Youthful performers take spotlight at jamboree opening night

The Floyd Lions Jamboree may be an old tradition but there was no shortage of younger generations Thursday at opening night for the show's 62nd annual performance.

Along with young local performers who are native to the show, there were also two young newcomers.

Portales native Theta Ainsworth, 19, attends South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, with her two best friends, Karleigh Porterfield and Alleigh Ory.

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Portales native Theta Ainsworth, center, sang "Hell on Heels" Thursday at the jamboree with her two best friends, Alleigh Ory, left, and Karleigh Porterfield. Ainsworth, who has performed at the show the last nine years, asked her friends to come from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, to sing with her. The jamboree continues today until Sunday.

"She said the whole community comes together and we thought it would be a great opportunity," said Porterfield, who, along with Ory, was asked to attend by Ainsworth.

Ainsworth has performed in the jamboree for nine years and sings with Porterfield in an ensemble called Thursday Night Live.

"I think it's really fun to see the whole community show up," Porterfield said of her first jamboree experience. "The band is great. The entertainment is wonderful. It's just really neat."

"I think it would be really fun if we could dance," Ory added with Porterfield nodding in agreement.

Another young jamboree native in attendance was 23-year-old Will Banister, who began singing in the jamboree at 11 years old.

Alisa Boswell:Portales News-Tribune

Will Banister, left, sings Thursday at the Floyd Lions Jamboree onopening night as Chek Rippee backs him up.Banister, who just returned from a music tour inEngland, said no matter where his career takes him, he will always want to come back to the jamboree.

"It was the first big kind of concert I had done," Banister said. "This is kind of where I got started. It's a big part of my music."

Banister, who just returned from opening for country music superstar Reba McEntire for a show in London, England, said that no matter where his career takes him, he will always want to return to the jamboree.

"I really enjoy the people and the music and the audience," Banister said.

Along with the younger performers of the night, younger audience members also had an appreciation for the music and the people.

Floyd High School student Tessa Nall, 16, listened to the show as she helped her mother sell food and drinks at the snack bar.

"The people are really nice and they enjoy coming to hear the music," she said.

Master of Ceremonies Dave Nash said he thinks the variety of ages and music is part of what makes the jamboree such a unique and enjoyable concert.

"It's homegrown people. It's part of their life," Nash said. "They grow up with it and they love it."

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