Home Sports Local Sports Goddard students’ memory lives on

Goddard students’ memory lives on


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Nothing is as tragic as a life cut short before it has had a chance to live. There are no contracts with life, and every person is day-to-day. In an era when most people struggle to find their purpose in life and live their dreams, this wasn’t the case with Jesse Andrus and Mike Hillman.

Both wanted to get a jump on fulfilling their dreams before graduating from Goddard High School.

Andrus and Hillman had just turned 18 years old and went to Cave Creek, Arizona, to compete in their first rodeo, Fiesta Days Rodeo. Hillman took first place in saddle bronc.

Both men planned to leave for Roswell early Sunday morning to get back for school. They decided to spend Saturday night at a Scottsdale Safeway parking lot. The Scottsdale police said they died of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning; they believed the generator on the rear of the vehicle may have been running.

Determined not to let this tragedy make their family bitter, Marc and Kathy Andrus decided to take this opportunity to make their family better and help others.

Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.

Marc Andrus had been doing rodeo shows for 26 years and had a bull riding event scheduled for July 2010. When his son died in April 2010, he thought about canceling the event because of the trauma of losing his son.

“I considered canceling the bull-riding event,” Marc said, “but because of sponsors, family and friends, they said to me, ‘Let’s keep it rolling and make it a memorial.’”

The Andrus family put on the first memorial in August 2010 and has made it an annual event.

The event has grown to 180 contestants competing for $40,000 in prize money this weekend.

The memorial gives a local recipient a monetary award of $3,000. This year’s winner is the Assurance Home of Roswell.

Last year’s winner was the Roswell Youth Football League.

“I’ve been here for 30 years,” Marc said. “This town’s been good for me and my family. My wife (Kathy) was born and raised here. We’ve raised our family here in Roswell and enjoy the town. Our sponsors have been good to us, and we are trying to give back to the community what it has given to us.”

By giving back to the Roswell community, the Andrus family keeps their son’s dream and memory alive every day.

The Ninth Annual Jesse Andrus and Mike Hillman Memorial Rodeo will take place this Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds Arena, 2500 SE Main St. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 12.

Tickets are available at Roswell Livestock Chamber of Commerce and Farm Supply, 1105 E. Second St, or online at jesseandmikememorial.com.

Record sports editor J.T. Keith can be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

Previous articleLawrence wins two medals
Next articleVolunteering for kids’ sake