Alamogordo Sport History: A Look Back at the 1973 Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team with District & State Results – Alamogordo Town News & Sports

A Look Back at the 1973 Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team brings us to the first of many track and field state trophies to be awarded to Alamogordo High School under the leadership of Coach Bob Sepulveda who led the team from the late 60’s to the mid 90’s. Under his leadership the track and field team won 5 state title, 4 in a row in the mid 90’s and countless 2nd, and 3rd place state trophies as well as district titles. 1973 was a defining year in the path upward for Alamogordo High Track and Field.

The 1973 Alamogordo Tiger Track and Field felt the pressure of District Wins each of the 3 preceding years. From a team of only 13 just 3 years ago, the 1973 squad consisted of 32 team members.

(Photo above 1973 Alamogordo High Track and Field Team Fieldsmen L-R: Norman Avila, Terry Rich, Bob Tuttle. Backrow: Ron Gourley, Steve Fredrick, Carl Hutchison, David Burch & Tim McMurry.)

Photo Above 1973 Alamogordo High Track and Field Team Sprinters  front row: Will Henley, Paul Najera, Ken Washington, David Finley. Back row: Dale Norman, Dennis Baca, Larry Vorquez, Pat Telles, Jim Sanders. Third Row: Joe Wright, Scott Hutt and Chuck Wood.

Photo Above: 1973 Alamogordo High Track & Field Distance Runners front row: David Dunlop, Russell Golightly, Tom Woolworth, Brad Person, Charles Racoosin. Second row: David Sanchez, Steven Garcia, Terry McLean, Eddy Garcia, Robert Golightly and Ken Burns.

Photo in story above Coach Bob Sepulveda in 1973 with the stopwatch checking his teams times. His saying prevails today, “the stopwatch never lies, run, run, run”

The Alamogordo Tiger Boy’s took several medals at the White Sands Rolla Buck Invitational Meet of 1973. At that time girls did not participate in interscholastic sports but all of that was in the process of changing as GAA was phasing out and interscholastic sports for girls would begin the next year via title IX at Alamogordo High.

Alamogordo Boy’s who placed at the 1973 Rolla Buck White Sands Invitational Sponsored by the Lions Club included:

  • Terry Rich, 3rd Place Pole Vault
  • Chuck Wood, 1st Place, 220 Yard Dash
  • Dale Norman, 2nd Place 120 High Hurdles
    • 3rd Place Low Hurdles
  • Will Henley, 2nd Place, 100 Yard Dash
    • 2nd Place, 220 Dash
  • Robert Golightly, 3rd Place, Mile Run
  • Steve Frederick, 3rd Place, Shot Put
  • Mark Taylor, 2nd Place, 440 Yard Dash
  • Scott Hutt, 3rd Place, 880 Run
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 4th Place, Medley Relay

School records were established in the mile relay and the 180- yard low hurdles Saturday during the White Sands Relays sponsored by the Tiger Track Team and the Evening Lions Club of 1973.

Art Keller flashed over the hurdles in 19.6 in the preliminaries and went on to win the event and he was named the “Outstanding Athlete” for the Relays.

The Tiger mile relay team ripped off that distance in 3.24.7 to break the school record set by Bowie in 1972 during the Relays when they ran it in 3.26.2. Relay team members were Ken Washington, Dennis Baca, Mark Taylor and Jimmy Sanders.

The Tiger 440 Relay Team took first when they ran it in 43.6 Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood and Jimmy Sanders were on the team. Keller also took first in the 100- yard dash. Chuck Wood took 1st in the 220 dash. Jimmy Sanders took 1st in the 440 dash. Carl Hutchison tied for1st in the High Jump. Steve Frederickson took 1st in the discus. Robert Golightly placed 1st in the two-mile run….

Meet results showed the Tigers with a team 1st place win with a final total of 112 ½ Bowie came in 2nd at 46 ½ and Cobre came in 3rd with a 41 ½.

The District Title in 1973 went again to the Alamogordo Tigers for a 4th consecutive year in a row. The local paper of the time the Alamogordo Daily News Reported:

1972/73 District Track & Field Results  May 6th, 1973 Headline Alamogordo Sports Section…”Thinclads Get 135 Points to Cop 4th District Win”

“Tiger Thinclads walked… or ran… jumped or threw further and faster than anyone else in the district 3AAAA at Las Cruces on Saturday, to take their 4th District Win in a row under Coach Bob Sepulveda. 12 of the Tigers placed 1st
Place in the meet competitions as the Tigers Topped 135 points for a 1st Place finish. Mayfield scored 94 points for a 2nd Place Finish and Las Cruces scored 75 points for a 3rd Place Finish.”

