Columbus Chamber of Commerce hosts 25th Anniversary Cabalgata Binacional as part of the Fiesta de Amistad Celebration

by | Feb 20, 2023

On March 11th, after two weeks on the trail through the villages of northern Mexico, the horses ride into town, 107 years after they first arrived at the orders of General Pancho Villa. “Today, we ride in friendship in the only binational cavalry commemorating the casualties of the Raid – Mexican and American alike” said Norma Gomez, Event Organizer for the Columbus, NM Chamber of Commerce, “spurring economic development along its way.”

The Cabalgata began in 1999 with a fortuitous meeting. Early members from the Mexican side had been recreating the rides for years but had never crossed the border—they couldn’t. “Without a government invite, they were not allowed,” said Allen Rosenberg, one of the early team members who started the Cabalgata. “We ran into them in front of the museum. When they told us they needed an official invite, we asked if the mayor of Columbus would suffice. Then we just walked a few blocks over and asked.”

What followed was a whirlwind of preparation, planning and government visits on both sides of the border. “It all happened so fast!” said Gomez, who was also one of the original planners. “One minute it was just an idea and the next we were hosting a thousand visitors in town!”

Through the years the Cabalgata grew to 3,000+ visitors, state and federal attendees and, at times, up to 300 horses. When the Covid-19 pandemic halted organization of all public events, smaller groups of riders continued to make the journey here, uninterrupted by world events. “I believe that tradition is important, and though we have had our share of bumps in the road it was awesome to see the dedication and comradeship amongst the people and riders. We couldn’t see letting the pandemic stop it” said Coy Gutierrez from Midland, Texas, who has been riding for years.

The Fiesta de Amistad kicks off on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 10am with a memorial and reading of names hosted by the Columbus Historical Society behind the Depot Museum.



25th Annual Fiesta de Amistad Program of Events

March 9th


Columbus Historical Society Raid Day Commemoration at Bandstand behind Depot Museum: Presentation of colors, reading of names and Taps by New Mexico National Guard honoring the fallen US soldiers and civilians


Featured Speaker: Dr. Brandon Morgan of Central NM Community College


Coffee and and discussion with Dr. Morgan at Borderlands Cafe


Library: 25th Anniversary Fiesta de Amistad Exhibition
Pancho Villa State Park/Village of Columbus Self-Guided Walking Tours
Pancho Villa State Park Exhibit Hall/Museum (9am-4pm)
Columbus Historical Society Depot Museum (10am-1pm)
Desert Artistas Gallery at The Hoover Hotel (10am-4pm)

March 10th


MX horses and riders arrive in Palomas
US horses and riders arrive in Columbus from Deming


Guided historical tour, Village of Columbus, starting at Pancho Villa State Park


Film screening Columbus: En Busca de los Dorados de Villa – Historic Hoover Hotel


Musical performances – Tumbleweed Theater


Columbus Library Book Signing – “I Wear My Father’s Hat” by Raul Nava


Columbus celebration and dancing at Pancho Villa Lounge
Palomas celebration and dancing – TBA

March 11th


Artists’ Market/Vendor Fair in Plaza
Guided historical tour, Village of Columbus, starting at Pancho Villa State Park


Performances in Village Plaza by July McClure, Dev Oliver and Ramblin Rangers


Parade blessing and smudging by Chiricahua/Mescalero – Apache Alliance Council Remembrance Ride/Parade starts at Port of Entry US/Mexico border


Corazon de Luna and Rayitos de Luna from Deming – Sophia’s Dance Studio, Presentation of colors, Mexican & USA National Anthems


Welcome by Columbus Mayor Salas and Chamber of Commerce – Village Plaza
Recognition of Dignitaries from the U.S.A./Mexico, Emcee Cindy Medina


Recognition and Guest of Honor Miguel Marquez “Indio Ju” by Gil Aguilera
Presentation of Certificates, Norma Gomez and Salomon Gutierrez
Lunch for participants, Spirit of Columbus building – Coordinator Isabel Gomez


Intro to entertainment – DJ Mario Moreno
Ballet Folklorico Korimi – Director Dalila Gutierrez
Mariachis TBA

1:00 – 3:00pm

18th Annual Camp Furlong Day – Pancho Villa State Park speakers/topics change
on the hour

  • 1:00pm: Professor Glenn Minuth, One Raid & Two Battles of the Mexican Expedition
  • 2:00pm: Dr. Robert Bouilly, 24th Infantry: Buffalo Soldiers at Columbus 1916-1922
  • 3:00pm: Ric Lambart, Pres. 1st Aero Squadron, on airplane usage in the Punitive Expedition

2:00 – 4:00pm

Historic Hoover Hotel Entertainment – TBA

2:00 – 6:00pm

Horseshoe Tournament at American Legion Parking lot


Awards: Best dressed of the Era – by Popular vote
Raffle winner announced


Appreciation Banquet (invite only) – Pancho Villa Lounge, Columbus

Subject to change due to additional activities, weather or circumstances beyond our control.