue the season-long winning streak that has translated to an 8-0 record. Today, in a New Mexico state semifinal game, the Coyotes will try to go one better than they did a year ago. Hondo Valley (4-4) will visit Dora for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Last season, Dora...

  • Dora adjusting to role as six-man power

    Eric Butler CMI Correspondent

    Many communities in the southeast quadrant of the state have long traditions regarding football. Dora does too, but for a long time the tradition was not to field a football team at all. Things are progressing quickly in the little town though since Dora High started playing six-man football in 2007. Now, behind second-year coach Mason McBee, the Coyotes are at the point where thinking of a state championship is not far-fetched. After advancing to the state semifinals last year, Dora has started the current campaign with...

  • ROOSEVELT CO. FOOTBALL: Coyotes thinking 6-man title

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    DORA — Many communities in the southeast quadrant of the state have long traditions regarding football. Dora does too, but for a long time the tradition was not to field a football team at all. Things are progressing quickly in the little town, though, since Dora High started playing 6-man football in 2007. Now, behind second-year coach Mason McBee, the Coyotes are at the point where thinking of a state championship is not far-fetched. After advancing to the state semifinals last year, Dora has started the current campaign w...

  • Animals sometimes road hazards

    Eric Butler CMi correspondent

    Tony Bullocks: CNJ staff photo Horses drink from a trough Tuesday on Curry County Road 13. Why did the chicken cross the road? In communities surrounded by agriculture, maybe it's just to get back home after some sort of disruption. It doesn't happen too often, according to local officials, but eastern New Mexico is susceptible at times to something like a stray horse or cow wandering the streets. "Generally, it's because a storm comes in and spooks 'em, or a fence is knocked over — something like that," said Barry Allen, a...

  • Animals sometimes road hazards

    Eric Butler CNJ correspondent

    Why did the chicken cross the road? In communities surrounded by agriculture, maybe it's just to get back home after some sort of disruption. It doesn't happen too often, according to local officials, but eastern New Mexico is susceptible at times to something like a stray horse or cow wandering the streets. "Generally, it's because a storm comes in and spooks 'em, or a fence is knocked over — something like that," said Barry Allen, a branding inspector with the New Mexico L...

  • Lady Tigers flying high

    ERIC BUTLER CMI correspondent

    ELIDA — When you've won consecutive state championships, expectations tend to be elevated when a third is in sight. But don't call it mad ambition when an Elida player, like senior setter Shealton Veo-Chenault, says something like the following: "We do talk about winning a third one, getting the triple crown, but actually our goal right now is to go undefeated — but I'd better knock on word when I say that." CMI photo: Tony Bullocks Elida freshman Marily Varela prepares to...

  • Round and round they go

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    To an outsider, the world of roller derby may seem akin to something like wrestling on wheels. Or, in images from movies such as "Rollerball," something worse. But for a couple of dozen women in Clovis and Portales, roller derby is an adrenaline rush and a physical workout that can hardly be beat by many other activities. That's how Crystal Johnson, 31, got started in the sport when she was stationed in Alexandria, Va. Just coming off a pregnancy, Johnson was seeking a...

  • Team roping has marathon type of feel

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    If PBA bull riding is like the 100-meter dash of rodeo events, full of glitz and instant big rewards for the winners, team roping is more akin to the marathon. CMI photo: Kevin WilsonPatty Moberly of Melrose successfully ropes the head at the U.S. Team Roping Championships Saturday at Curry County Events Center, helping her and teammate Dee Fish, also of Melrose, finish with a time of 9.3 seconds. The atmosphere on Saturday at Curry County Events Center, host to the Southwest...

  • Team roping has marathon type of feel

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    If PBA bull riding is like the 100-meter dash of rodeo events, full of glitz and instant big rewards for the winners, team roping is more akin to the marathon. CMI photo: Kevin WilsonPatty Moberly of Melrose successfully ropes the head at the U.S. Team Roping Championships Saturday at Curry County Events Center, helping her and teammate Dee Fish, also of Melrose, finish with a time of 9.3 seconds. The atmosphere on Saturday at Curry County Events Center, host to the Southwest...

  • HPJRA rodeo endures rough start

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Early in Saturday's action in the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association finals at Curry County Events Center, in the world of man-vs.-animal, it was the animals who had the better time of it. Two riders were thrown to the ground, causing temporary delays while they gathered their senses. And then a bull sent another would-be rider out of the Events Center on a stretcher. Later, in barrel racing, a horse decided that rounding the first two barrels was enough before taking an...

  • HPJRA rodeo endures rough start

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Early in Saturday's action in the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association finals at Curry County Events Center, in the world of man-vs.-animal, it was the animals who had the better time of it. Two riders were thrown to the ground, causing temporary delays while they gathered their senses. And then a bull sent another would-be rider out of the Events Center on a stretcher. Later, in barrel racing, a horse decided that rounding the first two barrels was enough before taking an...

  • HPJRA rodeo begins Wednesday

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Some 30 years after the fact, Ryan Figg has a picture at home commemorating when he was a team roping champ with the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association. The photo conjures up images of his fellow competitors — not that it's necessary. CMI photo: Tony BullocksPablo Martinez of Lovington tries to hold on during his ride during the 2011 High Plains Junior Rodeo Finals at Curry County Events Center in Clovis. The finals are set for the Events Center again this week, the 38th c...

  • HPJRA rodeo begins Wednesday

    Eric Butler CMI correspondent

    Some 30 years after the fact, Ryan Figg has a picture at home commemorating when he was a team roping champ with the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association. The photo conjures up images of his fellow competitors — not that it's necessary. CMI photo: Tony BullocksPablo Martinez of Lovington tries to hold on during his ride during the 2011 High Plains Junior Rodeo Finals at Curry County Events Center in Clovis. The finals are set for the Events Center again this week, the 38th c...

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