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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Hispano chamber celebrates 11th annual matanza

By Dana Bowley

News-Bulletin Staff Writer dana@news-bulletin.com

Belen

The “world’s largest” event of its kind is teaming up with one of the world’s biggest names in entertainment for the 11th annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza on Saturday, Jan. 29. The biggest change for this year’s ver- sion of the increasingly popular matanza is that it has a new title sponsor — the Hard Rock Casino and Resort Hotel- Albuquerque — said event chairwoman Arie Gallegos, president of the Hispano chamber. “We’re excited to have Hard Rock as a sponsor,” Gallegos said. She said the chamber approached Hard Rock executives about the spon- sorship and, after having to explain to some of them what a matanza is, they enthusiastically agreed. Hard Rock will use the matanza to promote its “Luche Libre USA: Masked Warriors” wrestling program. “We thought it would be a good col- laboration between the two,” Gallegos said. “We hope Hard Rock sees it as the kind of audience they want to reach.” She said at least one of the Luche Libre stars is expected to be at the event. Gallegos also thanked the 34 other sponsors of the event. “We really appreciate the sponsors,” she said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.” Where the event is today is as the largest matanza in the world as far as anyone knows, drawing about 10,000 people a year to the Sheriff’s Posse grounds in Belen and raising more than $85,000 to provide about 180 college scholarships to date. “That’s what it’s all about, the scholar- ships,” Gallegos said. “It’s amazing how many scholarships we can give out from

2 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Hispano chamber celebrates 11th

News-Bulletin file photo

THIS YEAR’S VALENCIA COUNTY Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29.

this event. Hopefully we can give our more this year than in the past.” Something old will be new again this year, she said: “We’re putting the music back inside the Sheriff’s Posse Cafe and bringing the (People’s Choice Awards) judging back outside to the crowd.” Gallegos said the change will get the musicians out of the weather and hope- fully get more of the crowd involved in the People’s Choice voting, which fell off when it was moved inside. To facilitate the People’s Choice vot- ing, organizers are trying to develop a voting system using an iPad, but as of Jan. 18, Gallegos said they had run into technically difficulties and she wasn’t sure whether it would be in place for this matanza.

Gallegos said the music schedule hadn’t been confirmed yet, but will fea- ture Mariachi Tradicional and at least a couple of local bands. She said 21 teams have signed up to participate in the cooking contests, which will involve the use of about 27 pigs. The contest areas are liver and onions, carne adovada, chicharrones and a cook’s choice specialty item that must contain some part of the pig. Also back this year is the popular Iron Pig competition in which each contes- tant is provided with an identical set of ingredients, revealed only at contest time, and must come up with a dish using them all. There are also contests for tortillas, and chile and biscochitos.

A panel of judges will determine the winners in each category, but attendees get to have their say as well via the People’s Choice Awards voting. Gallegos said there are no changes in the judging criteria from last year, which include presentation, taste, tex- ture and smell. The teams’ campsites will also be the subject of an award based on creative presentation and compliance with health standards. The chamber will be selling copies of the Edward Gonzales poster that pro- moted one of the early matanzas, and there will be an art show. Gallegos said there will be about the same number of vendors as last year (24) “or maybe a few more,” and there will be activities for youngsters at the Kiddie Corral (see separate story). “It’s just good family fun,” she said. All of this takes “a tremendous num- ber of volunteers,” and Gallegos gave a special thank you to those who put in a lot of time and effort on the project. That includes Hispano chamber board members and their families, students from the high school bands and clubs in the county, and previous scholarship winners who come back and help. “I cannot say enough about our volun- teers,” she said. Gallegos said she officially became involved in helping with the matanza two years ago when she began organiz- ing the children’s activities, but has actually been involved with her family helping husband Marcus’ cooking team. That became somewhat of a problem this year with the Gallegos children scheduled for a trip to their grand- mother’s home at the same time as the matanza. Gallegos said her 9-year-old son refused to go on the trip, opting instead to stay and go to the matanza. “He told me, ‘I’ve been to every one and I don’t want to miss it,’” she said.

schedule of events

Saturday, Jan. 29

Gates open: 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Valencia County Fairgrounds Entrance fee: $10 at the door, chil- dren age 10 and under are admitted free Parking: $5 at the grounds; a shut- tle ride will be provided from Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley Where to buy tickets: At any MyBank location, Rio Grande Financial Network in Los Lunas and Carlos’ Cantina and Grille in Belen and at the Matanza.

Liver contest

(teams only) Due: 9 a.m.

Carne adovada contest

(teams only) Due: 10 a.m.

Tortilla. biscochitos and chile contest

(open to all) Due: 11 a.m. in the judge’s tent

Iron Pig competition

(teams only) Due: 12 p.m.

Specialty items contest

(teams only) Due: 1 p.m.

Chicharrones contest

(teams only) Due: 2 p.m.

Awards ceremony

3 p.m.

