The historic event of Bean Day began in 1910 when Higinio Gonzalez and his crew cooked up a pot of beans in wash boilers behind the school house for what was then called the “Mora County Farmers Harvest Jubilee”. The following year, the name “Bean Day” was born to honor the crop that was once staple of the local farming economy. In those days, Wagon Mound was a major center for the production of pinto beans.

Although few pinto beans are grown in the area these days, the tradition continues as an enjoyable family oriented celebration.

Presently, the event kicks off Friday evening at the Wagon Mound Firehouse with a bean-cleaning party to remove rocks and dirt from the dried beans hauled down from Colorado. The 300 lbs. of beans and 800 lbs. of meat are cooked under the ground in a pit that has been dug at the rodeo grounds. The pit is filled with wood and charcoal and burned all afternoon. At dusk, the beef and beans are placed in the pit, supports and metal are placed over the pit and covered with dirt. In the morning, the pit is uncovered, the temperature of the meat is checked, the feast unearthed and taken to the village park for a free giant outdoor meal of 1,500 or more meals.10

The photos of Higinio Gonzalez were contributed by Mary Torrez 
and Fr. Masseo J. Gonzales. More about Higinio here.