Longtime Mancos resident Ophelia Rivera will be the 62nd queen of Mancos Days this year.
A committee from the Montezuma County VFW Ladies Auxiliary selects the Mancos Days Queen every year. Each woman must have lived in the community for more than 50 years.
It is a community tradition to honor the some of the most long-standing residents.
"The pioneers are the people who founded this community, we are trying to honor our pioneers," said Beverly Humiston, the chair of the selection committee.
Rivera will be honored at the Queen's Tea on July 25 at the Bauer House, where she will greet former queens. Rivera will also be acknowledged while riding in the queen's carriage in the Mancos Days Parade on the morning of July 26. Later that same day, Rivera will at the pavilion at Mancos Boyle Park.
Rivera, the first of 12 children, was born Feb. 3, 1923, in the tiny town of Ensenada, N.M., to Lucas G. and Rosa F Martinez. (The population of Ensenada today is just over 100 people) At age 3, Ophelia went to live with her grandparents until the age of 16, when she married Leandro Lobato and the couple had two daughters, Mary and Dolores, before the marriage ended.
In 1952, Rivera came to Mancos to visit her sister, and fell in love with the congenial town and its beautiful setting. Within a year, she met a man from Mexico, Moises Rivera. They married, and together they raised seven more children in Mancos - Nic, Nancy, Della, Kelly, Jason, Sergio and Edwin.
Rivera's main focus was being a good mother to those nine children.
However, she also found time to work at the Diamond Match Factory (now the Western Excelsior plant), and along with several other ladies, volunteered for 20 years at the Good Samaritan Center, where she made many lifelong friends. Also, Ophelia has been a loyal member of St. Rita's Catholic Church for many years.
Today, Rivera loves to fish and spend time in her beautiful garden of flowers and vegetables.
Rivera has 17 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren.
She thanks everyone responsible for this great honor and for the generous love and support shown to her every day that she has lived in Mancos.