All containers will be delivered to each team a half an hour prior to judg- ing time. It is the team’s responsibility to deliver each entry on time to the judge’s tent, which is located inside the center tent. Judging will be based on presenta- tion, taste, texture and smell. There will be first, second and third place awards given for each category. The grand champion will be selected by the total combined points from each category. The specialty item has to contain some part of the pig to be eligible.

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 3

Title Sponsor:          TEAM LIST 11 Ray’s Trenching
Title Sponsor:
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TEAM LIST
11
Ray’s Trenching & Excavating/Sunset Foods
1
Tillery Pontiac, Buick, GMC & Willard Cantina & Cafe
12
Frank’s New Mexico Products
2
Sisneros Bros. Mfg.
13
KG Construction/D&G Construction
3
Jeffs Pumps
14
Rio Grande Financial Network/John Kirkpatrick Design and Consulting
4
Becker Street Pub
15
Fat Sats Bar & Roadrunner Pit Stop
5
The Home Depot
16
RPM Lending Solutions
6
Los Lunas Schools
17
B Jar Construction / New Mexico Disposal
7
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18
Lucero Farms
8
Wal-Mart Distribution Center
19
Farmers Insurance - Marcus Gallegos Agency
9
PG Enterprises
10 Judge Tina Gallegos
20
ROC Construction
21
VCG & Divine Mortgage & Financial Services

4

Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Hard Rock Casino and Resort puts name on matanza

By Jason w. Brooks

News-Bulletin Staff Writer jbrooks@news-bulletin.com

Belen

The title sponsor for the 2011 Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza couldn’t have taken on that role five years ago. Hard Rock Casino and Hotel Resort- Albuquerque was called Isleta Casino & Resort until last spring when the Hard Rock brand came in. The 2011 Matanza, which serves as the chamber’s college scholarship fundraiser, will now have a name on it that’s associated with a worldwide chain of restaurants and resorts. “Valencia County is in our backyard,” said Cassie Rakoczy, the marketing director for the casino. “It’s important that we are good community partners.” Rakoczy is part of a team that has already reached out to get involved with Valencia County events, she said, includ- ing Summerfest, Rio Abajo Days, the UNM-Valencia Campus’s golf tourna- ment fundraiser and Ranchito De Los Niños. Penny Griego has also worked at the casino for about two years, and her input was key to getting Hard Rock involved as a title sponsor. “We only got involved about a month ago,” said Rakoczy, speaking in early January. “It kind of sat around a little longer than it should have.” Hard Rock’s presence will be utilized to promote upcoming casino events, mainly a Lucha Libre wrestling show, a program for MTV2 that is taping its second season at Hard Rock. Rakoczy is hoping to get Lucha Libre wrestlers to the matanza for a demonstration to help promote a Feb. 19 casino show. The $10 matanza admission gets attendees into the fairgrounds, where all types of the area’s best homemade food will be available. There will also be a tent featuring Hard Rock swag and promotions of upcoming events, so the casino’s name will clearly be visible.

4 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Hard Rock Casino and

HARD ROCK CASINO and Resort Hotel-Albuquerque is sponsoring the 11th Annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza, to be held Saturday, Jan. 29, at the Valencia County Fairgrounds.

Griego said she and others are work- ing hard on arranging in-kind dona- tions, especially ones that help defray expenses. “For example, we use 1,800 dozen tortillas at the matanza,” said Griego. “That’s a huge expense. That’s why, in the past, we always tried to get busi- nesses like the Albuquerque Tortilla Co. and Bueno Foods to donate the products we use.” Rakoczy is from the Midwest and, like many newcomers to the Land of Enchantment, has never been to a matanza. That’s where Griego’s local

knowledge of culture comes in handy. “I’ve gone to matanzas all my life,” said Griego. “From the killing of the pig to the dining, I’ve seen how it works, and how much it’s a part of life here.” Valencia County resident Shawn Hogue designed the logo for the 2011 matanza. The masked pig featured on it is intended to look like a Lucha Libre star in all ways, from the mask to the shoes to the hairy arms. Since the matanza is an annual gather- ing of county residents, some of whom work at Hard Rock, there are several nat- ural connections between the area and

its closest nearby casino. The Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce held its installation banquet at Hard Rock. The matanza didn’t have a title spon- sor in 2010, but there were platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels of sponsor- ship. Rakoczy said letting Valencia County residents know Hard Rock is involved with community events is a huge priority for casino CEO Ron Olson and the rest of the staff there. That’s why the name will be highly visible at the matanza. “Even the wristbands will have our logo,” she said.

The Isleta Casino and Resort began with a tent that opened in 1986, followed by a permanent structure in March of

2001.

Expansion has been frequent over the past 10 years. The main casino building was completed in the early 2000s, and that structure includes a steakhouse, buf- fet, lounge and showroom. The arrival of the Hard Rock brand meant a new gift shop and other stores, along with the trademark decor that includes pop cul- ture memorabilia. The showroom has featured musical acts as diverse as Chicago and Tanya Tucker, along with mixed martial arts and sporting events such as professional boxing. The original 2001 building is now the Isleta Fun Connection, an all-ages facil- ity. A bowling alley, video game arcade, snack bar and laser tag system are here, and the facility can be rented out for spe- cial occasions. The Isleta Eagle Golf Course has been around for more than 20 years as well. Isleta Lakes Recreation Area includes fishing and an RV campground. A $100 million hotel and convention center opened in June 2008. It includes more than 200 rooms, a lobby that fea- tures an eight-story glass wall, a glass elevator, versatile ballroom space, an on-site spa, indoor/outdoor pool, food venues and a dance club.

