Belen woman’s poem to be recorded by actor

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A Belen woman who won second place for her poem in an international writing competition will have it recorded by a veteran western actor.

Marianne Rittner-Holmes, a freelance writer and volunteer EMT, entered her poem, “The Men from Chaparral,” and was notified recently that it had been chosen as the second-place winner. It will be recorded on DVD by actor Don Collier.

Submitted photo: Actor Don Collier, left, will read and record a poem by Belen resident Marianne Rittner-Holmes, right, who won second place for her poem in an international writing competition.

The contest was sponsored by The High Chaparral Reunion, a nonprofit group that has been organizing reunions of cast, crew and fans of the TV western of the same name for the past 11 years. The show aired on NBC from 1967 to 1971.

Rittner-Holmes attended the reunion in Tucson in March and met Collier, who played ranch foreman Sam Butler in the series. She also met Henry Darrow, who played Manolito Montoya, and Rudy Ramos, who played the character, Wind, in the show’s final season.

“I have been a lifelong fan of ‘The High Chaparral,’” Rittner-Holmes said. “The show was fictional, but it taught a lot of moral lessons that still hold true. Things like loyalty, justice and courage to do the right thing even when it’s not popular.

“I don’t usually run around the countryside chasing movie stars, but I attended because I had a personal setback, a betrayal by a close friend. It made me question a lot of things. I went to be around other people who also believed in the importance of character and integrity. I was not disappointed.”

Rittner-Holmes entered and her poem was chosen by Collier as the second-place winner. He will record the top three works on DVD, which will go on sale later this year.