1973 Alamogordo High School Boys Track and Field District Medalist included:

  • Carl Hutchison, 1st Place, High Jump
  • Steve Frederick, 1st Place, Discus
  • 1st Place, 440 Relay Team
  • 2nd Place, Shot Put
  • Art Keller, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash
    • 1st Place, 880 Relay Team
  • 1st Place, Mile Relay Team
  • 2nd Place,120 Low Hurdles
  • Jimmy Sanders, 1st Place, 440 Relay Team
  • Larry Vazquez , 1st Place, Mile Relay Team
  • Dale Norman, 1st Place, High Hurdles
    • 1st Place, Low Hurdles
  • Mark Taylor, 2nd Place, 440
  • Scott Hutt, 1st Place ,880
  • Chuck Wood, 1st Place220
    • 2nd Place, High Hurdles
  • Robert Golightly, 1st Place, 2Mile
    • 2nd Place, 1 Mile
  • Dennis Baca, 2nd Place,220
    • 5th Place, 120 High Hurdles
  • Brad Pierson, 2nd Place, 2 Mile
  • Charlie Racoosin, 4th Place, 2Mile
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, Medley Relay
  • Will Henley, 3rd Place,220
    • 4th Place, 100 Yard Dash
  • Terry McClean, 5th Place, Mile
  • Terry Rich, 5th Place, Pole Vault

13 Tigers qualified to attend the state meet in Albuquerque May 11th and 12th, 1973.

May 12th, 1973 is a day that will live in the memories of most of the class of 1973 as that is the day the Boys brought home a state trophy. The headlines across the state raged on about the upset and surprise that Alamogordo pulled off a 2nd place showing at the state level.

“The Alamogordo Tiger Thinclads surprised most of the track experts when they pulled into the 2nd Place position during

the State Track Meet to capture a big trophy at Albuquerque”

Photo Above 1973 2nd Place State Track and Field Trophy and Winning Team: Back L-R: Coach Dick Strong, Coach Jack Geron, Dale Norman, Steve Frederick, Carl Hutchison, Jimmy Sanders, Scott Hutt, Mark Taylor, Coach Jack Narrell, Head Coach Bob Sepulveda. Front L-R: Manager Pat McMurry, Art Keller, Robert Golightly, Brad Pierson, Dennis Baca, Ken Washington and Chuck Wood. (Photo Courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1- Alamogordo News 5/17/73)

Defending State Champion Hobbs took an early lead and placed 1st to win the state. Alamogordo Tigers placed second in the state meet with 48 points followed by Carlsbad in 3rd place and Clovis closing out with a 4th place win.

Individual State Medalist for the 1973 State Track Meet from the Alamogordo Tiger’s Track and Field Team included:

  • Steve Fredericks, 1st Place, Discus, 159’10”
  • Robert Golightly, 1st Place, 2 Mile Run ,10.31.1
  • Ken Washington, Larry Vazquez , Mark Taylor & Jimmy Sanders 1st Place, Mile Relay, 3.25.4
  • Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, 440,49.8
  • Dale Norman, 5th Place, 180 Low Hurdles, 21.3
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, 440 Relay, 48.4
  • Scott Hutt, 4th Place, 880,2.00
  • Chuck Wood, 3rd Place, 220, 22.6
    • 5th Place, 100, 10.2
  • Carl Hutchison, 3rd Place, High Jump, 6’.0
  • Art Keller, 4th Place, 100,10.1

(Photo Above Art Keller Team Member 1973 Track & Field State Medalist Alamogordo Tiger Track Team of 1973.)

(Photo Above Jimmy Sanders at the New Mexico State Track Meet Placing 1st in the 1 Mile Relay with team members Ken Washington, Larry Vazquez and Mark Taylor. (Photo courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda Collection)

Alamogordo High School Girls competed in the state GAA event that same weekend. 59 Girls attended the 6th annual GAA track meet representing Alamogordo. Seventh to Twelfth graders took part in three classes: Senior, Junior and Intermediate. 31 Junior High, 21 Mid High and 7 High School girls entered.