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 5

2011 Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza Sponsors

Title Sponsorship

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque

Platinum Sponsorship

Bueno Foods

Valencia County News-Bulletin

Gold Sponsorship

Belen Schools My Bank The Home Depot Sisneros Bros. Mfg.

Silver Sponsorship

Calabaza Consultants City of Belen Fiesta Tents General Mills New Mexico Educators FCU Solo Cup UNM-VC Valencia County Sheriff’s Office San Bar Construction

Bronze Sponsorship

A&A Plumbing El Paraiso Gallegos Insurance Agency Graphic Connection Greetings Etc. Inc. Kangaroo Jumpers Los Lunas Schools Magistrate Danny Hawkes Matthews Custom Meat Processing National Children’s Study New Mexico Bank and Trust N.M. Water Service Co. Safeco Insurance/Colorado Casualty Sandia Labs FCU Shawn Hogue Sheriff’s Posse Cafe Stewart Title Village of Bosque Farms Village of Los Lunas

2010 winners

Chile competition: 1. Elaine Montoya; 2. Edward Chavez; 3. Delilah Sanchez Tortilla competition: 1. Nicole Carillo; 2. Karen Valenzuela; 3. Luisa Saenz Biscochito competition: 1. Sara B. Storey; 2. Arnold Montoya; 3. Shae Lucero Team Champion: 1. ROC Construction; 2. Ray’s Trenching & Excavating/Sunset Foods; 3. Walmart Distribution Center Iron Pig competition: 1. Fat Sats Bar/Roadrunner Pit Stop People’s Choice Award: 1. Joe’s Mobile Express

Liver: 1. ROC Construction; 2. Fat Sats Bar/Road Runner Pit Stop; 3. Tillery Pontiac, Buick, GMC/ Willard Cantina and Cafe/ Los Lunas Maintenance Dept. (tie) Carne adovada: 1. Arturo Saiz for Mayor; 2. ROC Construction; 3. Joe’s Mobile Express Specialty Item: 1. Ray’s Trenching & Excavating/Sunset Foods; 2. Walmart Distribution Center; 3. Valencia High School/Los Lunas High School Chicharrones: 1. PG Enterprises; 2. Tillery Pontiac, Buick, GMC/Willard Cantina and Cafe; 3. Los Lunas Parks and Recreation Department

w here to Park

There are several choices this year when it come to parking at the 11th annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. If you park at the Sheriff’s Posse grounds, a car load costs $5. The park- and-ride shuttle service from Calvary Chapel Rio Grande costs $2 per person.

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

6 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Curt Gustafson-News-Bulletin photo CLARENCE

Curt Gustafson-News-Bulletin photo

CLARENCE AND DARLENE LUCERO stand next to the oven that has served them well during the many matanzas they have given or been a part of. The Lucero’s grandchildren are now capable of performing all of the functions necessary for a matanza.

The family that matanzas together ...

By Curt Gustafson

News-Bulletin Staff Writer cgustafson@news-bulletin.com

The Clarence Lucero family has been doing mantanzas for so long, it may well have become a genetic trait. “I’m 58-years old, so I’ve been doing them all my life,” Clarence Lucero said. “And my dad did them before that. “Our grandkids can kill a pig. They can do everything we can do. So it’s been handed down from my father to me, from me to my sons, and my sons’ kids are learning it now. It’s been in our family for a lot of years.” This vast experience and acquired skill make the Lucero Farms team a formidable force during the competition at the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. Lucero and his four brothers, their wives and children, and other relatives and friends comprise the team of about 20, which normally walks away with some hardware. “Since we’ve been going, we’ve come away with something every year, at least one award, which is unusual because there are so many teams,” said Darlene Lucero, Clarence’s wife of almost 40 years. In 2008, the team won the specialty item, the chicharrones and carne adovada competitions, and was also awarded the

grand champion award. “Our team is one of the greatest there is,” Darlene said. Every year, the whole Lucero family throws a mantanza at their family ranch in Marquez, near Mt. Taylor, the weekend after Thanksgiving. “We kill anywhere from six to 10 pigs,” Clarence said. “We invite friends, so there’s a lot of people. This year about 200 people showed up.” He purchased several 4-H pigs that didn’t make the county fair sale at the normal market weight of between 230 and 250 pounds. He then fattened them up to about 500 pounds to put on a two-inch layer of fat to provide for the chicharrones. “Back in the days when my father raised a pig, they would feed the pig until it wouldn’t move anymore,” Clarence said. “They would have pigs that had four inches of back fat.” This would not only provide the fat for the chicharrones, but enough lard to pro- vide cooking oil for the year. The pigs that are provided to each team at the chamber matanza are about 300 pounds, but enough pigs are killed to provide ample fat for each team to make chicharrones, he said. The preparation of the chicharrones is an example of Lucero teamwork. Clarence’s brother, Elmer, is the team

n See Luceros, Page 7

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 7

Luceros: Family enjoys camaraderie

from PAGE 6

member who prepares the family-secret mix that includes milk, salt and water. Then another brother, Rueben, cooks them. “He stirs and stirs and stirs the pot for about an hour,” Darlene said. The chicharrones, cubes of pure pig fat, cook out the rendered fat while absorbing the mix. All of the brothers will assemble to determine when the chicharrones are done. The finished product should be golden brown and will rise up to the top of the mix when ready. As is true of all competition categories, each team does it differently. “Some people take them out with a colander and let the fat flow out of them,” Clarence said. “Other people squeeze them and put them in gunny sacks. The way we do them, we just let them be. “There’s a lot of good ways of prepar- ing different things. You get to meet a lot of people and a lot of different matancer- os.” In addition to the chicharrones, the Lucero team will cook chile, carne ado- vada, beans, fried potatoes, fajitas, carne asada, biscochitos and a specialty item. The Lucero’s daughter-in-law, Melanie Lucero, is in charge of the specialty item,

and her track record is good. Her winning entries have included blue corn tacos and pork won ton. Competition is certainly a driving force in the Lucero family’s participation in the matanza. “There is some good competition out there,” Clarence said. “There are a lot of neat people who put in a lot of work into it who we’ve gotten to know. It’s a very friendly competition. There’s a lot of great matanceros out there.” This would include Dave Valenzuela, Clarence said. “He’s done a lot of matan- zas and won a lot of awards.” In addition to the competition and camaraderie, the Luceros also enjoy con- tributing to the purpose of the matanza, providing college scholarships for Valencia County residents. “I think that it’s a fantastic job that they’re doing to help the kids with schol- arships,” Darlene said. Finally, it’s a chance for the Lucero family to be together. “We all seem to enjoy it, and we all have a good time,” Darlene said. “That’s what you do it for is to keep the families together, at least one time a year. It keeps the family united. That’s what it’s all about.”

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 • 7 Luceros: Family enjoys camaraderie from

Submitted photo

CLARENCE LUCERO, right, flanks some family members who helped the Lucero Farms team win the specialty item, chicharrone and carne adovada awards as well as grand champion honors in 2008. From left, C. J. Lucero Jr., grandson, Clarence Jeremy Lucero Sr., son, Melanie Lucero, daughter-in-law, and Greg Lucero, son, proudly display three of their four awards.

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

8 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 News-Bulletin file photo VINCENT

News-Bulletin file photo

VINCENT GALLEGOS and Joe Marquez get the callabacitas ready to serve at last year’s Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. Marquez has sponsored and worked with the Joe’s Express Lube team since the matanza began 11 years ago.

Economy sidelines long-time matanza team

By Julia M. DenDinGer

News-Bulletin Staff Writer jdendinger@news-bulletin.com

Belen

Over the last five years, Joe’s Express Lube has battled it out for top honors at the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. In that time, the team has brought home either the Grand Champion award or the People’s Choice plaque. But this year, Joe Marquez says his team is out of the running for them or any other awards. After 11 years of com- peting, Marquez said this year is just too expensive. “It’s been a tough year for the shop and we just can’t afford it,” Marquez said. “I would highly recommend it if you can, though. You can expose your company to 10,000 people in one day. It’s a great opportunity for a small business.” Marquez said not competing this year is disappointing. “People ask me if I’m going to go. I don’t think I am,” he said. “It makes me sad and I’ll just want to be back there working.” Marquez said he has been doing the matanza since day one, as one of the founders. “I’ve always sponsored a team and started working and cooking for the team over the last several years,” he said. And it’s not just Marquez that got involved. As with most teams, it is a fam- ily affair.

“My family always helps. It’s my dad, me and my son, so three generations,” he said. “Everyone knows what they need to do. We don’t really sit down and make a detailed plan. It all seems to come togeth- er. It’s a well-oiled machine.” Marquez said he’s very proud to have his team named either Grand Champions or People’s Choice for so many years running, and it’s a goal to win them both one year. “But the People’s Choice is the main one because the people get to choose,” he said. “They will come to the booth and talk to us, ask us what we’re doing, what kinds of spices we add.” And it isn’t just the spices Marquez adds that makes his matanza booth spe- cial. He said he always bought extra tick- ets for customers and family and set up a VIP table. “We would always bring an extra hog and things like cookies for people,” he said. “It’s a wonderful event and I’m glad to see it’s still going strong.” There was some conflict in the begin- ning as matanza organizers struggled to align an old tradition with new health laws. “This was something people have done all their lives and didn’t want to be told how to do it. I remember when they told us we had to wear hair nets. My dad said, ‘Hair net? Why do I need one?’” he said. “We worked hard to combine the rules with tradition.”

