By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Another successful Rattler Reunion has come and gone — with more than 400 alumni returning to Tucumcari to “Return to the 80s.”
The host class for the reunion was the Tucumcari High School Class of 1986.
“This was a great time and brought back a lot of memories,” said Christine Montano, who said she has attended the reunion in the past and always has had a good time. She said as the host class, this year’s experience was special.
“It was exciting and a lot of hard work,” Montano said. “It was a time we all were taken back to the ’80s and had a weekend filled with memories and nostalgia.”
Montano said so many people helped to make the reunion a success for the host class, including Valerie Valverde Wilson, who coordinated the decorating of the main hall at the Tucumcari Convention Center for Saturday night’s banquet and dance.
“There are so many people that helped and to all of them I say thank you for making this a reunion to remember,” Montano said.
The 45th annual reunion will be the last for alumni board member Norma Jean Crellin, who said she stepped in 16 years ago to form a corporation and create a non-profit foundation to better run the reunion.
“If you run it as a corporation, it tends to go a lot smother,” Crellin said.
Crellin said she feels it is time for someone else to step in and run the foundation. She said she wants to remove her name from the non-profit 501(c)7.
“The Rattler Reunion will continue on even though I’m gone, in one format or another,” Crellin said.
Crellin is listed as treasurer of the Rattler Alumni Association. She said over the years, she has enjoyed having a hand in putting on one of the largest and continuous reunions in the state.
“All of the smiles and seeing old friends reunite has made all the work worthwhile,” Crellin said.
The City of Tucumcari honored Crellin on July 28 with a proclamation for all of her hard work to make the event a continued success.
Crellin said the proclamation declared Aug. 6 to be recognized as Norma Jean Crellin Day. She was honored at a reception Saturday at the city train depot.
“I do appreciate all of the recognition, but it was tiring going from event to event,” Crellin said. “I’m beginning to slow down and the reunion takes a toll on me that part of the reason I am ready to step aside.”
State Rep. Dennis Roch spoke at the Golden Rattlers luncheon Saturday.
Roch said the Golden Rattlers have traits that the younger generation needs, including common courtesy, strong work ethic and knowing the value of discipline.
“When speaking of strong work ethic, I need look no further than this room,” Roch said. “Norma Jean Crellin’s tireless efforts is what has made this reunion such a success and testament to the Golden Rattlers.”
Roch said Crellin’s work ethic is a great example for the next generation. “So many of the younger generation is willing to stop and give up at the first sign of trouble,” Roch added.
“This reunion, Norma Jean Crellin, is your legacy and a testament to the younger generations of what can be accomplished if you put your nose to the grindstone,” Roch said.