The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson
Managing Editor 

Souvenir still tops plaques, awards


November 19, 2017

Our newspaper did well at the recent New Mexico Press Association/Associated Press Managing Editors convention.

I won’t bore you with the award listing, except to tell you it’s nice to be recognized no matter what. On your bad days, you tell yourself, “That award means I did one good day of work.” On your good days, you see them as standards you try to meet and surpass. But eventually, they blend in with the rest of the wall.

The conventions are what I enjoy the most, to be honest. I get to see people I spend the entire year talking with on the phone, find out their preferred beverages and trade stories of the most unbelievable stories, sources and customers (sorry, not sharing them in this column, because some of them are still here). On those years where you win a lot of awards, you get to tell people about the great staff that made it possible.

And then there are the side stories. I still remember the small-town Texas conference I attended, and how I forgot a charging cable for my phone. The chain store didn’t have it, and suggested the area electronics store with obvious hesitation. I had trouble finding the store because the lights were off, and the owner was using sunlight instead. I walked around and found no cable, and another person came in to meet a similar fate. After we had both wandered around for five minutes, the phone rang and the manager was clearly in an argument with the significant other. “Sorry, but I’m slammed with customers right now.” The other customer and I looked at each other quizzically, since he’d helped neither of us.

But my favorite conference find is ... the basketball. All of the places attending the conference donate something that would make a good live or silent auction gift. I rarely win the prizes, because I always turn it into my personal “The Price Is Right.” I’ll shake my head when people bid over the actual retail price, and I’ll chuckle when the donor’s astronomical value doesn’t match the bids. Sometimes, the failure trombone music plays in my head, “Bumm bumm bum bumm, waaaaaah....”

The basketball was neither of those things. It was an authentic NCAA game ball, signed by an entire basketball team and the coach. I won’t say what team for a reason that will be obvious two paragraphs from now.

The auction organizers didn’t think the basketball would fetch any auction prices, so it was put at a fixed-price table. The ball could be mine for $25. for the remainder of the evening, I carried a basketball to dinner because my room was on the other side of the hotel and I didn’t want to drop it off.

I won that day, and victory was confirmed with a quick trip to The ball I’d purchased for $25 retailed for $42. And that’s why I won’t identify the team; who wants to find out their signature devalued something by nearly 40 percent?

I don’t know if any plaque or award will top that convention prize. It’s been years since I purchased that basketball, and it’s still in great condition.

So if you see me shooting basketball ever, and there’s a bunch of writing on the ball ... yes, it’s autographed. It’s my souvenir from the time I won on “The Price Is Right.”

Kevin Wilson is managing editor of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:


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