Before I sat down to write this column as the new sports reporter at the News-Bulletin, the staff encouraged me to tell you who I am, what I will be doing and what I have been doing.
“Go ahead and brag” someone said. I’d like to think that is against my nature, although my wife and kids might disagree. So, for the good of our readers, here goes …
Some of you might remember the name. Perhaps the face, more wrinkled. Some might even recall the voice.
I spent more than a quarter century at an Albuquerque television station, first as sports director and then as anchor for the morning newscast. Along the way, I won a few awards, including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year several times.
There was a sports talk radio show called “Powersports,” and rock ’n roll fans might recall the weekly sports segment on a local radio station. The musical intro referred to me as “Radio Sports God.” Seeing that in print is a bit embarrassing.
During that span, I had the thrill of being the television play-by-play voice of University of New Mexico athletics. It was a blast, but there was equal pride in covering the local sports scene, including high school athletics, while shining a light on people and places that may have been overlooked.
That is my intent once again. It was wonderful making connections that at first seemed fleeting but lasted for years, many with ties to Valencia County.
Our former mail carrier reminded me that I featured her when she was a kicker for the Belen High School football team. I got to know many Valencia County products who competed for the UNM football team, including N.M. Rep. Brian Baca, of Los Lunas. We highlighted a standout track and field athlete for the Belen Eagles, Jace Rivera, whose wife, Lacy, would later be my learning coach and mentor during a stint teaching at Los Lunas High School. Maybe I’ll be covering their kids someday.
Now, I have come full circle, both literally and figuratively. In the 1980s, I traveled from Montana to South Dakota to New Mexico, and made that exact same orbit in the 2010s, pursuing my broadcasting career.
Early on, our young family planted roots in Valencia County, deep enough that we have long since called New Mexico home. During all this, my wife, Pat, continued to work in special education for the Los Lunas Schools while finding time to coach soccer and basketball for the Tigers.
My three children, Cheyenne, Paige and Casey, all graduated from county high schools, enjoying the usual array of activities, including sports, band and drama. Now that trio, along with two grandchildren, have all matriculated to within 30 miles of us. Joy.
This opportunity with the News-Bulletin has also brought me full-circle professionally. My original goal entering the University of Montana was to become a newspaper reporter.
In the era of Woodward and Bernstein, most of us with a journalism penchant dreamed of breaking the big story with a headline “above the fold.” However, I gravitated to what seemed to be a more natural fit for me and spent my first 26 years in television news covering sports.
But the thought of being a “newspaper guy” always lingered, and now is my chance! This is an opportunity to hear from you and share your stories and passions, victories and, yes, defeats.
I am back in Valencia County, back on the sports desk, back with the family. Full circle.
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.