The Alamogordo Girls took 2nd in the Senior High level, 3rd in the Junior Division and 3rd in the Intermediate Division.

The coaches were Marilyn Sepulveda, Fran Stirman and Helen Reed.

Source and certain Excerpts from Alamogordo News referenced in Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 from 1973 Available Locally at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, Tularosa Basin Historical Society on White Sands Blvd, and on Amazon in 36 Countries.

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Alamogordo Town News Supports The Arts: DON’T LET THE FLICKINGER CENTER FLICKER OUT, HELP SUPPORT & DONATE TODAY!

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Flickinger had to postpone the annual campaign kick-off and has lost revenue due to cancelled events and rentals. The cost of these losses is incalculable.

Through the generosity of local donors, grants, and some limited cash reserves, the center has been able to pay utilities, insurances, taxes, take care of facility maintenance, pay essential salaries and other expenses. This cost is about $10K per month, and funds are being depleted.

The leadership of the Center got creative to find ways to support their mission and support the performance arts community:

• Four Fall Tailgate Series concerts at the NM Museum Space History parking lot.

• Children’s Music Theater has been able to conduct small socially distanced workshops thanks to CMT Director Heather Bash.

• Patron’s Hall has reopened for take out coffee, ice cream, and freshly made soups.

• The Center is working towards adding outdoor music & events this spring. (A special NM State grant is helping with funding for the outdoor project.)

Through their “Keeping the Lights On” campaign, they hope to continue to weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side. As a community that respects the arts we can keep the arts alive in Alamogordo! 

Please consider a cash contribution or monthly sustained giving pledge to this campaign. The Center appreciates all levels of support and your gift will help them keep the performing arts alive in Alamogordo. Don’t let this beautiful and important part of this community flicker out, donate today!

https://www.etix.com/ticket/ds/655/flickinger-center-for-performing-arts-donations.jsp?cobrand=Flickinger

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“Don’t follow your dreams, chase them!” Alamogordo Town News Positive Thoughts

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“Don’t follow your dreams, chase them!”

Beginning of Day: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“Don’t follow your dreams, chase them!”

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Listen to our report and positive affirmations via our podcasts or check us out online at

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/29501/positive-news-daily-affirmation-5-10-21-28-days-habit-90-days-lifestyle

Building Awareness Press Freedom Day,  Alamogordo, May 3, 2021 Alamogordo Town News & Second Life Media Author Chris Edwards

Amendment One: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

World Press Freedom Day in collaboration with the World Journalist Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media

Building Awareness Press Freedom Day,  Alamogordo, May 3, 2021

Press Freedom is a fundamental requirement for a free and informed Democracy. We don’t always agree with opinions expressed, we may not like much of the news we hear and we may feel all news is negative. It doesn’t have to be. A record amount of censorship, unprecedented attacks on journalists, a consolidation of news outlets by big corporations and the collapse of small town local newspapers and online papers all threaten the freedoms and foundation of our fragile democracy.

Even here in Alamogordo the primary newspaper is owned by a media conglomerate resulting in diminished local coverage and opinions expressed directed from far off corporate offices. Local free citizen journalism is more important now than at any time in our county’s history with a focus on local sports, business successes and positivity. That is where we fill a void. We are here to inform, inspire and encourage. We ask for you to support our advertisers, share our pages and daily posts, sign up for our free daily newsletter and share our vision of positive news and affirmations to a more positive community.

Journalists uncover the truth, check the abuse of power, and demand transparency from those in power. They are indispensable to the functioning of democracy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists and media workers have been on the front lines to keep the public informed, at significant risk to their own health. And, at a time when the truth is increasingly under attack, our need for accurate, fact-based reporting, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.

We collaborate and honor World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.

May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Information as a Public Good” serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.

While governments harass, detain and silence journalists there are organizations around that work to protect your freedom of information around the world in order to keep you as citizens of the world informed.

American reporters are at risk at times at home but more so when reporting overseas. As an example Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was arrested in Iran last July with his wife, who also is a journalist. She was later released, but he is on trial on charges that include spying, which he has denied. His trial is closed to the public.

The One Free Press Coalition acts as a voice for all journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. Media outlets worldwide, including Voice of America, unite to give voice to their stories and hold power figures to account.

The One Free Press Coalition publishes a monthly list of the world’s “10 Most Urgent” press freedom abuses, and the cases of journalists who cover human rights topics. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) determined that 55% of journalists imprisoned in 2020 write about human rights, and 306 journalists reporting on human rights have been killed since 1992.

