Floyd County Jamboree set for 55th go-round

By Tony Parra: PNT staff writer

Musicians of all ages from eastern New Mexico will be getting out fiddles, guitars and other instruments for the 55th Annual Floyd Lions Club Country Jamboree this week.

The Floyd Country Jamboree will take place over a four-day span beginning with the first show at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The shows on Friday and Saturday will also begin at 7 p.m., with $5 admission for each show.

The Jamboree will end on Sunday with the show beginning at 2 p.m. and admission is free.

There will be country music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The event will feature a gospel jamboree on Sunday.

Noel Rippee, program director, said he’s been involved in one way or another with the jamboree since 1983. He said his son Chek Rippee used to play the fiddle at the jamboree when he was eight years old. Rippee said he saw his son grow up through the jamboree.

“There is a good variety of performers,” Rippee said. “It’s good clean fun. There are some people who come every year and there are others who want to go to it for the first time because they’ve heard good things.”

Tryouts for the Floyd Country Jamboree took place on Jan. 23 in the old Floyd High School Gym.

Lee said there are performers from eastern New Mexico who will play instruments and sing at the jamboree. The Floyd Country Jamboree is sponsored by the Floyd Lions Club, which has 23 members, according to Floyd Lions’ Club President Houston Lee.

“There are a several reasons people come to the show,” Rippee said. “People like the variety of performers. It’s a tradition and the Floyd Lions Club is sponsoring it for a good cause.”

Rippee said each year he sees new people in attendance at the Jamboree. Dave Nash will be the Jamboree emcee again this year.

The Floyd Lions’ Club members were able to raise $3,400 over the four-day event last year during the Jamboree, according to Lee. Lee estimated an average of 400 people attended each night’s events last year.

The Floyd Lions Club sponsors the New Mexico Lions Eye Foundation, which conducts free eye screening for school-age children and up. The Floyd Lions Club helps with scholarship funds, money prizes for essays, scholarships for Floyd High School seniors, Boys’ State and Girls’ State.

“The Floyd Lions started the Jamboree in 1950 to help the school buy basketball uniforms,” Lee said. “They have continued the show helping the school and community in many different ways.”

According to Lee, the Floyd Lions Club donates to families who have had houses damaged in fires or had medical bills, and helps pay the water bill for the Floyd Community Center.

The Floyd Citizen of the Year will be recognized at half-time of the show on Saturday night.