Front Page, Outdoors

Local game hunter vying for big prize, with a portion to go to local murals

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By GEORGE CUSTER/Interim Editor/The Herald — Avid game hunter, restaurateur, and muralist Marissa “Mar” Lopez is a participant in a contest that could net her the opportunity to receive a 5-day Bull Elk Hunt on the Vermejo Park Ranch in Nothern New Mexico, along with $25,000 cash. Mar is currently 3rd in the quarterfinals.

The competition is being presented by Big Game Hero and sponsored by Vortex Optics. The competition aims to bring awareness to the importance of wildlife conservation.

“I’ve made it into the quarterfinalist groups! I can hardly believe it! Marissa said when she found out where she is currently placed. She continued, “There is only 1% of the people left in the competition. I’m so surprised I’ve made it this far! But I still have to make it through three more rounds. I’d be so incredibly thankful if you sent me a free daily vote! Go to my Facebook page, See the “Vote for Marissa Lopez to be the Big-Game Hero!” Click on this link, then push the button to place your Free Daily Vote.” You may purchase additional votes, as well.

Voting for the semi-finalists ends Thursday, January 6th at 7 p.m. PST.

Marissa goes on to explain her plan to use the prize, should she win, to create additional murals in Oakridge, “As many of you know, I have done murals. Quite a few. I’ve done about 30+. Technically, all throughout the world. Five are visible in the little town of Oakridge (to the public). Out of all my murals, many are in private homes, private businesses, out of state, and over oceans.

So, I have thought long and hard about this, how I would word it, and what this could potentially mean for me, and the little town I live in.

“A few months ago, I was daydreaming to our City Administrator and also a council member, saying that if I could, I would put a mural on every single ugly and dilapidated building along Hwy 58 that would want one, simply to help beautify Oakridge to the outside. When I think of beautiful towns and cities, they almost always push for public art. I believe it shows a sense of pride.

“But murals are expensive to make and are extremely time consuming to do. It’s exhausting and sometimes dangerous. Being on a lift 30’ above concrete can be a little dangerous.

“But even if my heart was willing to beautify our highway presence, I certainly lack the time, and definitely the finances, to do it (and the City certainly doesn’t have that either). Bummer.

“So, I have another hair brained idea: If I win this, I would like to fund myself in helping beautify our little community of Oakridge and its presence to the outside world, (aka: Hwy 58). If only by doing what I can. That would be creating Murals on private businesses and buildings that need some lipstick, in the hopes that it could help travelers stop here and bring outside money and support HERE.

“Now $25,000 sounds like a lot. But in the mural world, with me drastically offering a discount, it’s really not that much. Average price of a mural is $10-35 per a square foot!

“I could probably manage to paint about five(?) big ugly walls (with some volunteers and still stay within the budget). IF this prize money was available to use.

“So, my un-official proposal is this: I NEED VOTES to win this competition. I’m already over halfway there (amazingly!) and am currently in 1st place. Our community needs some major lipstick. If I win, I want to use my cash winnings to fund myself in painting some murals. At this point, I’m literally now looking at this contest as a way to fund myself to make some cool murals in our community.

“So, IF you think this is a good idea and want to help with voting for me daily (or as much as you can remember), AWESOME!! I need your free-daily votes and support in this.”

Marissa, along with being an avid hunter, is also the owner of “The Campfire, Home of Cowgirl Cookn”, a restaurant where she serves up her own style of “Tex-Mex” cuisine. The Campfire is located in the center of Oakridge on Highway 58, next to Oakridge Pharmacy.

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