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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Lovington Celebrates 4th of July with Annual Lizard Race

LAS CRUCES - New Mexicans, find your fastest lizards and travel to Lovington for the annual World's Greatest Lizard Race. The race will be held July 4 in Chaparral Park.

"The lizard race began in 1976, but was canceled that year after the nervous lizards started eating each other. It was started up again in 1981 and has continued every year since," said Mike Cook, coordinator of New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project.

The event draws visitors from across the nation. The lizards range in size from as small as one inch to as big as 18-inch iguanas. Competitors race with a group of six lizards down a 16-foot ramp across the finish line.

"Trainers can encourage their lizards with tickles from feathers provided by race organizers, or Lords of the Lizards," said Cook. "However, a lizard can be disqualified if it tries to eat its competition."

Other activities during Lizard Day will include a Kiwanis Club Fun Run at 7 a.m., VFW flag raising and antique car exhibition. Children can enjoy a variety of activities, including an egg toss, water polo and a three-legged race. The day will end with a fireworks display. Food vendors will be available during the day.

REDTT, a program of NMSU'S Cooperative Extension Program, promotes agriculture through tourism.

For more information about the World's Greatest Lizard Race, call (505) 396-2823 or contact REDTT at (505)646-8009. Visit REDTT'S web site at www.nmsu.edu/~redtt.