Truth or Consequences (T or C) is a city in and the county seat of Sierra County, New Mexico, United States. In 2010, the population was 6,475. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names. The first bath in the area was built at “John Cross Ranch” over Geronimo Springs in the late 1800s. However, major settlement did not begin until the construction of Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1912; the dam was completed in 1916. Elephant Butte Dam was a part of the Rio Grande Project, an early large-scale irrigation effort authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902. In 1916, the town was incorporated as Hot Springs. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937. By the late 1930s, Hot Springs was filled with 40 different natural hot springs spas—one spa for every 75 residents at the time.
Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to “Truth or Consequences”, the title of a popular NBC Radio program.[when?] In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the program was broadcast from there the following evening. Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next 50 years. This event was called “Fiesta” and included a beauty contest, a parade, and a stage show. The city still celebrates Fiesta each year during the first weekend of May. The parade generally features area celebrities such as the Hatch Chile Queen. Fiesta also features a dance in Ralph Edwards Park.
Before World War II, there were about 40 hot springs spas in Truth or Consequences. By 2008, the Hot Springs Association in Truth or Consequences had 10 spa facilities as members. Five of those obtained their water from wells, and La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa (formerly Marshall Hot Springs), Riverbend Hot Springs, Indian Springs Bath House, Artesian Bath house and Hay-Yo-Kay Hot Springs are from free-flowing hot springs.