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The July 4 weekend starts with a bang

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Watch a parade, listen to speeches about the Declaration of Independence, sample barbecue, run off the calories with flag football and then kick back and enjoy live music and fireworks — all this weekend in Rio Rancho.

The City of Vision has a variety of activities to offer for July 4 and the weekend.

“We’ve got a great schedule of events,” said Mayor Gregg Hull, highlighting the parade, reading of an Independence Day proclamation and fireworks show, all of which he expects to attend.

“I’ll be in the parade and encourage everybody to come out and be a part of it,” he said.

Flag football tournament

Friday starts at 9 a.m. with the beginning of the sixth annual Corbin Hayes Flag Football Tournament at Rio Rancho Stadium at Rio Rancho High School.

Participation is open to youth ages 8 to 18. The deadline to register was Tuesday, but spectators are welcome.

Admission is free.

Tournament proceeds benefit the football booster clubs at RRHS and Cleveland High School and the Corbin Hayes Foundation.

Parade and ceremony

The Independence Day parade steps off at 10 a.m., heading east on Southern Boulevard from Country Club Drive to Esther Bone Memorial Library and Veterans Monument Park on Pinetree Road. It features about 50 entries.

The parade includes a bike-decorating contest in which children and their parents can participate. Decorated bicycles will join the last entry in the parade, and all participating children must wear helmets.

Contest registration begins at 9 a.m. Friday in the Bank of America parking lot at 3101 Southern Blvd. There’s no entry fee.

Prizes go to the decorator of the best, most patriotic and most original bikes in three age groups: 5 to 7 years old, 8 to 10 years old and 11 to 15 years old.

Country Club, Southern from Country Club to Pinetree, and Pinetree from Southern to Oakmount Drive are scheduled to be closed during the parade, from about 10 to 11 a.m.

A ceremony is set to mark the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence immediately after the parade at Veterans Monument Park. It will start about 11 a.m. and consist of guest speakers.

The agenda was still being finalized Monday afternoon, but Hull is set to read a proclamation. City spokesman Peter Wells said the ceremony should end by noon.

Pork & Brew

The 11thh annual Pork & Brew BBQ State Championship fires up at 11 a.m. on Friday and runs through Sunday. The event happens inside Santa Ana Star Center and in the parking lot.

Local, regional and national barbecue chefs compete to qualify for the American Royal barbecue contest in Kansas City, Mo., and sell their food to the public. Attendees can also try micro-brewed beer, check out arts-and-crafts vendors and watch live entertainment.

Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Matt Geisel said he is expecting about 45 competitors with about 17 selling food to the public.

“It’s always a good mix, both locals and out-of-towners,” he said.

New this year is a People’s Choice Award, in which attendees vote for their favorite vendor, and several eating contests. Geisel said children can compete in watermelon-eating contests every day, while adults have a hotdog-eating contest Friday, rib-eating contest Saturday and pie-eating contest Sunday.

Geisel said the barbecue vendors will be in the parking lot, while the live music, a dining area and a lot of the children’s activities will happen inside the Star Center.

“A hot weekend like last weekend means people can definitely come inside and enjoy the creature comforts of Santa Ana Star Center,” Geisel said.

People can drift back and forth between the center and the parking lot. The thing to remember is that due to state liquor laws, alcohol purchased outside must be consumed outside and alcohol purchased inside must be consumed inside.

Kids’ activities include jumpers, face-painting and a number of games.

Last year, more than 14,000 people attended Pork & Brew, which is one of the top events on the Kansas City BBQ Society circuit, according to the City of Rio Rancho. Geisel is hoping for 14,000 to 16,000 attendees this year.

Decibels Xollide Southwest Musicfest

For music fans, live performances will start at 1 p.m. on the RRHS practice fields and run until 10 p.m. Friday.

The Decibels Xollide Southwest Musicfest involves 30 bands and two stages, and specially features the alternative rock group Acceptable Losses.

There’s no admission fee, and parking is free until 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., parking at the high school costs $5, which goes to the RRHS and CHS booster clubs.

Fireworks Extravaganza

One of New Mexico’s biggest and best fireworks shows goes off at 9 p.m., with Rio Rancho Stadium offering good seats, according to the city. There’s no admission fee, but people can buy concessions.

The city recommends spectators bring chairs, blankets and picnics. Alcohol and smoking aren’t allowed.

The stadium opens at 6 p.m., and the $5 parking fee applies.

For more information about Pork & Brew, visit or call the Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau at 891-7258. For more information about the other activities, call the city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at 891-5015.