Mike Powers| News-Bulletin photos
Cowboys and cowgirls vied for prize money during the Baca Rodeo Series in Bosque Farms, which had been held in Belen for more than 40 years.

BOSQUE FARMS — After nearly a year of uncertainty, the Casper Baca Rodeo Series appears to have found a home in Bosque Farms.   

“It’s been great. It’s a comfortable place for us,” said CJ Baca about three weekends of performances in March at the Bosque Farms Rodeo Association Arena. “It kind of seems like ‘open arms’ here in Bosque Farms.”   

This experiment appears to have been a success from the perspective of BFRA as well.  

“It’s been wonderful so far,” Anthony Montoya, BFRA president, said Saturday. “I’m hoping this will be the new home for the Baca Series.”  

Baca, whose family operates the series across New Mexico, said the two sides have already discussed possible dates for next year.  

The new partnership emerged when Baca ended a decades-long run at the Valencia County Sheriff’s Posse Arena in Belen following several disagreements between the two parties.  

Chancie Roberts made the trip from Hatch with two daughters and a son to compete.  

“We’ve rodeoed in both arenas, and we like both places,” Roberts said when asked to compare the two facilities. “It’s not a big deal.”  

Roberts, who entered barrel racing and breakaway roping two of the three weekends, said Bosque Farms has more stalls, making it easier for the eight horses she brings along. 

“I like the setup,” she said. “I like the trees. It’s nice to have shade when it is warm.”  

When word got out that the rodeo series was moving, “My first thought was about the memories,” in Belen, said novice bull rider Vernon Sam of Rio Rancho. “Hanging with my buddies.”   

Sam, who was about to celebrate his 18th birthday, added, “An arena is an arena to me. I just get on — this arena is just as good as any.”  

Wind and rain, or both, was a hinderance during three of the performances, but Baca was pleased with the number of cowboys and cowgirls who found their way to Bosque Farms.  

“We’ve had nearly 300 contestants each weekend. That’s pretty big,” Baca said. “A lot of contestants have never been to this arena, which is great for the community.”  

Heading into the final performance Easter Sunday, Baca said parking was a priority with workers added to help “pack them in as best we can.”   

Before the gates opened March 16, BFRA addressed several safety concerns. Montoya said the gates to the bucking chutes were adjusted and “modifications” made to the holding pens.  

“There’s always room for improvement. We’ll work on things,” Baca said. “Even down to the (arena) dirt. The dirt has to be just right.”  

With the rough stock now loaded in trailers and the cowboys and cowgirls off to the next rodeo, Montoya and Baca look to the future.  

“Everything went well here this year,” Baca said. “I think the association in Bosque Farms would love to have us back.”   

Montoya confirmed that statement.  

“It’s been a wonderful partnership,” he said. “We look forward to many more to come.” 

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Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.