By WIlliam P. Thompson
The 56th annual Floyd Country Jamboree began Thursday evening with a young cowgirl singing the “Star Spangled Banner,” then came rope-trick artist, “Wild Bill” Cathey followed by a string of 26 country music singers and musicians performing song after song after song.
And that was just opening night.
Charlie Buzard attended the first Floyd Country Jamboree 56 years ago. Shortly after the show began last night, he said he was planning on staying until 10 p.m. and coming back again this weekend.
”The sound is better this year,” Buzard said. “Back at the first jamboree people sang songs by Minnie Pearl and Homer and Jethro,” Buzard said. “Now the performers sing their own songs.”
J.D. Rogers is trying to make it in the country music business before he becomes a full-time engineer with BNSF Railroad out of Clovis. Rogers, who has traveled to Nashville seeking recognition, sang a self-penned tune, “Dancehall Dr.” before a Thursday-night jamboree crowd of about 350.
”It was great,” he said. “It’s a great feeling being back in Floyd. I practiced with the house band for two to three weeks.”
Connie Sumpter moved to the Portales area from a larger town in California.
“The people here are closer than they were in California,” Sumpter said. “This is great. I’m not a big fan of country music but this is really good.”
Catherine Griffin also moved to the area from elsewhere. She said she liked her first-ever Floyd Country jamboree.
“It’s just a bunch of real people enjoying some good music,” she said.
Cathey, who drove up from Dora, will be performing his rope tricks at the jamboree twice each evening Friday and Saturday. He summed up the jamboree.
“I think it’s really good family entertainment to raise money for really good causes,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to be a part of it.”
The causes Cathey referred to are various charitable causes which much of the jamboree proceeds will go to. The Floyd Lions Club sponsors the event and donates jamboree proceeds to everything from purchasing eyeglasses for needy children to helping families who have been burned out of their homes.