Officially a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, Picketwire Players are governed by a 12-member board of directors elected to staggered three-year terms at the annual membership meeting. There are no membership dues. Bylaws specify the only requirement for membership is “willingness to work.” Anyone whose name has appeared in a program of a Picketwire Players production during the preceding three years is considered to be an “active” member, eligible to vote.
"WHEREAS, there being a group of individuals desiring to produce, direct, act and otherwise participate in a theater group, we do hereby organize and establish ourselves as the Picketwire Players."
— Bylaws adopted April 16, 1968
Seven La Juntans drafted the first bylaws in 1968. They surely didn’t anticipate all that has followed over almost 40 years of community theater.
"Laura of the Shadows" June 27-29, 1968 was a melodrama (with olio). A company of 50 under direction of Mickie Miller and oversight of Picketwire's first president, the Rev. Will Bingham, performed in the La Junta High School auditorium.
From April 1968 through July 2012:
• 15 presidents
• 36 different directors
• 126 productions
• 489 performances
• 1,756 participants
"In March 1977, good friends offered to help organize the Picketwire Patrons of the Theater … The objective of the Patrons is to give financial and moral support to the Picketwire Players... Patron donations will be used to make Picketwire Center a better, more attractive and more usable community center for everyone!"
— “program notes, June 1977
Minimum tax deductible donation to become a Bronze Level Patron is $20 to $49. The Silver Level Patron is $50 to $99, Gold Level is $100 to $249, Diamond Level is $250 to $499 and the Platinum Level Patron is $500 dollars and over. The most recent Patron list can be seen by clicking the "Our Loyal Patrons" tab at the upper left corner off each web page.
In addition to program listing, Patrons always receive advanced notice of productions and are always offered first choice of reserved seat locations. Contact the box office (384-8320) for information about becoming a Patron.
"In total over $50,000 has been invested in the Picketwire Center. Heating system repairs, plumbing system repairs, lighting repairs, roof repairs, new stage lighting and extension to the old stage, a new orchestra pit, a new costume storage-dressing room under the stage, remodeling of the old classroom into a Patrons' Lounge — the list goes on and on. "Businesses, organization, individuals ... have always seemed to be there when help was needed … the creation of a Center for Performing and Visual Arts has been truly a community accomplishment."
— program notes, December 1976
In late 1975. East Otero R-1 (La Junta) school board first agreed to lease ($1 per year), then approved selling (10-year note for $5,000) an abandoned school auditorium on the corner of Eighth and San Juan in La Junta. Agreement stipulates the building with all improvements reverts back to the school district should the theater organization ever become defunct. (Paid off "mortgage" was ceremoniously burned, on stage, in December 1986.)
It took a full year of hard work by volunteers, two Centennial-Bicentennial year grants, special events by La Junta Lions and Rotary clubs and the Picketwire Players’ own “community auction” to bring new life to a 40-year-old old structure.
Major investments since include:
• 1980, $28 thousand for new 394 red upholstered professional theater seats. Each of the 394 has a donor identification tag on its armrest.
• 1999, $25 thousand for new metal galvatile roof. It took three years of community support before the Picketwire Players were debt free.
• 2003, $10.5 thousand for "Big Red Barn" (just off the alley south of the Center) providing on-site storage of flats, furniture and props.
Thirty years of Picketwire Players ownership has resulted in total capital outlay well over $150,000. Were all incidental improvements accounted for precisely, community investment in its community theater facility could easily be approaching a quarter million dollars.