City celebrated in style for 50th anniversary

By Don McAlavy

Here’s how the Chamber of Commerce announced plans for the 50th birthday celebration of Clovis:

“Three nights and two days will be jam-packed with action for the thousands of visitors and old-timers expected to throng the streets of Clovis, June 6, 7, 8, 1957.”

This is how the action stacked up:
June 3 — June Dairy Month Banquet. Selection of Anniversary Queen.

June 6 —First Rodeo Performance.

June 7 — Civil Air Patrol fly-in breakfast; arrival of Cyrus K. Holliday Engine with Santa Fe Railroad officials; parade; luncheon; variety show featuring the Commodores, Ray Price, Van Howard and others; a static display of relics, photographs, and other items of interest of the early days of Clovis; old-fashioned style review; a silver tea; a free barbecue and concert; a cow-milking contest; second rodeo performance; two free street dances.

June 8 — Civil Air Patrol fly-in breakfast; kids parade; box to be buried on City Hall lawn to be opened in 2007; beard judging; fiddlers contest; basket lunch; old-timers visit; concert variety show; another performance with the Commodores, Ray Price, and Van Howard; Cannon Air Force Base dedication with Gen. Otto P. Weyland and his guests; fiddlers contest; third rodeo performance baseball game between the Clovis Redlegs and Ballinger Westerners at Bell Park; two more free street dances.

The general chairman of the 50th anniversary of Clovis was Bill Duckworth. He had the Chamber of Commerce to back him up and he said the celebration would have fallen apart without the Chamber’s manpower and finances.

Duckworth, a drugstore owner, came to Clovis in 1910 and was elected the state’s lieutenant governor in 1921. He, newspaperman Jack Hull and railroader-historian Tom Pendergrass put the souvenir booklet together and furnished a lot of copy for the Clovis News Journal on the old days from 1907 to 1957.

Dr. A. L. Dillon even wrote a special poem for the occasion.
The last stanza of Dillon’s special poem:

“So let’s have a big celebration, and when the Fiesta is O’er, Again with ardor and fervor, Build on for fifty years more.”
He called his poem “Golden Jubilee.”

I hear that Mayor David Lansford is developing a 100th anniversary committee for 2007. Starting this early is a good sign and it means gears are moving.

A good sign too is that plans are jelling for a much-needed Clovis/Curry County Museum. It can play a big role in creating interest in Clovis and its history for visitors and our citizens in light of the coming centennial.

Starting right now, we should all be thinking of collecting artifacts and historical displays for a museum that might be opening before this year is out. Nearly everyone has an heirloom or an old Clovis item — old relics, old photos, etc. — that will create interest for visitors.

Clovis is what this is all about. Your name could be put next to these wonderful souvenirs. Just think how proud you’d be, seeing these treasures on display for Clovis.

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: