By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
One of the key achievements of Rockabilly on the Route is that it increases Tucumcari’s supply of young adults for four days.
They’re the ones who can tie one on and come roaring back for more the next day, shrugging off a hangover like stubbed toe. They don’t hestitate to wear a Stetson with a tank-top and shorts.
The young adults are the ones who can wolf down bacon, eggs and hashbrowns for breakfast, a big, wet burrito, rice and beans for lunch and a 16-ounce ribeye, baked potato, two foot-high plates at the salad bar, lots of ranch dressing, and two beers for dinner, without even showing a pooch above the belt.
Many have installed tattoos and body jewelry, and they like to stay real close to an amplified band.
Mostly, though, they increase the energy level in our town. For four days, we have spirited, animated conversations in our restaurants, our two saloons get loud and there is motion, everywhere motion.
It gives you a glimpse of what it would be like if Tucumcari and Quay County had a real economy again, which an event like Rockabilly on the Route could help us attain.
All these younger people ascended on our slow-to-change little town because the past—to them the distant past—lives here and that’s cool. When my peers were their age, we brought back trappings of the 1920s, remember?
But Rockabilly also attracts people old enough to remember when the faded glory of Tucumcari was just plain glory—the 1950s and 1960s, when rockabilly music was thriving. The older folks stop at two at the bar, leave early, eat sensibly and don’t sit as close to the band, but they dance eagerly and with practiced precision, since they’ve been moving to that music for a long time.
With these folks, I hope they might want to take a time out fromRockabilly’s whooping it up to go visit one of our nearby lakes or just take a drive through our mesas, past unspoiled grazing land dotted with cattle and antelope. Then I would hope they would take a look at our land and home prices. That could start a whole new movement that could restore an economy to our area.
We need jobs and a workforce, and the chicken-and-egg question of which comes first could resolve itself if younger folks are attracted to our town. If retirees decide to settle here, they would become a market as well as a source of sage advice.
Rockabilly’s success, I hope, will continue, and maybe its links to the past can help us find a future.
Steve Hansen is the managing editor at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org