When I was a college student and later teaching high school, my grandfather, James Wilson raced horses at Sunland Park, a racetrack in southern New Mexico just across the border and Rio Grande river from El Paso. He owned a ranch on the Mexican border (the location where Chuck Norris and others filmed “Lone Wolf McQuaid”) and got into racing as a tax write-off and because he loved the animals. He would purchase horses, sometimes in claiming races, and feed them his special diet until they were strong and healthy and ready for the track. My friend Bob and I would talk with him and then head to the track on Friday nights to make modest bets for cheap entertainment. We would bet until our $20 stake was either gone (after which we just watched the races) or grew into a modest gain. We felt successful if we came away with enough money to pay for our post-race meal at Denny’s.
One horse in particular was my grandfather’s favorite – Reigh Reed. The horse loved distance and James would give us this insight into the horse’s style: he will be the last horse the first time by the finish line and the first horse at the end of the race. It was a bit disconcerting to watch as he trailed the pack the first time past the grandstands, but it was pure excitement when he left the other ponies behind and owned the home strech.
We are in the home stretch of construction. The furniture is being installed on the new floors this week. Then, connecting the plumbing and installing the electrical fixtures will begin to signal the final steps needed to bring this project to a close. Once the 60″ monitors are installed in the labs and the 47″ displays are put in the hallways, and once the card entry system is in place, we will be ready for business. A $2.5 M renovation project of 8,000 sf of instructional and research space from beginning to end in five months.
We hope you will join us in celebrating the completion of the labs during October, whether at a special public open house to be announced soon, or during Homecoming Saturday, October 16th. Come see why the operative word for the project from all who see it is “WOW”!