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Clovis High’s homecoming bonfire long held tradition.

link Staff photo: Kevin Wilson

Dylan Smith and Shyleen Cortez enjoy Clovis High’s homecoming bonfire Thursday night behind Central Baptist Church. The Wildcats host Rio Rancho in tonight’s homecoming game.

CNJ STAFF WRITER

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As a slight breeze blew Thursday behind Central Baptist Church, members of the Clovis High School band had a high-stakes game of rock-scissors-paper going before director Brandon Boerio shouted, “Drumline, let’s go.”

And just a few minutes later, the rest of the band followed suit. Then the cheerleaders. Then the students, who cheered when Scott Caldwell took the microphone and asked, “Do we have any Wildcat fans out tonight?”

Caldwell, president for the football booster club, said those words to kick off the annual homecoming bonfire behind the church. Between 200 and 300 attended the event, which joined together the long-enjoyed traditions of football and setting stuff on fire.

The leadup to the bonfire did not drag on, with a quick introduction of the band and cheerleaders, a reminder to come out to Clovis’ homecoming game against Rio Rancho and the following home game Oct. 3 against Wolfforth Frenship, an announcement of the homecoming court nominees from which a king and queen will be announced at halftime Friday night.

“Hopefully,” Clovis assistant coach Drew Hatley said, “we can beat Rio Rancho on Friday night, make that (Saturday night) dance a little more exciting.”

The bonfire? A different story, as crews from the Clovis Fire Department had to fetch a second round of accelerant to light the 12-foot-high pile of wooden pallets placed in a dirt circle. Department officials joked they knew how to stop fires a lot better than how to start them.

The elements didn’t help, either. Volunteers placed the pallets in the area Tuesday night in advance of the bonfire, just before Clovis got hit with another patch of rain on Wednesday.

After an hour of work, and plenty of a diesel-gasoline mix, the fire roared and heated up the Clovis night to successfully complete a staple of homecoming tradition.

As for the football game portion, the Wildcats have their hands full with second-seeded Rio Rancho coming to town.

“We’re going to need the craziest, loudest fans to turn out Friday,” Caldwell said.