CPJ and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) maintain safety resources and provide support to ensure these professionals can carry out their work for the public good, and do so as safely as possible.

The 10 Most Urgent, May 2021 At Risk Journalist in the World Include:

1. Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco (Mozambique)

Mozambican radio reporter and human rights advocate in Cabo Delgado has been missing for over a year as conflict in the region escalates. Family and colleagues still have no information on his whereabouts after he sent an SOS text saying he was “surrounded by soldiers.” 

2. Kasra Nouri (Iran)

Journalist, serving a 12-year sentence related to his coverage of religious protests in 2018, has spent a significant amount of time in solitary confinement, been moved multiple times, and his family is currently unable to communicate with him. 

3. Pham Chi Dung (Vietnam)     

Freelance internet reporter and founding chairman of a civil society organization advocating for press freedom is serving a 15-year prison sentence on anti-state charges after calling on the EU to postpone trade agreements until Vietnam improves its human rights record.

4. Ahmed Humaidan (Bahrain)

Photographer covering protests in Bahrain was arrested while documenting protesters attacking a police station in 2012, and sentenced to ten years behind bars in 2014. He recently contracted and recovered from COVID-19 while imprisoned.

5. Esraa Abdelfattah (Egypt)

Longtime blogger, journalist and activist reporting on human rights has been held on false news and anti-state charges since 2019, and has had her pretrial detention extended. She has gone on hunger strikes multiple times to protest her sentence and treatment.

6. Leonardo Sakamoto and the team at Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

Leonardo Sakamoto is the president of Repórter Brasil, an investigative reporting organization, focused on issues from human trafficking to workers’ rights to environmental degradation. The outlet has faced online attacks, attempted break-ins and anonymous threats.

7. Sandhya Ravishankar (India)

Freelance journalist reporting on elections, politics and corruption, including on Tamil Nadu’s sand mafia and beach sand mining, has faced years of threats and harassment, including death and rape threats, doxing, and a 2018 attempt to sabotage her motorbike.

8. Agnieszka Pikulicka (Uzbekistan)

Freelance correspondent threatened publicly by Uzbek Interior Ministry with potential lawsuits in relation to her reporting on the attack of an LGBTQ activist.

9. Katsiaryna Barysevich (Belarus)

Correspondent for the independent news website Tut.by was sentenced earlier this year to six months behind bars for her coverage of protests in Belarus in 2020.

10. Daria Komarova (Russia)

Russian journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been put on three trials in relation to her coverage of pro-Navalny protests, facing potential fines and administrative detention.

Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we, as independent community journalist, authors and publishers with 2nd Life Media and Alamogordo Town News celebrate the awesome bravery of journalists everywhere; locally, within the US and worldwide that standup to popular opinions, the power structure and an informed public. We recognize the integral role a free press plays in building prosperous, resilient and free societies. We recommit daily to protecting and promoting free, independent, and diverse media around the world and always when possible inform, inspire, educate and promote the positivity life has to offer.

Today we celebrate a free press and a free Alamogordo that in unity with all celebrates freedom!

Commentary by Chris Edwards, Author Alamogordo Town New, 2nd Life Media.

Sources:  One Free Press Coalition,  Forbes, Wikipedia and United Nation Press Freedom Information Pages

History: Golf Coach Billy Aldridge, “Mr. Irrelevant” a title given to the last player picked in the NFL draft was relevant!

The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” is given annually to the last player picked in the NFL draft. 1960 brought a change in leadership of the Alamogordo football and the track and field program. The new program leader was Coach Ralph Tate. Coach Tate had a connection to the Alamogordo school system, via his college friend, Alamogordo Golf Coach Billy Aldridge. 

Photo Coach Billy Aldridge New Mexico Golf (Photo Courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Series 2nd Life Media Alamogordo Town News)
Photo on Blog of Mr. Relevant Coach Billy Aldridge New Mexico Golf – (Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media)

Both were alumni of Oklahoma State University, both were competitive and avid golfers; (competing in many tournaments together and against each other) and both were drafted to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. 

Neither actually had play time in the NFL instead; Aldridge pursued his passion of Coaching Golf and Tate followed his passion into Coaching Track & Field and Football primarily Track and Field. 

