Dentist converts to supporting Otero Mesa preservation

By Dr. C. Richard Tinguely, For the Alamogordo Daily News
May 29, 2012

One Wednesday afternoon in 1961, I discovered Otero Mesa — although at the time I didn’t even know its name.

During this time I had a busy dental practice in El Paso. To unwind from the stress, I jumped into my little Piper aircraft and explored the open range east of El Paso.
Flying leisurely along, I scared up a large herd of antelope. I dropped down to about 10 feet above ground, slowed down to pace the running herd, and followed them to large meadows of the greenest grass I’d ever seen.

Grazing in this oasis were a half dozen deer. All the surrounding land was desert. I made this place my special hideout. There were never any other living beings around; I never even saw a car during the years that I revisited on a regular basis.

After my retirement and moving to Bent, I met Styve Homnick and had to listen to his raving about Otero Mesa. Showing me its location on a map, I recognized it as my secret place. I disagreed about his wanting to set it aside from any commercial development because most of it was a desert wasteland upon which oil and gas had been discovered.

I have been an investor in these wells in the past and my experience was that these wells could be developed without the pollution that Styve was concerned about.

As time went on and I learned about the historic and archaeological treasures scattered throughout the region, I was slowly converted to the preservation of the whole area.
It was really hard for this stubborn old man to admit that he was wrong.

Richard Tinguely, DDS, is a veteran of World War II and Korea. He retired and moved to Bent in 1982 and is the author of the book “Bent Dreams.” He is presently married to the former Caron Crane Tinguely of Ruidoso. This column was submitted by the Otero Mesa Preservation Society. Contact them at



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