8 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 News-Bulletin file photo VINCENT
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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 9

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Biscochitos, tortillas and red chile winners

By Jason w. Brooks

News-Bulletin Staff Writer jbrooks@news-bulletin.com

Belen

The 2011 Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza will likely feature a ton of experienced chefs, many of whom specialize well enough in one of the categories to have won awards in the past. Here is a bit of information on a few of the 2010 top-three place winners in the biscochitos, tortillas and chile contests.

Sara Storey First place, biscochitos

It took a bit of cajoling to get Sara Storey to enter the biscochito category at the matanza. “My boys (Rod and Frank Storey) kept telling me ‘If you enter, you will win,’ but I wasn’t sure,” said Storey. “They kept encouraging me, and my family always liked them, so I fixed up a plate, and I won. I was shocked, but pleased.” Storey learned to make biscochitos from her mother, Inez Berner. She says the texture is an important component. “Really good biscochitos should dis- solve in your mouth,” she said. As of this writing, Storey still was uncer- tain as to whether she’d enter the 2011 matanza contest. “I might decide at the last minute,” she said.

Karen Valenzuela Second place, tortillas

Karen Valenzuela learned to make tortillas from her mother, a skill she later used at her family’s Carmela’s restaurant as a teenager. She’d won an award for her tortillas before her triumph at last year’s matanza, but taking second place was still gratifying. Valenzuela said her team, ROC Construction, was the only group to make tortillas on-site, as opposed to

10 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Biscochitos, tortillas and red

Submitted photo

SARA STOREY shows her first-place biscochitos trophy from the 2010 Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza.

prepping them ahead of the single-day competition. “There really is only one way to make tortillas,” said Valenzuela. “The ingre- dients are pretty simple, but the exact quantities are important. The key is in the masa (dough).” Valenzuela said texture is important in making winning tortillas. She’s been participating in the Valencia County Hispano Chamber’s matanza for seven or eight years, she said. Beatrice Aguirre is someone who helps Valenzuela a great deal with the tortillas, and there are often children helping to roll out the tortillas as well. ROC Construction also was named the Team Champion and won the liver cat- egory in 2010.

10 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Biscochitos, tortillas and red
10 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Biscochitos, tortillas and red

News-Bulletin file photo

ELAINE MONTOYA was first in the red chile competition at last year’s Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza.

10 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Biscochitos, tortillas and red

Submitted photo

KAREN VALENZUELA was second last year in the tortilla contest at the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza.

She said it’s really tough to gauge how a team will do overall and how it will fare in each category, and what that year’s judges are looking for. “We had no idea how we would do,” said Valenzula.

Elaine Montoya First place, red chile

Going for an extremely spicy, hot taste is not necessarily the way of winning red chile, according to Elaine Montoya. “If it’s too hot, the judges can’t taste the red chile and the ingredients,” said Montoya. Being a matanza, Montoya’s recipe naturally includes pork, and she has used red chile as well. However, like many

competitive cooks, she’s guarded in revealing some of her other ingredients. “I don’t use very many spices,” she said. “Only two or three.” Montoya said she’s won about 12 awards for her red chile, which she has been perfecting most of her life. She learned to cook from her family, but she says she came up with her red chile recipe on her own. “Cooking red chile is something I do year-round,” she says. The matanza is something Montoya looks forward to, as much for the compe- tition as for the camaraderie. “I like going against others who have been cooking red chile for years and years.”

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 11

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 • 11 News-Bulletin file photo LOS LUNAS

News-Bulletin file photo

LOS LUNAS ARTIST and author Noé Lara is one of the many artists who will display their work at this year’s matanza in an area Lara refers to as “Artists Alley.”

Artists Alley provides cultural view

By tiffini Porter

News-Bulletin Staff Writer tporter@news-bulletin.com

Belen

A matanza is as much a celebration of food and music as it is a preservation of Hispanic culture, according to Noé Lara, a Los Lunas artist and author. Lara, a sociology teacher at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus, is in charge of what he calls “Artist Alley” at the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. “It’s a lot of fun and part of our cul- ture,” Lara said. “It’s never going to go away.” Lara believes the inclusion of art is an important part of the annual matanza, explaining that there are many facets to any particular culture and they should all be included in a celebration like the matanza. “The matanza itself is the preservation of our culture,” Lara said. “The music is part of our culture too, but art and poetry are just part of who we are down here.” The list of artists for this year’s event is still coming together, but Lara is con- fident there will be a good turnout and matanza visitors will have plenty of art to enjoy. “People are obviously going to eat there, but they may want to see other things while they are there too,” he said. “That’s one of the benefits of people walking through, it doesn’t cost them anything, they can enjoy art without hav- ing to but it. (The artists) are there the sharing of our culture.” This is the second year Lara has been involved in getting Artist Alley orga- nized and he said a lot of the success depends on the weather. “Matanzas are the kind of thing people

