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

Reporter's notebook: Back to basics


June 14, 2018

LOGAN — Campers will convene Christian-cowboy style this weekend at Ute Lake, a nod to a tradition dating to the mid-19th century.

The “Ute Lake Camp Meeting” begins this morning and runs through Saturday night for its seventh year at a campground west of Logan at Ute Lake State Park, said Clovis’ Dan Pearce.

“It’s a Christian celebration for all denominations,” he said. “It’s a time to kind of let down our hair and enjoy one another. I brought my grandkids here last year, and not one time did they ask for a television or an iPad. It was like heaven.”

The Ute Lake meeting “evolved from the legacy of the former Mesa Redondo Cowboy Camp,” dating to the late 1970s near Tucumcari, said a news release from historian Wilma Fulgham.

More distantly, the practice traces back another century before that.

“The roots for these really came about 150 years ago,” Pearce said. “It was usually after the harvest, when people were kind of done for the year; they would gather together and have a campout with a camp fire, preaching and singing, around their wagons.”

Wagons may have been substituted since then with RVs, and nowadays campers use propane grills in place of a big fire. The Ute Lake venue has running water, showers and electricity, too, Pearce said, but generally speaking the concept is still recognized across 50 such events annually, from Georgia to the Pacific Northwest.

Organizers expect about 60 campers and 300 people total for the event, which invites participants to stay multiple days or to tune in for just a day’s programming. The schedule starts each day with coffee at 6 a.m. and includes meals, worship, discipleship and evening fellowship, according to the news release.

For more information contact organizers on Facebook or Pearce at 575-309-8010.

— Compiled by Staff Writer David Grieder


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