Alamo thrives on family tradition

By Glenda Rae Davis
Navajo Times

ALAMO, N.M., October 18, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Apache crown dancers from the Mescalero Apache tribe dance for the crowd Saturday afternoon during the 32nd annual Alamo Indian Days Celebration in Alamo, N.M.

SECOND FROM TOP: Kemmy Secatero, 6, from Alamo, N.M., waits for a customer to play the 3 Ball Toss game Saturday evening at the 32nd annual Alamo Indian Days Celebration in Alamo, N.M.

THIRD FROM TOP: Noah Apachito, 8, right, and big brother Sam Apachito, 12, both from Alamo, N.M., compete against each other in the pie eating contest at the 32nd annual Alamo Indian Days Celebration in Alamo, N.M.

D uring large events such as the Navajo Nation fair, outsourcing happens a lot on the reservation be it the carnival rides, food stands, or entertainment.

But the closest the community of Alamo, N.M. comes to outsourcing is bringing in police from the Navajo Nation, what Alamo Navajos have dubbed "the big rez."

Rather than bringing in outsiders, this reporter observed that the community thrives on family tradition, which was evident during the 32nd annual Indian Days Celebration here,

For Ricky Ganadonegro, 48, running his "Ball Tossing" booth has been a family tradition for the last 10 years.

"We have been (hosting) this game since the beginning," said Ganadonegro. "(The event) brings families together."

Ganadonegro said that when the celebration was first held, he decided to create his "Ball Tossing" board.

"The object of the game is to get these balls into the pipes. As you can tell people have a pretty good chance of winning," he said adding that his last prize was an Oakland Raiders bath towel.

The balls were three inches in diameter.

Ganadonegro's booth was adjacent to his niece and her husband's "dart throw" booth.

"We come together every year and have a good time," said Ganadonegro. "It gives us a chance to raise some extra money that we save up, in case of emergencies."

Of his customers, Ganadonegro said the most memorable was an out-of-town couple that spent $50 at their booth with the goal of winning an NFL Steelers towel that Ganadonegro had as a prize. The couple walked away with the towel and some liters of soda.

Like her brother Ricky, Lucita Ganadonegro, ran her food stand "Indian Time" to earn some extra cash.

"We do it to save up for the kids' school supplies and sometimes they need shoes or clothes for sports in the middle of the year," she said.

Lucita said that two of her younger sisters, who live out of town, come home for the celebration to help her cook and sell food.

"It becomes a family reunion," said Lucita.

Lucita said that she started up her stand four years ago and has yet to have a bad day.

"It was a busy time for us, she said. "We just kept going and going. People kept placing orders and we kept sending them out."

One booth featured homemade quilts, dolls, and small Bluebird Flour refrigerator magnets – all made by the elders of the Alamo community.

Sally Monte, who volunteered her time to sell the items for the elders, was manning the booth.

"There's not a lot of people helping with the senior center so I volunteer my time," said Monte. "The money we get here is going back to the center."

Monte said that her and Vera Baca, who was running the "Thumb Tack" game next to her, provided the materials out of their own pocket for the elders to make the products being sold.

"The elders have to raise money if they want to take a trip somewhere or want to buy something," said Monte. "This is just our way of helping them out."

Monte said it has always been difficult to raise money but out of respect for the elders, she and Baca have been helping for the past eight months.

"It's important to me because my grandma raised me," said Monte. "She taught me to help the elderly."

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