will go to no matter what, but the weath- er can really affect the art part of it, so we are really praying for good weather,” Lara said, adding that some of the artists like to demonstrate and cannot do so if the weather does not cooperate. One such artist, Ricardo Chávez- Méndez, who specializes in the art of “curvismo,” a drawing technique, is planning to send several of his students to do demonstrations for visitors to the matanza. There are several other artists sched- uled to exhibit their work at the event including potters, painters, metal artists and poets. Laura Alonzo de Franklin, who spe- cializes in ancient healing arts, will hold demonstrations and Eusebio Ortega will be on hand displaying and selling his hand-made pottery, which Lara described as “incredible.” Lara will have copies of his book, “Cuantas Piscas? (How much cotton can you pick?) A Latino’s Lonely Journey to Success” available again this year. The book is his view of success. “It’s not about making a lot of money,” Lara said. “It’s about trying a lot of things.” Which translates into the way Lara feels about art. “It’s not so much the product, it’s the process when you’re working with it, it’s just so beautiful,” he said. Anyone interested in displaying their work can contact Noé Lara at 865-0786 to sign up for a free display space. Other artists scheduled to appear at the matanza include Randy Simma from R&N Southwest Pottery, Richard Melzner, a local writer and historian, poet Rebecca Hudson, Patrick Pugh, and Waybon Smith, knifemaker and owner of Smitty’s Knives.

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Kiddie Corral offers special activities at annual matanza

By Dana Bowley

News-Bulletin Staff Writer dana@news-bulletin.com

Belen

While the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza is mostly about pork, it does have other facets. One of those is events to keep the youngsters occupied in fun activities, and not only does the matanza have special activities for children, the youth even have their own area — the Kiddie Corral. Hispano chamber President Arie Gallegos, who is chairwoman of this year’s Matanza, has a special fondness for the Kiddie Corral. When she started volunteering to help with the event, she was in charge of the children’s events. “I started off organizing the kids’ activities,” she said. While there is nothing exactly new planned this year, a sponsor’s event from last year that proved very popular until the supplies ran out has been expanded to make sure every child can participate. The sponsor is Home Depot, and,

Gallegos said, last year store officials at the last minute brought some kids’ building kits to their booth at the matan- za.

“They did it kind of spur of the moment,” she said, “and it was very popular. Unfortunately, they didn’t real- ize how many people, how many kids, would be there, and they quickly ran out of kits. This year they’re bringing a lot of them.” The kits allow the children to con- struct a project themselves, which brings them a lot of fun and personal fulfillment, Gallegos said. “The kids will build their projects on-site, then take them home,” she said. “We really appreciated Home Depot doing this.” There will be plenty of other youth activities, Gallegos said. They include pony rides, jumpers and face-painting. Other events, especially games, might break out spontaneously, she said, depending on the availability of volun- teers to conduct them. There is no charge at the Kiddie Corral, and children 10 and under get into the matanza free.

MATANZA SPECIALISTS

MATANZA SPECIALISTS News-Bulletin file photo WHILE THE WEATHER might be a little chilly, the food at

News-Bulletin file photo

WHILE THE WEATHER might be a little chilly, the food at the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza is sure to be hot.

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 13

Mariachi Tradicional, of course at annual Hispano Matanza

By tiffini Porter

News-Bulletin Staff Writer tporter@news-bulletin.com

Belen

The word mariachi has two possible origins. The first theory is that it derives from the French word for marriage, “mariage,” because music similar to modern mariachi music was played at the French weddings that took place in Mexico. The second and more probable theory, according to Pete Rael, the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza music organizer, is that the name came from the word used by the Coca Indians of Mexico when referring to the wooden platform where the musicians often performed, which was made of the wood of the Pilla or Cirimo tree. Either way, the music is an integral part of the Hispanic culture in the American Southwest and has been an important part of the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza. This year will be no exception as the matanza will feature Mariachi Tradicional, a group led by Albuquerque native Jose Carrillo, whose music was described by Rael as “dynamite, fine symphonic music.” Carrillo has performed at the matanza in previous years and is known for his talent behind the micro- phone. “He is absolutely fabulous as a singer,” Rael said. “He is outstanding.” This year marks the eighth year that the matanza has featured live music, as opposed to a disc jockey.

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 • 13 Mariachi Tradicional, of course at

Submitted photo

THIS YEAR’S VALENCIA County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza will feature Mariachi Tradicional, a tra- ditional mariachi group that will perform alone as well as with several soloists.

“Mariachi is so much a part of the culture here that we would be remiss if we had a vicarious sub- stitute there instead of the real deal,” Rael said.

Rael said the lineup for this year’s matanza will

n See Entertainment, Page 14

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Entertainment: Folklorico dancers

from PAGE 13

be the best yet and for the first time, the music will be piped outside via an elaborate sound system that Rael is providing. “There will be standing room only by 10 in the morning,” Rael said. “This music captivates people, it really does. And now, everyone can hear it even if they are outside.” Mariachi Tradicional will open their part of the show at 11 a.m. with “La Negra,” and will feature some folk- lorico dancers that will showcase the full power of the music. “The power of the song comes to the forefront right away,” Rael explained. “And the dancers will enhance that.” The folklorico dancers Rael is referring to are members of the S&A Dance Academy led by Sandy Telles of Belen. This is the first year the dancers will perform at the matanza and most of the group are natives of Valencia County. Other individuals will perform with Mariachi Tradicional, including Sandra Montoya, a Peralta resident who many may recognize from the Mariachi Holiday concert held annu- ally at Los Lunas High School, and Arnoldo Arrieta from Mexico, who

