Annual Floyd Jamboree marking 60th anniversary

Cannon Connections photo: Clarence Plank Chek Rippee rehearses a song on the fiddle Sunday with the Floyd Jamboree Band. Rippee is a regular in the annual jamboree.

By Clarence Plank: Cannon Connections

The annual Floyd Lions Club Country Jamboree celebrates 60 years of music Thursday through Sunday at the high school gym.

It’s a major fundraiser for the Lions Club, a group that supports children needing glasses in rural communities, provides scholarships and contributes toward many other community needs.

Jamboree program Director Fred Patterson said there have been some minor glitches this year.

“We’ve had a lot of people who couldn’t be at the rehearsals,” said Patterson, “but things have been coming together and it is going to be a great show.

“We’ve got four new people and we got some people back that have been on the show in years past that haven’t been able to be on in a while,” Patterson said. “They’re really outstanding performers and we’re excited about that, too.”

The Lions started the jamboree to raise money for school basketball uniforms and the tradition of putting proceeds back into the community has continued for six decades. Master of Ceremonies Dave Nash said he thinks the jamboree is one of the oldest amateur country music shows in the nation.

Money raised goes toward the New Mexico Lions Eye Foundation, which conducts free eye screening for school children.

“This is a Lions Club event and they have sponsored this event since the beginning,” said Dave Nash. “Everything we make at the door goes to a lot of different things. One of the Lions Club ethics is in vision, so we give away a lot of glasses, but just not in Floyd, but in Dora, Elida and different places where children need glasses.”

More than 30 performers will take the stage, including the Floyd Jamboree Band.

The Floyd Lions Club grants scholarships each year to Floyd High School seniors and gives money to families whose homes are damaged by fire or have trouble paying medical bills. They also pay the water bill for the Floyd Community Center and are involved in Boys State and Girls State.

The Floyd Lions also sponsor an essay contest for students in the region and three students are selected to win a guitar, mandolin or a fiddle that will be awarded during the jamboree.