By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer
Not even a tornado could keep people away from the annual Floyd Country Jamboree last year, but attendance was noticeably down in 2007 when twisters struck Curry, Roosevelt and Quay counties on March 23.
Last year’s jamboree ran from March 21-25, with the tornadoes striking on the Friday night of the jamboree.
The 58th annual Floyd Country Jamboree kicks off on Thursday with a slate of 23 acts, comprised mostly of returning performers, but with a few new ones as well. Dave Nash will be the returning master of ceremonies.
The “Grand Ole Opry of the High Plains,” sponsored by the Floyd Lions Club, will devote Thursday to traditional country. Other nights will include a mix of traditional and contemporary country. The Sunday afternoon show will be devoted to gospel music. In addition, the night-long slate of back-to-back, live entertainment will include on-stage humor, storytelling by Aulton Rose on Thursday night and cowboy poet Jimmy Joe Jester.
Recognition of Floyd’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year will be during the intermission on Saturday night. In addition, there will be a concession stand throughout the four nights and an enchilada dinner prior to the Friday night show, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at a cost of $5 a plate.
Fred Patterson, the secretary for the Floyd Lions Club and director of the show, said new acts auditioned in January while returning acts were invited back, some, with a little coaxing. “We twist their arms to keep them coming back because they are a good addition to the show,” Patterson said.
Among the new acts are Krystal Williams, Allison Ebel and Kira Mullins. As for the house band, it is mostly made up of returning members.
“Linda Brown actually started singing with the show when she was a kid and has been in the house band a good while,” Patterson said. He also noted that Ronnie Fouts, an accountant by trade and a keyboarder on stage, has been associated with the jamboree since the 1960s.
A returning act, the Foley sisters, are the only group bringing their own instruments. They are comprised of Courtney, Hillary and Jordan Foley. Patterson said, “The Foley sisters have a little, three-piece bluegrass band and they’ve played at churches. This will be their second year in the show.”
This will be the eighth year that one act, Will Banister, has been with the Floyd Jamboree. Banister, who plans to belt out some “Honky Tonk” tunes by Merle Haggard, said, “I like the traditional oldies, or classic country, as I call it. I like both performing in and watching the Floyd Jamboree.”
Banister, who went to school in Floyd, said he grew up watching the jamboree and always wanted to be a part of the on-stage show. “I finally did it one year and now I think I will continue to be a returning act year after year,” he said.
With proceeds from the jamboree, the Floyd Lions Club:
• Provides three $1,000 scholarships to Floyd seniors each year
• Pays the water bill for the Floyd Community Center
• Provides eye glasses for students in need in all three Roosevelt County school districts
• Sponsors sports teams in community youth programs
• Supports student trips for state, national and international experiences
• Provides assistance to community members who’ve experienced medical or other catastrophes
• Purchases equipment used in Floyd Schools and community activities
• Awards musical instruments to students