Couldn’t touch him with a seven-foot pole…

Las Cruces High School battled Albuquerque’s Volcano Vista High School last Saturday in the quest for New Mexico’s 5A high school basketball championship.

Unfortunately for us southern New Mexico residents, the Bulldawgs lost an overtime contest 66-55 in what was described as a thriller of a game between the state’s only two undefeated top basketball teams.

Atrisco Heritage celebrating after the game. Photo courtesy Albuquerque Journal.

What was interesting to me was a story in the Albuquerque Journal prior to the game that said one of Las Cruces’ early opponents tried to prepare for their game by using a long broomstick.

The Las Cruces team featured Senior player Isaiah Carr, who stretched the measuring tape to seven feet.

In the semi-final game, the Bulldawgs defeated another Albuquerque team, the Atrisco Heritage Academy, which used the unusual method to prepare how to defend the seven-foot Carr on the court.

As the Journal noted:

“Lacking a better option, Atrisco Heritage Coach Steve Heredia said the Jaguars used a broomstick in practice to try and simulate Carr’s height.”

It didn’t work for Atrisco Heritage, but Volcano Vista apparently figured out how to take him out of the game when it counted.

This reminds me of a New Mexico politician from the 1950s and early 1960s, Ingram B. Pickett, who served several terms as a State Corporation Commision member. Pickett billed himself as “Seven Foot Pickett,” even though he was a bit shy of that mark. He removed the door of his state government office on the premise that citizens could walk in any time to see him and to prove he was hiding nothing. Once there, they probably cowered at his 6 foot 10 3/4- inch height. His campaign slogan was “Big enough to serve you, Small enough to need you.”

In the early 1960s, he apparently became ill and told some news media outlets he would not run for a fourth term as Corporation Commissioner. However, an article I found in a November 1962 issue of the El Paso Times said he had recanted the story about his illness, was still planning to run for a fourth term in 1966 and was seen “dancing in public” at state oil and gas association convention in Santa Fe.

It’s interesting that another person whose name appears in various search sources was identified as Ingram B. Pickett. He also died in the early 1960s, but his claim to fame was that he was a movie actor. Despite my research, I could not link the two as being the same person. How interesting would that be — like Ronald Reagan becoming president. Our own “Seven Foot Pickett” politician whose career started as an actor.

Any readers who might have some information about this should send me a note.

And in the meantime, if you’ve picked your brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament, you might consider sending your winning team a seven-foot pole as a training device. 


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