2017 Española Fiesta Court Named

Members of the 2017 Fiesta Del Valle de Española court pose Friday evevning during the competition to select Onate and La Reina. Valley Daily Post photo

2017 Española Fiesta Court Named

The 2017 La Fiesta Del Valle de Española Royalty Competition was held Friday evening at the Nick Salazar Center for the Arts on the campus of Northern New Mexico College.

Members of the 2017 Fiesta court dance during Friday night’s competition event. Valley Daily Post photo

The four candidates for La Reina and candidate for Don Juan de Onate y Salazar presented themselves to the five judges and an audience of over 50 people.

The 2016 La Reina, Adriana Martinez spoke to all candidates about her year of service as La Reina and applauded all who stepped forward to serve.

Adriana Martinez speaking to the audience with Fiesta Court candidates behind her as her last act as 2016 Reina. Valley Daily Post photo

The candidates then introduced themselves in Spanish and English, and then took questions from the judge panel. All candidates for La Reina pledged that if they were not selected to serve on the Royal Court as a Princesa. Candidates were judged on appearance, poise, personality, sincerity, speech (in both Spanish and English) and knowledge of history of the Espanola Valley.

Judges were Melissa Mascareñas, Joel Chacon, Adriana Martinez (2016 La Reina), Casey Gallegos (KDCE Radio), and Dr. Richard Bailey (NNMC President). Officials presiding over the competition included Linda Padilla (Rio Arriba County Clerk), Leo Marquez (CFO for the New Mexico State Treasurer’s Office), and Andrew Herrera (past Fiesta Council VP / President of the Espanola Valley Arts Festival).

Judges at Friday’s competition applaud candidates. Valley Daily Post photo 

The 2017 winners were announced Saturday night at the Fiesta Announcement Ball at Ohkay Casino and Conference Center.

This year’s 2017 La Reina de Espanola will be Monique Vigil of La Mesilla. The 2017 Don Juan de Onate y Salazar will be Ralph Martinez of Chimayo.
2017 La Reina de Espanola Monique Vigil and Don Juan de Onate y Salazar Ralph Martinez at the Fiesta Announcement Ball Saturday night. Courtesy photo

Congratulations to the winners, contestants and all members of the 2017 2017 Fiesta de Espanola Royal Court.

Candidates and bios for this year’s Feista court are listed below:

Vianae Yolotzin Altamirano
Hello, my name is Vianae Yolotzin Altamirano, I am 18 years old and I am a senior at McCurdy Charter School. My Mother is Patricia Altamirano . I was born prematurely at Albuquerque, New Mexico. The beautiful Española Valley is where I live and continue to reside. El Valle de Española is a part of who I am, and where my heart is content. Since a young age my mother instilled in me the importance of our Spanish background and the advantages of knowing how to speak both Spanish and English. In Española I learned to appreciate culture, so I joined the Fiestas in the summer of 2014 as a Teen Princesa. That was a great experience and I got to see Española’s strong sense of community and culture.

I love the beautiful terrain of New Mexico and the fact that we have the ability to experience all four seasons. The diversity of the people in our Community has always brought me joy because no matter the differences between ethnicities, we all seem to come together when celebrating Española and the Fiestas.

Anionette Lucero
Antionette Lucero was born August 17, 1998. She is from Santa Cruz New Mexico. Her parents are Anthony Raymond Lucero from Santa Cruz and Andrea Michelle Lucero from Pojoaque New Mexico. She has three younger siblings Anthony, Analicia, and Anjolene. She attended Pojoaque Valley High School and Graduated in May 2016. Now, she is currently attending Luna Community College in Las Vegas New Mexico studying to become a registered nurse.

It has always been in her best interest to serve her beautiful Española Valley. She has been involved in church groups all through middle school and High school. In 2014, she was crowned La Reina De Santa Cruz de la Cañada, and that is what started her passionate involvement with the Fiestas. She has served as a Princesa for Fiesta del Valle de Española in 2015 and 2016.

Angelique Martinez
Angelique Martinez is 27 years old. She was born in the heart of Northern New Mexico in the beautiful Española Valley. Angelique is the daughter of Donna Martinez. She is a 2008 graduate of Pojoaque Valley High School.  Angelique graduated with an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Certificate in Police Supervision in December 2016. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at New Mexico Highlands University at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center and is employed with the Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico. She is currently active in National Honor Society of Leadership & Success and has been active in many organizations including: Student government (Senator), Santa Fe Police Department (Intern), Santa Fe Police Department Citizen’s Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters (Mentor), The Boys & Girls Club of Pojoaque, and the San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen.

Angelique participated in the 2014 Fiesta del Valle de Española as a Princesa. Angelique appreciates the beauty of the Española Valley and believes that it is important to honor and keep our faith, traditions and cultures alive while portraying a positive image in our community. With a heart filled with honor, love, and appreciation, Angelique is prepared to portray the role of La Reina de la Fiesta del Valle de Española. She will ensure the success of the 2017 Fiesta del Valle de Española by keeping the peace, spreading the faith and happiness of the Fiesta. And by teaching our youth. And reminding our elders the true meaning of the Fiesta. 

Monique Vigil
Monique Vigil is 24 years old, and was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She currently resides in La Mesilla, New Mexico.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of New Mexico in May of 2014.  She is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her volunteer experience includes, Presidential Elections volunteer, Teaching Assistant at Fairview Elementary School, General elections volunteer, and the Big Buddy program. 

Her list of achievements include, LANL SWSST CO-Chair, Qualified Auditor, Deans’ List (UNM), New Mexico Association of Student Councils, MESA– Math Engineering Science Achievement, Science, technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program, and the National Honor Society.

Ralph Martinez
My name is Ralph Martinez and I’m 39 years old. I was born and raised in the beautiful Española Valley. I was raised by a single mother. My dad left to Florida when I was 3 years old and left my mom to raise me and my older brother. My brother is a year older than me. My mom was 18 when my dad left. We moved around from house to house when I was a kid. My mom worked two jobs until she could finally afford a place of our own. My mom worked hard to provide.

I graduated high school in 1996 from Española Valley High, I was 18. In 2001 I became addicted to drugs. I battled addiction from 2001 till 2012. That’s 11 years. In 2006 I became homeless. I stayed homeless for 6 years living out of tents and abandoned houses. I was in and out of jail and rehabs until 2012. In 2012 I was able to beat my addiction. I learned a lot of lessons in life from it. After my addiction I had to put my life back together. I worked at a Giant Gas station here in Española from 2012 to 2013. In 2013 my brother helped me start a trucking business in Santa Fe. In 2015 a guy from Denver came down and offered to buy my business, so I sold it. I started working at the labs in Los Alamos in late 2015 and I’m still here today. I’ve been at the labs now going on 2 years.

Looking at my life you can see that I’ve been through struggles. That’s how I know that God works in mysterious ways. Española has taught me a lot of lessons in life. Both good and bad. I’ve learned a lot about life because of what I’ve been through and what I’ve been through has made me who I am today.