In 2006, the IBA began assisting Dr. Wayne Meyerowitz of Creative Jewelry Connections, who was interested in various foreign trade shows in which to showcase his handcrafted bolo ties. During the IBA’s work with Dr. Meyerowitz, the question was pondered: Why isn’t the bolo tie the official neckwear of New Mexico? After all, bolo ties are arguably more popular in this state than in any other, and the oldest evidence of its creation goes back to the period of 1866 to 1886 in Zuni Pueblo. Its components, primarily silver, turquoise, onyx and other semi-precious stones, are indigenous to the state. Master craftsmen from New Mexico have been combining these elements and making bolo ties for generations.
The IBA and Dr Meyerowitz embarked upon an effort to craft the legislation that was carried in the legislature by lawmakers Don Tripp (House of Representatives) and Steve Komadina (Senate). IBA staff briefed lawmakers and testified in committee in support of the bill, which unanimously passed every committee in both chambers before being signed into law on March 13 by Governor Bill Richardson.
The passage of the bill making the bolo tie the official neckwear of New Mexico was popular among both House and Senate members, many of whom were not previously allowed on to the floor of their respective chambers while wearing a bow tie. Due to the bolo tie law, many members are now seen sporting bolos while debating on the floor with their colleagues. The bolo tie also entered the New Mexico Blue Book alongside other official New Mexican icons such as the green chile, the roadrunner, and the yucca.
To commemorate the “Day of the Bolo”, the State Land Office Commission Gallery is showcasing Creative Jewelry Connections’ bolo ties, as well as paintings featuring landscaping and native scenes by New Mexico artist Betty Carolson. The exhibit launched on February 13 and will run through March 15, 2013. In recognition of the “Day of the Bolo,” an artist reception will be held from 4:00 p.m.to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13th at the State Land Commission Gallery.
As co-originator of the bolo tie legislation, IBA Executive Director Jerry Pacheco will be taping a speech that will be played during the artist reception.