Rael referred to as “absolutely excel- lent.” Another highlight this year will be eight-year-old Kylie Tafoya from Albuquerque, who will sing with Mariachi Tradicional and delight the crowd other, more contemporary, songs including Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” As in years past, the day’s enter- tainment will begin early with Los Garrapatas, who will sing rancheritas to liven up the early-morning crowd. “These kinds of songs originated out on the ranches,” Rael said. “They are dance songs, like polkas or fox trots.” Garrapatas is not new to the matan- za, and many people are looking for- ward to the return of a favorite, and fitting, song “La Matanza.” There will be posters at the event outlining the specific time that each performer will be on stage, but the show will run continuously from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., with a short break around 10:30 a.m. to allow for some equipment to be taken down. “This is a preservation of culture,” Rael said. “And the entertainment will be outstanding.”

14 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Entertainment: Folklorico dancers from

Submitted photo

JOSE CARRILLO, leader of Mariachi Tradicional and an Albuquerque resident, will perform at the matanza and was described by matanza music organizer Pete Rael as “outstanding.”

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 15

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 • 15 Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photos RAY BACA’S

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photos

RAY BACA’S TRENCHING and Excavating Matanza team include Matt Allejos, Niko Ayala, Dennis Sanchez, Jess Ayala, Ray Baca, Eric Baca and Alyssa Baca.

Right cooking equipment is vital to matanza competitors

By DeBorah fox

News-Bulletin Staff Writer dfox@news-bulletin.com

Wood smoke drifting on the air of a crisp winter morning before the sun crests the mountain range is how a matanza starts in the Rio Grande Valley. Later, the scent of roasting pork will make your stomach growl and your mouth water, but matanzas are not pos- sible without the proper cooking vessels. If you have the right tool, no job is too difficult it is said, and cooking an entire hog is no different. The Rio Grande Valley tradition of La Matanza, butcher- ing time, has inspired local residents to create some very specialized equipment. Jose Lorenzo “Country” Contreras bought a 22 gallon Schmidt & Co. wood stove from Ohio from a friend of his, Gilford Chavez, who worked for the rail- road. “He found it many years ago,” said Contreras. “It’s an antique. I don’t even know how old it is. I found out online that it was used to make soap.” The stove is squat with a large, 2-foot by 2-foot cast iron vat that hangs low in the stove over the wood coals. It’s the perfect jarrilla for cooking the chicharrones, Contreras says. “Most of the jarrillas come from Mexico,” says Dennis Sanchez of Ray Baca’s Trenching and Excavating team. “This one (he points to the team’s jarrilla) has been in the family for more than 100 years — for many generations.” Sanchez has been helping the team

build its cooking equipment for years. The team is all family members. “Every year they (Sanchez and others) add something,” said team member Tiny Ayala. Their wood stove is a modified Ben Franklin stove. They cut out a central hole for the jarrilla in the middle of the stove over the wood fire. “The disco was made from the bot- tom part of a brush hog,” Sanchez says of the large Chinese wok-looking platter. “We plugged the three holes for the blade attachments and welded on the handles.” Discos are used for cooking vegetables, fajita meat and other fried items. The large disco, about 2 1/2-feet in diameter, is mounted on an old barbecue grill stand. Smaller discos are mounted on stands Sanchez has made by welding pipes together. Beneath the stand is the gas fuel fire that heats the discos. The smaller discos are made from the discs off a disc plow. Most of the cooking vessels were made from farm equipment, tractor parts, old stove burners, scrap metal and truck parts. “Last year, we won first place on our specialty pork burgers,” said Baca. ““And second place overall.” “Jess (Ayala) is the mastermind behind all the meals that we cook,” says Tiny. The Walmart Distribution Center team has always won something in the five years they have competed in the culinary arts of matanza. The team consists of Randy Griego,

n See Equipment, Page 16

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Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Equipment

from PAGE 15

Daniel Lucero, Benny Lee Jaramillo and Thomas Chavez, all Walmart employees. Chavez is the welder who has helped make their grill. “Everything was made from scratch,” Chavez said. “We bought a lot of metal from Speedy’s Welding Supply, and designed it as a team. The trailer axle is from Accutrack Manufacturing Corp., all companies in Valencia County.” They built the smoker, the grill and the hot plate on the other side of the grill for cooking potatoes and other vegetables. “We have nine total awards,” says Griego. “Last year we were runner-up for overall champs.” They pick up their butchered hog and are cooking by 7 a.m. About 200 but- terfly pork chops are ready at 8 a.m. and liver by 9 a.m. “The chicharrones are the last to cook,” Griego says. The 11th Annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Posse grounds in Belen on Saturday, Jan. 29. The all-you-can-eat $10 entrance fee raises funds to benefit the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce and scholarships for local students. Children 10 and under get in free.

