Chamber manager Kaci Morris and her crew at the Muleshoe Chamber of Commerce treated the town to a great evening May 5th. Guests gathered in the Commons Area of Muleshoe High School cafeteria for a buffet meal catered by Grandaddy’s of Muleshoe and Annie and Martha’s of Farwell.
Granddaddy’s served a great meal of green salad, prime rib, grilled chicken, scalloped potatoes and fresh green beans, with desserts of Oreo cookies and cream pie and red velvet cheesecake from Annie and Martha’s Bakery in Farwell. Sarah Santos and Lasting Impressions provided flowers and decorations for the tables and the podium in the auditorium.
Kaci and the chamber board members were on hand circulating to greet guests like Sherri Shipman and her husband Gary as they enjoyed the meal.
After the meal, everyone took their seats in the Kerry Moore auditorium for the program and entertainment. Kaci Morris opened the program by introducing chamber board members for the 2018 year, left to right: Kris Phillips, Trevor Turnbow, Suzie Brown, Dusty Stone, Secretary/treasurer Scott Miller, and Vice President Basil Nash.
Board President Kacey Coker called on Kaci Morris who recognized past president Steve Friskup for his work as last year’s chamber president.
President Coker then introduced Rob Hollis, MHS assistant principal, who announced the annual awards given by the chamber.
Coleman Preston was named Youth of the Year for his outstanding involvement in the community and school.
Rhett Kirby was recognized as the Employee of the Year for his contributions working for Bamert Seed Company.
Judy Coffman was awarded Woman of the Year for her untiring work serving people within the community above and beyond the call of duty.
Norman Brantley was recognized as Man of the Year for his commitment for always being on hand to take photographs to recognize students involvement in school activities and then making sure those kids received copies of the photographs and credit for their achievements.
Ellis Funeral Home garnered the Business of the Year award for their commitment to serving the people of Muleshoe when compassion and understanding are in order during family crisis.
The Ag Family of the Year, the Lawrence Family, was recognized for their contribution to the economy of the town through their ongoing development of several area dairies.
The stage was then prepared for Rock Demarco and his PaintJam program, a fast-paced, music-infused demonstration of speed painting done to music, the likes of which Muleshoe has not seen before. Demarco, who grew up in Boston, told me this was the smallest venue he had ever performed for and admitted it was a new experience for him. He enjoyed the laid-back pace and friendly people. He told Kaci that the night was better organized and ran much smoother than many of the large productions he had been involved with. He is based in Florida and works with movie stars, rock groups and has performed on major television networks, but he will leave Muleshoe with a positive taste of small town life.
He works with a blank canvas and a table loaded with his paints, brushes, and other tools to create his original works.
The fun of his performance is the audience trying to figure out what the subject of his painting will be by the time he finishes. While he was making us all guess what he was painting, music provided by Rock and appropriate for the subject being created, emanated from the sound booth manned by Frank Recio, who runs the booth for school productions as well. The first painting was accompanied by western movie and television series themes, all which sounded familiar to me, but alas, I’m not sure I could name then all! Here’s how the first painting started out.
And here is the finished product.
The second painting was done to rap, heavy metal and modern rock music.
And here is the result, a football helmet complete with a sneakily added kicking Muleshoe Mule.
The third painting’s music was a variety of pop music and sort of gave itself away when he started, but no one was sure what the finished piece would look like.
But everyone loved it.
Then came another surprise; the paintings were to be auctioned off with the proceeds being presented to the chamber rather than going home with the artist. So Steve Friskup, Justin Morris and Ransom Morris came on stage to sell the paintings. Steve casually mentioned that he and his helpers were financial extractors, which got a good laugh, and then set right in cajoling the corporate sponsors seated front and center in reserved seats. As usual, he was very good at his job! The cowboy went to Don and Ann McElroy for $3000 in the name of Eric MeElroy and Irrigation, Pumps and Power. Don laughed and said Eric was out of town but would be writing the check upon his return. Colt Ellis and Ellis Funeral Home bought the eagle for $2000, and after Steve pointed out to Nick Bamert that the football helmet would be great as part of the new Bamert Seed sign going up on Highway 214 for intimidating Friona as they drove in for the football games, Nick and Brett Bamert decided they’d better take that one.
Afterwards, Rock graciously took pictures with audience members who requested to do so and was presented with a gift by Kacey Coker with items to remind him of coming to our small town
I went on the stage for a closer look at his creations and the tools of his trade. Artists aren’t always neat freaks, and Rock is no exception. Part of his mess is caused by the speed of his work, so it is just part of the process. But it’s fun to look at and perhaps comforting to know that messes are sometimes a necessary evil.
The chamber worked hard to present a special night on the town that gave approximately 300 guests a chance to eat good food, renew old and start new friendships, recognize citizens for their contributions in the community and be entertained in a way usually not available in a town our size.
Quite a deal, I must say.
Thanks to Kaci Morris for helping me with information and names for this article.