The New Mexico State Fair featured a green chile cheeseburger competition, featuring 12 competitors. Each year, chefs and representatives from restaurants throughout the state flock to the state fairgrounds to test their spicy burger’s bite.
UNM student Chris Montoya grew up playing baseball. He said he only started running to improve his ability to play America’s national pastime. But after one of his baseball coaches saw potential in his running skills, running took over his life. Montoya, a university studies major, now runs for UNM’s track and field team. Montoya said being a student athlete is never easy. He said he deals with class, work, Greek life and training daily. But despite his hectic schedule, Montoya said he will always be a runner — what started as a hobby for him became a passion.
Fire — an element as destructive as it is constructive. Jeffrey J. Schmitt, also known as “Smitty,” said he tries to remove some of fire’s negative stigma as he focuses on glassmaking, an art with a “very unique take on fire.” Smitty owns Aurora Borealis Glassworks, the only glassmaking and glassblowing shop in Albuquerque. Smitty has been practicing glassmaking off and on since 1979. Temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit are required to keep the glass molten and allow it to be worked into shapes. Sonia Johnson, a student who takes lessons at the shop, said the art is a very difficult process. “Glassmaking is more challenging than any other arts I’ve practiced,” Johnson said. “Many times it is not forgiving and at first when you start, you pay for your mistakes as your pieces in progress get destroyed. However, the challenges that arise in the art are what keep glassmaking interesting.”
Danny McMahon has spent two-thirds of his life working with cows, supporting his family off the cows and resting his head on the same plot as his dairy cows. But McMahon, owner and operator of 41-year-old Mickey’s Cash & Carry Dairy on Coors Boulevard in Albuquerque’s South Valley, says at this rate, his diary will only operate for another year or so. The South Valley has seen an increase in both commercial and residential growth during the past two decades. The urbanization has been more prevalent during the past seven years, including the addition of a Super Wal-Mart less than a mile from Mickey’s. For some South Valley residents, this growth is a positive sign of progress and economic growth. For McMahon, it has meant downsizing and slim to nonexistent profit margins. “We used to produce 1200 gallons of milk a day and over 200 head of cattle, now we’re down to 250-300 gallons a day and just over 60 head of cattle,” McMahon said. “We can’t compete with those prices, we just can’t.”
Water is the essence of all existence. When rivers flow plentifully, no one thinks twice about where it all comes from until the crops start to wilt and the lands turn brown. New Mexico has gone through dry spells before, but the last 35 years of drought pale in comparison to this one. The lack of precipitation is very apparent when looking to the Rio Grande and noticing its low, and in some places, nonexistent water level. “I think it’s highly likely that we will be running out of water sometime this summer,” said David Gensler, hydrologist for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. A heavy monsoon season late this summer seems to be the only hope for farmers along the Rio Grande hoping to avert great losses in their cash crops and to avoid raising prices for business and consumers.
Bruce Johnson Jr. considers himself a landmark of the UNM Duck Pond. “Meet me by the hippie at the Duck Pond,” he would hear people say. Johnson makes and sells jewelry every weekday to students and other passers-by for donations. Using hemp, Johnson has been making jewelry for 33 years. “The jewelry I make symbolizes peace and love,” Johnson said. “We all have to live in this world and we all bleed the same color.” Bruce adopted a puppy last fall, but he said he had to give it up due to the cold weather. He said he read rumors on the UNM Confessions Facebook page saying that he had eaten it. “Rumors are just people’s ignorance,” Johnson said. Bruce leaves the Duck Pond every weekday at around 3 p.m. with his new puppy, Midnight, to have a meal at local food shelter Project Share. In his leisure time, Bruce drinks coffee, smokes cigarettes and listens to Nikki Sixx’s radio show Sixx Sense while camping out in a friend’s yard for the night.