EAGLE NEST, N.M. (KRQE) – As David Letterman hosts his last late-night show, we look back at some of New Mexico’s most memorable moments and mentions on the talk show over the years.
From celebrities to politicians and from locals to business moguls, New Mexico has come up on the stage in New York throughout the 33 years of The Late Show with David Letterman, and the crew from New York has come over to New Mexico.
“I visited Eagle Nest, New Mexico where 306 lucky residents enjoy a little slice of paradise more than 8,000 feet above sea level,” said the narration to the Letterman segment, Biff Henderson’s America.
Henderson was Letterman’s stage manager who visited in 2005 although Eagle Nest residents weren’t quite sure why.
“Everyone asked them that question,” said Bert Clemons of Eagle Nest. “We think it may be because of the fishing contest that we have annually and the worm-eating [contest] at the conclusion.”
“I understand you have a claim to fame?” Henderson asked an Eagle Nest resident in the segment.
“I am now the championship worm eater,” laughed Jamie McCaslin in 2005.
KRQE News 13 caught up with McCaslin on Wednesday.
“It was a great experience, such a neat opportunity,” she said. “First time I ate worms, but grew up with the fish fest. The worm-eating contest was a big draw for the fish fest.”
While Henderson visited, owner of the historic Laguna Vista Lodge, Bert Clemens, got to show him around.
“Well, our days started about 7 in the morning and it ended at happy hour,” Clemens said.
He said Henderson stayed for about a week, but the RV Henderson came in and stayed for months.
“When [Henderson] took it to the gas station to fill it up, he put diesel in it and it was a gasoline engine so it had to be towed away,” Clemens said.
Henderson explained it a little differently on the segment.
“At eight miles per gallon, there was no way I was driving that Winnebago back to New York,” Henderson said as he drove off on a golf cart.
Clemens said that after the segment aired, so many people were looking them up online that the Laguna Vista Lodge website crashed.