For a brief time Tate coached in Alamogordo for the 1960/61 Track & Field Season, while Aldridge had a long career in Alamogordo as a recognized winning coach.

Tragedy shook the boys and coaches competing at State in 1976. Concurrent to the State Track and Field meet is also competition of other athletic events, Golf being one of them. Alamogordo had one of the winningest and most successful high school golf programs on the west coast. 

The Golf Program was under the Coaching leadership of Billy Aldridge. Aldridge and Coach Tate had a very strong bond and strong relationship in the early 1960’s. Tate moved on from Alamogordo but Aldridge built a reputation unsurpassed in Alamogordo even in more modern times. 

Coach Aldridge’s program was unique in that it was coached by him and he had exclusive control of that program. He collaborated in PE and was respected by all the other athletic coaches. He produced the 3 and only three State Golf Titles Alamogordo has ever won per the NMAA. The Tigers won the team state title in 1968, 1971 and 1972 under Coach Bill Aldridge.

Alamogordo High School has had 4 male golf champions win the state golf title 3 were under Coach Aldridge.  Under Coach Aldridge in 1966, Bruce McKenzie won the title and the title went to Brad Bryant in 1971 and 1973. Bryant attended the University of New Mexico for three years, but turned professional and qualified for the PGA Tour in 1976, a year before his scheduled graduation.

May 13, 1976 Alamogordo News Headline Page 1 Article by Rick Wright: “Team Playing for Coach, Aldridge Hit by Car on Duke City Street”

“ Alamogordo High School Golf Coach was listed in critical condition…after being struck by a car Wednesday night… Aldridge 53, was struck by a car while walking across Albuquerque’s Central Avenue… A medical center spokesman said Aldridge was in critical condition and suffered a broken back, broken ankle, broken leg, broken ribs and collapsed lung…

Aldridges 5 man golf team competing at state was badly shaken up by the event. Alamogordo’s individual leader Dan Koesters spoke for the team and said,”We are trying to win for him. He’d like for us to win for sure. We are trying to put the accident out of our minds for a few hours and win it for him.”

Per the Alamogordo News, May 14, 1976; “the Alamogordo Tigers Golf Team was 3rd after the first round and only 3 strokes behind Sandia and Santa Fe.”

Coach Bob Sepulveda was asked to step in to console the boys and fill in as the tournament coach during the final phase of the golf tournament. Coach Sepulveda said, “the boys were obviously shaken up as was I. I was there to console the team and provide support. We were all shocked and broken hearted.”

Coach Billy Aldridge did not recover and died of complications from the accident with the announcement of his death on May 16th, 1976.

Jimmy Tramel, World Sports Writer did an interview with Aldridges wife in 2006 and outlined a great highlight of his life…

1945’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ a former OSU player, was relevant to many people during short life. The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” is given annually to the last player picked in the NFL draft. The label doesn’t fit Billy Joe Aldridge…

Aldridge, an Alma, Okla., native and former Oklahoma State football player, was the final player picked in the 1945 NFL Draft. He was selected in the 32nd round — 330th overall — by the Green Bay Packers. Aldridge never played a lick for the Packers, but he was relevant to many people during a life cut short 30 years ago this month.

Aldridge was a successful high school golf coach in Alamogordo, N.M., for more than two decades. He accompanied his team to Albuquerque for the state tournament in 1976 and the fatal accident occurred before the event concluded. His grief-stricken players got the worst kind of wake-up call the next morning, but teed it up nonetheless.

“He would have kicked us in the a– if we didn’t play,” said former player Dan Koesters, who is now director of golf at New Mexico State University’s course. “It was definitely one of those deals. There was never a day when you weren’t going to play some golf.” Aldridge coached Alamogordo teams that won multiple state championships. By Koesters’ count, at least seven Aldridge pupils played major college golf and five were All-Americans. Brad Bryant is fourth on  the Champions Tour money list this year and younger brother Bart Bryant is on the PGA Tour.

Billy Joe Aldridge died a month shy of his 54th birthday. He lived a long time in comparison to a younger brother, Bennie, a five-year NFL veteran who died in a 1956 plane crash, and a brother who died at age 3.

Another brother, Hubert, flirted with the grim reaper while in Iwo Jima. He took a sniper’s bullet and was unable to walk after he was transported to a military base.

