Jamboree draws young and old

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Amy Carter of Portales opened up the 60th Floyd Jamboree with “Thanks A Lot.” This was her sixth year to perform at the jamboree.

By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico

Young and old came out for music and a special anniversary for the Floyd Lions Club Country Jamboree.

Among many guests for the event’s 60th year was Rebecca Lawson.

She started performing in the jamboree in 1973 but moved to Oregon for a job three years later

“When I left for the first time, I missed it so bad,” said Lawson, who returned to the area in 1986. “I hated to leave because I knew it was coming up.

“We’re a hard group to beat, (we) really are. I think the jamboree is every bit of a family as the Grand Ole Opry.”

The jamboree runs through Sunday.

It started in 1950 as a way to raise money for boys basketball uniforms and tradition took over. It’s still going as of Friday, when Panny Bigler — the Lions Club’s oldest member — blew out the candles on a 60-year cake.

The Lions Club now uses the proceeds for college scholarships, vision tests and glasses for children, Floyd Community Center utility bills and aid to Floyd families in times of need.

But the draw is still the music.

“I enjoy the different music and different instruments,” said Brenda Faith, who has been attending since her parents brought her more than 40 years ago. “I think it is really cool that they have been doing this for that long.”

Keane Brown, 15, has been playing in the jamboree since he was 8. Brown sings, and plays the fiddle and a homemade double-neck guitar.

“I am very excited about it,” Brown said about the event. “It is a pretty neat tradition for such a small community like Floyd to have something that has been going on for such a long time.”