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FARMINGTON — Farmington officials are challenging youth from fifth grade to grade 12 to create the best two-dimensional image of the Bisti Beast.

“They need to come up with an original piece of artwork that represents the Bisti Beast,” said Christa Chapman, spokeswoman for Farmington's Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs department.

Once completed, the artwork must be postmarked by April 5. Contestants should mail the artwork or drop it off at the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs office, 901 Fairgrounds Road, Farmington NM 87401 or at Farmington Museum and Visitors Center, 3041 E. Main St. Farmington, NM 87402.

Chapman said the city is looking for a friendly and fun depiction of the dinosaur that could potentially be the new mascot for the Bisti Bay at Brookside Park water park, which is scheduled to open in June.

Contest applications were handed out in schools and can be found at fmtn.org or at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St.

There will be winners in the four age categories as well as a grand prize winner. The top pieces will be displayed at the museum.

The age category winners will also receive free day passes to Bisti Bay and the grand prize winner will receive an annual pass for their family. The grand prize winner will also have the chance to be the first person in the water park on opening day.

What is the Bisti Beast?

About 74 million years ago, a 30-foot tall dinosaur similar to Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the coastal swamps near Farmington. This dinosaur is now known colloquially as the Bisti Beast. Its name references the location where its fossil was first discovered in 1997 — the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.

The area has changed a lot since the Bisti Beast hunted in the swamps. Petrified wood dots the desert badlands today.

What is the Bisti Bay at Brookside Park?

The Bisti Bay Water Park is currently being constructed at Brookside Park, where the Brookside Pool was previously located. While initial plans called for naming the water park Brookside Water Park, the Farmington City Council changed the name in October as a way of emphasizing the unique Bisti Badlands located about 30 miles from the city.

“We’re really excited about the new facility and what it’s going to bring to the community,” Chapman said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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