Las Vegas, New Mexico is located about 65 miles east of Santa Fe and light years from the “real” Las Vegas. I spent several days there a few years ago and it still lingers in my memory as a unique and quirky place. Some of the places I visited, and locals I met might—or might not—still be there, but chances are the town’s quirkiness and characters remain. ͠
There was a time if you stopped by the Hillcrest Restaurant on Grand Avenue in Las Vegas, New Mexico about six in the morning, you’d probably see Clyde Pickett having breakfast at the counter.
When I met him, Clyde was a retired Las Vegas cowboy, still riding and roping in rodeo events and occasionally helping local ranchers brand their little dogies and ship them to market.
When he wasn’t in the saddle, Clyde did something very un-cowboy-like. He made baskets, using up the remnants of his old nylon lariats, artistically coiling them and tagging them with a little card that read “When some things die they go to a casket. When this rope “died,” it became a basket!”