Billy Joe Aldridge played football at Oklahoma A&M from 1941-42. His college career was interrupted by World War II. He spent three years in the Marines and his primary wartime duty was entertaining troops via athletic feats. He boxed and suited up for a Marine football squad alongside Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, an NFL Hall of Famer who was picked 325 spots before Aldridge in the 1945 draft.

Aldridge once spotted a pretty female Marine, Bonnie Pedigo, in a dance hall. He told buddies he was going to marry that gal, and he was true to his word. Said Bonnie, “He called home and said ‘Mom, sell my 4-H calf. I’m going to get married.’ ” He had to pay a whopping tab (more than $30!) for a multiday honeymoon stay at the Statler Hotel in Washington, D.C.

After his military stint was over, Aldridge returned to his home state because he wanted to fulfill his dream of being a star runner at Oklahoma A&M. Problem was, a lad named Bob Fenimore already had that job.

Aldridge and his wife took advantage of the G.I. Bill to earn degrees and, while in Stillwater, golf became a passion. He soon was playing or practicing every day, regardless of weather.

If it rained, Aldridge would go out after the downpour stopped and hit balls until “dark-thirty,” said his widow. She recalled the time she made a hole-in-one and it was so cold that when she reached in the cup to grab her ball, she came away clutching a handful of ice. Aldridge burned a pile of leaves on the next hole so he and his wife could get warm.

Billy Aldridge wanted to coach and was determined to find a way to coach and was soon enroute to Alamogordo via teaching hitch in Carnegie. His first job was a $2,400-per-year gig in Carnegie. He and Bonnie took jobs in Idabel the next year because two incomes would allow them to be better providers for a son, Kent. Oklahoma teachers weren’t getting rich back then and Aldridge doubled his salary when he drove sight unseen to take a teaching and coaching job in Dexter, N.M. He left after one year to go to Alamogordo. “I heard they were building a golf course here and decided that since I liked golf better than any of the other sports I had been connected with, I would come here,” he once told an Alamogordo sports writer.

Aldridge coached nothing but golf at Alamogordo. Dan Koesters said Aldridge was ahead of his time as a high school coach, including the use of yardage books. Koesters said Alamogordo golfers “did things as a high school golf team that college teams didn’t do and things that I still have never seen a high school team do. We would meet at the park at 6:30 every morning and hit golf balls . . . and when we would get out of school, we would go to the course and play until dark.”

During Aldridge’s coaching career seven people came out of Alamogordo High and played Division I golf, that was really pretty amazing,” per Dan Koesters.

Koesters is in New Mexico State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. “There is absolutely no question that my whole career hinges around a couple of people — coach Aldridge and my college golf coach, another guy I would put in that same classification. I guarantee you that Brad Bryant would say the exact same thing,” said Koesters of Aldridge.

Aldridges wife Bonnie, in an interview in 2006 acknowledged her husband’s contributions and his imperfections…

The late Billy Joe Aldridge was not perfect (no golfer is — imperfection is what makes golfers always come back for another round).” She acknowledged, “he battled the demon in the bottle.”

Bonnie found out what others thought of her husband after his death. She said “people I didn’t even know sent cards and letters.” She takes solace in the fact her husband made a difference. “I would like to think that every individual did good things for other people,” she said.

So the 1975,76 Alamogordo Tiger graduating class moved forward with tears and also great memories. The decade was a period of great change. Change did come to Alamogordo over the decades but the history and contributions of Coach Billy Aldridge are certainly relevant to this sports history of Alamogordo and of New Mexico. His impact on so many youth within New Mexico was relevant and is relevant today.

To learn more stories of the relevance of Coach Aldridge, Coach Tate, Coach Sepulveda and 100s of athletes. For more stories purchase Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days book series available on Amazon in 46 Countries or in the US also on Amazon and at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico or your local independent book seller. 

5 Questions An Interview with New Mexico Abstract Natural Sculpture Artist Rene Sepulveda Roadrunner Emporium

Rene Sepulveda former NCAA Award winning Track and Field Coach, Rehabilitative Coach turned artist creates sculptured works. One art critic recently said of his works that they are “incisive meditations of colorishis designs, shapes and composition complimenting natures wonders using lava rocks, tree roots, tree trunks, bark, cholla desert cactus as components of his canvas.”

Artist Rene Sepulveda’s carefully constructed sculptures and art installations are abstract interpretative works that rely heavily on the influence of nature for texture and symmetry, for rural to urban spaces.

