Hundreds of visitors to the Soboba Sports Complex on May 20 enjoyed a traditional pit barbecue lunch, giveaways, games, music and cultural activities such as bird singing and dancing, basketweaving, and traditional dance performances that were held throughout the all-day Soboba Fiesta.
Peon games for men, women and children, horseshoes, tug-of-war, greased pole climbing and other competitive games were offered. A fun cake walk for all ages saw lots of sweet treats won with help from announcer Joe Ontiveros, Soboba’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and DJ Mike Nevarez. Salsa and tortilla contests produced lots of delicious entries with Vincent and Vanessa being voted as top salsa makers and Elizabeth Russell winning for the tastiest tortillas.
Vendors, sharing fun food items and lots of merchandise, dotted the perimeter of the Sports Complex’s large grassy area. A huge tent was erected with folding chairs underneath to provide shade and breezes during the sunny afternoon, and it got plenty of use. There were also traditional ramadas that were built for the occasion, providing additional shade and comfort for families that brought their own chairs and gear.
Several Soboba departments shared resources with visitors. Members of the Soboba Foundation, Tribal Council and Tribal Executive Offices joined together to offer lots of reasons for guests to stop by their booths. Representatives and volunteers with the Soboba Foundation gave every guest a free Maui rolling cooler that is perfect for picnics, tailgate parties, hiking or a day at the beach, just in time for summer.
A Tribal member-only raffle, giving away two Soboba-branded easy-up canopies, was sponsored by Tribal Council, who also provided frozen treats to those wanting to cool off with ice cream or popsicles. Tribal Council also encouraged Tribal members to scan QR codes to participate in a Luiseño Language Assessment, a Septic System Questionnaire for Soboba residents and an opportunity to sign up for Korbyt, the Tribe’s newest notification system.
Christian Aceves, Soboba Tribal Environmental Department Director, shared a demonstration of watershed and what his department is doing on the Soboba Indian Reservation to keep pollution out of its waterways. The most ambitious project is determining riparian zones where plants can be situated near roadways and other areas where runoff is common. “What happens upstream, happens downstream,” he said, adding that runoff after rainfall is how harmful items on solid ground find their way into water sources.
The Soboba Reservation riparian areas include many native species only found in this general area of the United States. STED, with the help of the Soboba Public Works Department , was able to plant more than 80 native species recommended by Soboba’s Cultural Resource Department, which included Coast Live Oak, California Scrub Oak, Western Sycamore, Sugar Bush and Red Willow. Riparian areas supply food, cover and water for a large variety of animals.
Soboba’s Public Safety, T.A.N.F., Family Services, Legacy Bank and Fire Department all offered information and fun freebies. Mikayla Mendoza, Emergency Services Coordinator, will be working with the Tribal Emergency Response Commission (TERC) and the Soboba Fire Department to present the next Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) basic training class, June 2-4. The course is being offered to Tribal members, reservation residents and Soboba employees at no cost.
The pool and splash pad were open for those that wanted to enjoy the water and the playground was filled with energetic children who wanted to climb and swing. Both baseball fields were open to host six teams playing co-ed one-pitch softball. In an early game won by team Beernuts, the fast action resulted in the required seven innings being completed in less than 20 minutes.
Steve Lopez, Assistant Director of the Sports Complex, oversaw the horseshoe tournament that promised more than $2,000 in payouts to the best players, making for some very competitive games.
Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians