Matanza August 25 to Celebrate Highlands 125th Anniversary

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a traditional matanza pig roast meal with music for the community and campus Aug. 25 at the university’s Leveo and Patricia Sanchez Family Stadium at 906 Baca Ave.

The ticket prices for the community are $5 each, with children three and younger free. The last day to purchase the limited tickets is Aug. 15 and they are on sale at the University’s Foundation Office at 905 University Ave. from 8 – ­5 p.m. Monday ­­– Friday. Call 505-454-3248.

The matanza schedule includes:

-Gates open at 10 a.m. at the Leveo and Patricia Sanchez Family Stadium main entrance gate. Chips and salsa, tortillas and red chili, and beverages will be served.

-Musical entertainment will be from 10:45 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.

-The matanza food service begins between 12 – 2 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

-Sara Mathews of Borracho’s in Las Vegas will operate a cash beer wagon for those of legal age.

“We’re going to have an awesome variety of music ranging from traditional Spanish mariachi music to country music and other popular contemporary music,” said Donna Martínez, manager for Ilfeld Auditorium and KEDP radio station. “Gasoline Boots, a country music group from Austin, Texas, will play from 10:45 – 11:45 a.m., Mariachi Diferencia from Santa Fe will play from 12 – 1 p.m., and Frequenzia from El Paso, Texas, will play from 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.”

The university’s Office of Campus Life is sponsoring a traditional Northern New Mexico bizcochito cookie baking contest for the matanza. The deadline to submit entry forms is Aug. 22. The forms are available in the Student Center, Room 301, 800 National Ave. Call 505-454-3495.

“We are calling this the ultimate bizcochito contest and the cookies will be judged on taste, texture and originality,” said Margaret Gonzales, Campus Life Director. “We haven’t had a bizcochioto contest since 2007 and we’re hoping some good bakers will turn out from the Las Vegas community. It’s going to be fun.”

Matanzas have been part of New Mexican culture and history since the first Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area in the 16th century.

“A matanza hits all the right notes for our 125th anniversary: it’s a celebration of culture that will connect the community to the university with great food and great fellowship,” said Sam Minner, Highlands University president. “ I know this event will be a wonderful celebration for the university and all friends of HU. I can’t wait for the matanza.”

The Highlands matanza includes at least one pig and one beef steer slow roasted overnight in a pit in traditional matanza fashion. The side dishes include beans, posole, tortillas, chicharrones, tamales, and dessert. There will be water and soft drinks.

Juli Salman is the Highlands Alumni director and chairs the “H:125” anniversary committee.

“The committee remembered matanzas from years ago at Highlands that had enthusiastic community participation, and we’re hoping for the same response for our Aug. 25 matanza,” Salman said. “While we are celebrating Highlands’ 125th anniversary all year long, the matanza is the biggest single event.”

There are several Highlands parking lots designated for matanza parking. Handicapped parking is in the lot adjacent to the Champ Tyrone Music Building (1052 11th St.). Other parking lots include the John A. Wilson Complex (1241 9th St.); and a shuttle service will run every half-hour from the Ilfeld Auditorium parking lot (900 University Ave.)

One complimentary ticket for each Highlands employee (staff and faculty) and each Highlands student is available if picked up at the Highlands Foundation by Aug. 23. Please bring your Highlands ID to receive your complimentary ticket.