We sat down with the man who wears many hats; Former Award Winning NCAA Coach, Rehabilitative Fitness Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda, to find out more about his processes, inspiration, and his unique artistic journey with the release of his most recent exhibition the “Valley of The Fire Collection” With this interview he is also releasing two sculptured works, a tree trunk abstract sculptured piece called “Baily Canyon” which is a stunning blend of a hallowed out tree trunk textured, preserved and intriguingly colored then placed on a bed of lava rock and combined with local treated and colored natural cactus to make a stunning visual display.

The second piece to be released today he calls “Stark NM” it is a combination natural wood, recycled metals and woods crafted into a one of a kind abstract piece sitting on a Zia stone with lava. This intricate piece is a dazzling array of colors that inspires awe in its bold colors and unusual textures.

How would you describe the sculptures and artwork you create?

“My goal is to create compelling works that draw the viewer in to explore the underlying structure of color, texture and the natural elements created by mother nature. My hope is that the initial reaction is an emotional response to the color relationships, the contrasting textures between the flat and fluid paint and the hard edges and gestural marks that are embedded in the pieces as marks of nature. I want the person to enjoy my sculptured pieces and to be rewarded as they soak into the piece so that the placing of each element, the precise color balance, the textures, and carefully calibrated proportions of my sculptures are revealed to our inner senses. The inspiration comes from both natural and man-made elements and share my preoccupation with patterns, colors, textures, and the natural elements of nature.”

What message do you want to get across with your artistic works?

“I tap into my Native American roots. I believe I’m empowered by my grandfather’s ancestors in how I commune with nature to bring harmony and balance to my art pieces. I believe nature is complex in texture color. I know that harmony can be achieved to create an appealing and interesting work of art when we reconcile vastly different and contrasting colors and textures using techniques and processes that I’ve created to enhance natures work to be placed into an urban or rural household, office, or place of business.

I believe that the artistry of Cholla Art, Tree Trunk Art, Root Art or Lava Rock and Metal works are unique and not well understood, in that most homeowners or business owners don’t have the knowledge of the beauty these pieces can bring to their environment.

Most people have not been exposed to these kinds of sculptured works, very few artists create art with these mediums as a canvas.

Most people don’t know the sense of Zen or harmony that is created by including these pieces into the home, office, or business environment.

I’ve created works where chance takes over as the prominent sense and caused me to be fluid with colors and textures. The colors and textures then take over my mind and through my hands flows the wonder of color and texture. Sometimes it flows through me like a force of gravity down the surface of the art piece showing a series textures and colors from my mind that are then frozen in time to create a timeless piece of art.

Several of my creations become art dense in color and texture with very defined creations begun my nature that eventually show a high degree of control but are complex in their inspiration of color. I see this as the human impact on the natural world that is expressed with the culmination of taking objects from nature such as complex root art systems, tree trunks, unique fallen forest wood pieces, 5000 year old lava rock, unique cholla desert cactus skeletons and using them as the canvas for human expression of color and texture.

Patterns of all kinds fascinate me, including the hidden structures of living things. Tinting, repeat sequences, geometric shapes and grids, pre-historic symbols and pottery designs and the underlying laws that dictate how the natural world evolves influences my craft. The influence of all of that finds a way into my work, which I don’t really consider to be pure color or texture abstraction. Maybe interpretative abstract sculpturing is a better term for my works. I use very defined textures but counterbalance with color and the canvas of nature in my sculptured works. My work is all inspired by something I have seen or felt which has sparked my imagination. Nature is the foundation of hope for the world we live. That hope comes with a responsibility to acknowledge natures role in our daily lives, to embrace it and to appreciate its influence, by its placement, through art into our homes, offices, or businesses.”

How did you come to mixing texturing and color design in your natural art sculptures?

“Textures and colors of all kinds have always intrigued me, most especially the colors and textures of nature. When I was young and an Olympic Trials Athlete, I would run 100s of miles weekly in the mountains, the desert floor and in the woods and always along those runs, I could almost feel the colors and the textures of the natural elements around me.

So when I began exploring my artistic side, the ideas of color and texture were a natural expression of what I had absorbed from my time outdoors. On my travels around the world, I’m always attracted to the colors and textures of our ancient ancestors. The geometric abstraction in colors and shapes of the Inca’s in Peru, the geometry of the Pyramids in Egypt, my travels to my mother’s homeland of Ireland, the imaging of my grandfather’s ancestral tribes of the Tarahumara; each imprinted on my mind. Those influences’ flow through me into each art piece I create with color, textures, and design.”

