Front, Sandoval County Sheriff Jesse James Casaus gets a haircut from barber John Carillo, while barber Rio Lucero serves another customer in the background June 26 at 66 Cuts Rio. Carl Knauf photo.

After cutting hair for five years, Jayla Ortiz now gets to showcase her barber skills in her own shop — and a do little more.
Ortiz and her cousin, Eric Rivera, officially opened 66 Cuts Rio on June 1. The barber’s loyal customers followed her to her new digs, and the clientele has grown in just a few weeks.
“We’re trying to stay community-based and affordable for families,” Ortiz said.
On June 26, Rio Ranchoans attended an eventful ribbon-cutting ceremony. It featured music courtesy of Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Castañeda, inflatable bouncers for children, a display of colorful custom motorcycles and tacos from Sanchez Tacos food truck. Presbyterian Medical Services Early Head Start also handed out information.
Rivera, who owns Pascetti Steel Design, has roots in Rio Rancho. He’s not only a resident, but his wife, Anita M. Sanchez, is also a local attorney.
“We wanted to drive people in to meet us,” Rivera said. “More than anything, we wanted to get to know the community.”
Mayor Gregg Hull and Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Schalow introduced Ortiz and Rivera, and they snipped the ceremonial ribbon for their grand opening. Haircuts were given at a discount all day.
Ortiz, a world boxing champion, was also congratulated by the late boxer Johnny Tapia’s wife, Teresa, and their son, Johnny Tapia Jr., who attended.
“I’m very excited,” Ortiz said, “especially with everyone that showed up. It was awesome.”

Foreground, from left, Mayor Gregg Hull notes the cutting of the ribbon by 66 Cuts Rio owners Eric Rivera and Jayla Ortiz at the barber shop’s grand opening celebration June 26. Carl Knauf photo.

Although a slew of competition is in Rio Rancho, Ortiz and Rivera plan to be more than a typical barber shop.
The cousins plan to soon offer beauty services in the connecting suite. From beard- shaping to facials to first haircuts, men, women and children are all welcome.
“I love doing barbering; it’s like an art,” Ortiz shared. “Once you get into that haircut, you’re in that moment.”
66 Cuts Rio is at 224 Unser Blvd., just south of Abrazo Road. The shop is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s closed on Wednesdays.