With Rodeo de Santa Fe starting this week, you can expect to see a lot of cowboys in town. And late in the week some of them will be trying to lasso some political attention.
A conservative group called Cowboys for Trump — a national organization that started in southeastern New Mexico’s Otero County — plans a ride from the Rodeo Grounds to the state Capitol on Friday morning.
“This is a family-friendly, peaceful rally, nothing crazy,” organizer Audrey Trujillo of Santa Fe said Monday. “It’s a chance to bring together people with conservative views. We don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat.”
A former Democrat herself and a lifelong Santa Fe resident, Trujillo said she knows many Democrats who feel left behind by the recent leftward bent of the Democratic Party.
But convincing heavily Democratic Santa Fe that President Donald Trump wears a white hat might be a tall hill to climb. Santa Fe County in 2016 voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump, 71 percent to 20 percent. And last year in the governor’s race, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham — whose policies on immigration, guns and abortion actually helped spur the creation of Cowboys for Trump — beat Republican Trump supporter Steve Pearce, 78 percent to 21 percent in Santa Fe County.
Trujillo said about 250 people from around the state have responded to invitations. “Hopefully we’ll get 300 to 500 people and probably around 100 horses as well as motorcycles,” she said. While the ride will start at the Rodeo Grounds, the Cowboys for Trump events are not connected with Rodeo de Santa Fe, she said.
Cowboys for Trump was started by a county commissioner, Couy Griffin. He’s appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson and attended the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
“Cowboys for Trump is an organization founded upon like-minded Americans who are concerned about the direction of our country,” the group’s website says. “We believe that the liberal progressive agenda is drastically moving us away from the identifying principles that make us proud to be American.”
The group has organized horseback rides and rallies in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and during this year’s legislative session in Santa Fe.
Before that event, the Farmington Daily Times reported Ramie Harper, a hat maker from Fruitland who made a cowboy hat for Trump, had also made a hat — a pink one — for Lujan Grisham. This, he said, was a sign of respect, even though the group has sharp disagreements with the governor’s policies.
“I think she has a lot of class and I really think it would be cool if she came out and showed how dignified and cool she can be,” Harper told the newspaper.
That didn’t happen.
Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said that when that group reached out about the hat back in March, “We invited them up to the Fourth Floor. We wanted them to be able to present the hat, have a nice chat with the governor, head back down and go along with their rally. Seemed copacetic enough, but they declined to come upstairs. Something about not wanting to leave their horses. Way it goes.”
Stelnicki declined to comment about Friday’s planned event.
Trujillo said participants will gather at the Rodeo Grounds between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and depart at 10 a.m. The rally at the state Capitol is scheduled for about 11 a.m.