Do specific colors and forms hold definite meanings in your work?

“For me color complemented with texturing is the most important part of creating art to be enjoyed. The relationship between the size, shape, texture, and color of each art form to ensure it compliments natures handiwork is of highest priority to me. The dominance of each color, the warmth or coolness, flatness, or texture, as well as denseness and fluidity, are hopefully resolved so that there is a restless balance that is appealing to the eyes and inspires the heart of those who are viewing my creations. My appreciation for color and texture began with me, in appreciate of Georgia Totto O’Keeffe’s paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe recognized as the Mother of American modernism certainly had an influence on me. Similarly Antoni Gaudi of Barcelona remarkable for his range of forms, textures, and for the free, expressive way in which these elements of his art seem to be composed have always inspired my own appreciation for colors and textures.

The colors and textured in each piece have symbolic meaning for me. The earth colors are often mixed directly with the piece to form the landscaped base and then the real creativity begins. I see color and texture as an evolutionary process, building up layers and design elements to reflect light and darkness differently with each vantage point. In some designs the colors of the urban world show though as they are attached to a piece created in the natural environment of forest or deserts. What is crafted is a contrast that is appealing and inspiring to the observer. Colors of reds and yellows remind me of the sunsets within nature and the natural elements of sunflowers which bring joy. The various grays, blacks and coppers define a more commercial manufactured world but when combined with the textures of nature they then bring meaning of wholeness with nature to me and hopefully the observer.”

Have the goals of your work changed during the Covid-19 lockdown and do you have advice for an aspiring artist?

“I have a hard time viewing myself as an artist. My business partner jokes with me and tells me once I began selling my works, I became a professional artist. I don’t know if I’d ever view myself as an artist, certainly not a professional artist, as I have a Masters in Epidemiology and a Master’s in Public Health. I Coached for over 20 years at the university level and competed professionally. I continue to coach as a rehabilitative coach today. However, the Covid lockdown did provide me an opportunity for reflection and a period of isolation without distractions to explore and expand on the artist within. With the support of family and my business partner, I’ve created some fun pieces that I am immensely proud to have been able to craft. Some people seem to enjoy my work. Some pieces are a bit eccentric, abstract, and sometimes confusing but overall the reaction has been incredibly positive, and we have sold several hundred pieces even with a pandemic going on. For that I am humbled and surprised. Each art piece I create is almost like a child to me. I nurture it and collaborate with it and want to ensure each piece goes to a good home or business where it will be cared for and cherished for years to come.

I can see preoccupations, moods and themes running throughout my artistic journey. My aim is to create a balanced work that is balanced between color, and texture and complimented by the canvas of nature. Those are competing forces which are the canvas that work as the inspiration in my work.

My advice for an artist starting out would be, just do it. It doesn’t matter if you are an art major or an art novice, it doesn’t matter if you are 12, 18, 25, 55 or 70 everyone has art within themselves, but few will ever express the art they have the potential to create. The world needs art, color, complex designs, and simple beauty. If its within you, do it, put it out there and just do it. Everyone of us wants to express ourselves from within, in some way; some write, some create art, some craft music, or performance arts. Whatever is within you, just believe in yourself and just do it.”

Learn More About Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda. Several of his pieces are showcased online via the 2nd Life Boutique and an Etsy Store. Rene Sepulveda’s more exclusive pieces are showcased on the artist website ArtistReneSepulveda.com. Many of his pieces are showcased and can be seen in person at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few of his largest installation pieces are showcased on exhibition in the yards and homes in and around Northern California and Southern New Mexico. His recently released 9 foot by 8 foot complex root art piece he calls “Ventricle” and his extraordinary 9 Foot Tall sculptured abstract tree trunk artistry sculpture called, “Bailey Canyon” and his other awesome piece called “Stark NM” can be found on exhibition at 2 private residences on McKinley Street in Alamogordo, New Mexico and are available for viewing. All are sold via his website ArtistReneSepulveda.com or at a discounted price when purchased in person and for pickup via the 2nd Life Boutique at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico.

To schedule a viewing in person and a discussion with the artist or for more information contact Mr. Sepulveda’s publicist coachedwards@2ndlifemedia.com or call 707.880.6238