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Columbus celebrates Cabalgata Binacional

COLUMBUS — The village of Columbus is getting ready to saddle up and set out for its 20th annual Cabalgata Binacional weekend event from Friday, March 8, to Sunday, March 10.

The Bi-national Cavalry recognizes Mexican revolutionary General Francisco “Pancho” Villa’s surprise attack against the Village of Columbus on March 9, 1916, where 18 U.S. citizens and over 100 Mexicans lost their lives. The event is also an opportunity to promote goodwill between Mexico and the United States.

“The Cabalgata is on auto pilot now. We are just waiting for the pieces to come together, but that shouldn’t be a problem,” said Norma Gomez, Columbus Chamber of Commerce event coordinator. “The New Mexico Department of Transportation is processing the use of right-of-way permit and the sheriff’s office is leading the parade and providing traffic control for the horse parade that the USDA APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) is so graciously letting come across the border to trek the last three miles of their 15-day travel across the state of Chihuahua and finishing in Columbus.”

The village will actually host two more major events during the March weekend. Pancho Villa State Park will host its annual Camp Furlong Day on Saturday, March 9, an educational event covering the events of March 9, 1916.

The Columbus Historical Society will host its annual Raid Day Memorial at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, behind the historical train depot museum. The society has reached out in the past to families who are descendants of those who where killed during Pancho Villa’s raid.

Traditionally, the Cabalgata Binacional starts approximately two weeks in advance. Passionate participants set out to follow the same journey that Villa’s soldiers took from Guerrero, Mexico, to Columbus by horseback. Riders will start their journey this coming Saturday.

According to Gomez, this year’s Cabalgata will be special as the chamber has invited two of Villa’s grandsons to attend.