16 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Equipment from PAGE 15

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photos

THOMAS CHAVEZ, front left, Randy Griego, Benny Lee Jaramillo, top left, and Daniel Lucero are the Walmart Distribution Center team cooking at the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza on Saturday, Jan. 29.

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16 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Equipment from PAGE 15
16 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011 Equipment from PAGE 15

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 17

Sisneros’ son steps to forefront

By Brent ruffner

News-Bulletin Staff Writer bruffner@news-bulletin.com

Belen

Martin Sisneros is passing the torch. Sisneros, of Sisneros Manufacturing in Belen, is handing the reins over to his son, Fernando, who will have a bigger role as a new board member with the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce. Fernando, 28, will be a team captain for the company’s team at this year’s matanza and wants to eventually grow the event to include additional events to draw more people. But the younger Sisneros has big shoes to fill with his father, Martin, being with the group since its inception. Martin was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the chamber over the years and a fellow board member said Sisneros “has big visions” and that “nothing is too far to achieve with Martin.” But Fernando brings experience to the board with helping organize the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation Mudd Volleyball Tournament, an event that draws thousands each year. “As a board, we felt we weren’t ready

to push it to next level,” said Martin Sisneros. “But as we get more people like Fernando who has experience with larger events, we can look at expanding.” Fernando’s father nominated the man who once tagged along with Martin when he was at Belen High School for a spot on the board. “I would go every once in awhile,” Fernando said. “He would pick me up from track or football practice and kind of tag along. It was either stay there at the school and do nothing or go with my dad.” But the time spent with the elder Sisneros was productive. Fernando said he learned leadership skills from his father, who was a ranch hand near the Abo Ruins and the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument that was once home to area Indian tribes. The family still owns property near the monument. “Sometimes, I would go with him and ride around and look for cattle to put into corrals,” Fernando said. “It taught me how to work hard and do what you have to do to make sure cattle survive.” Now, those leadership skills will be on display at this year’s matanza with

n See Sisneros, Page 18

January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 • 17 Sisneros’ son steps to forefront

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo

MARTIN SISNEROS, left, has passed the torch to his son, Fernando, who will be the team captain for this year’s matanza.

Congratulations Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce on Matanza #11 and your continued support of Valencia
Congratulations
Valencia County Hispano Chamber
of Commerce on Matanza #11
and your continued support of
Valencia County youth through the
money raised at your matanza!
Senator Michael S. Sanchez
505 Main St. SW
Los Lunas, NM 87031
SenatorMSSanchez@aol.com
865-0688

18

Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

Sisneros: New team captain

from PAGE 17

Fernando as captain of a team that he says cooks up some tasty carne adovada each year. He said his family members normally cook pig or lamb underground to get a tender, juicy taste out of the meat. He and his father want to eventually introduce the cooking of lambs and sheep at the event. The group doesn’t just cook. The Sisneros team makes all the awards for the event, which typically winds up being 30-some stainless steel awards that are donated to help raise money for scholarships for students. “We thought it was good for people to have something unique that no one else has,” said Martin Sisneros. Sisneros will take a lesser role with the Hispano chamber and instead concen- trate more on helping out causes such as Los Ranchos de los Ninos, a charity that helps children in need. Sisneros said he will remain a part-time board member with the Valencia County organization. “He felt it was time for me as the third generation to take on some of these other roles in the community that he was once doing,” Fernando said. “ He thought it would be good to bring new ideas into the community.” Martin said he was proud that his son was chosen to represent the board because of his own merits rather than being picked because Fernando was related to the business owner. He said he is proud of his own accom-

plishments such as creating a network among residents to help local businesses succeed. He said people are more likely to do business with someone they have a relationship with. “I explained to a new member that our organization isn’t big on parties and things like that,” Sisneros said. “I’m proud of the number of connections and the networking done within the chamber. “But our social events are informal and people have a chance to mingle with each other. Our goal is to keep business in Valencia County.” For the matanza, the duo said it takes a lot of work to organize a team that could have 20 to 30 people helping out on the big day at the Valencia County Fairgrounds. “It requires a lot of skill,” Martin Sisneros said. “Not just anybody can go in and do a matanza. It takes a lot of teamwork.” But Fernando said the event can gradu- ally grow as the board figures out how the event can evolve in years to come. He said a motorcycle rally has been discussed to attract more people to the event. A few board members have said the event could grow as large as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. He said the gradual progression will allow the board to perfect the pig roast. “We want to grow slowly to keep it under our control,” Fernando said. But everyone is learning.”

PLEASING PORK

PLEASING PORK News-Bulletin file photo DOZENS OF PIGS will be butchered on Saturday, Jan. 29, at

News-Bulletin file photo

DOZENS OF PIGS will be butchered on Saturday, Jan. 29, at the annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza.

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January 22, 2011• Valencia County News-Bulletin • Matanza 2011 19

Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a

Traditions Run Deep

Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a
Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a
Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a
Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a
Traditions Run Deep Welcome to the 11 th A nnual M atanza ! Come celebrate a

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20

Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

20 • Matanza 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • January 22, 2011

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