Wildcat fever catching again

Clovis’ D&D Family Furniture is among many businesses with signs supporting the Clovis Wildcats. Photo by Eric Kluth.

By Darrell Todd Maurina

The Clovis Wildcats will play their first football game of the school year on Friday, but Roger Jackson of Ideal Auto Sales didn’t have to do anything to get ready for the season. His “Go Wildcats” sign is up year-round outside his business on Commerce Way.
“I put this sign up when I opened three years ago and I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the sign,” Jackson said. “I just put it up as a supporter of hometown sports. Athletics is a big part of academic success.”
A season-ticket holder, Jackson said he will be sure to attend Friday’s game in Las Cruces and urged other Clovis residents to turn out as well.
“I think athletics helps keep kids out of trouble, or at least it did me,” Jackson said.
Debbie Feltner, manager of Sparkle Cleaners, said she is glad to work for a business that supports Clovis athletics. The cleaners has a lighted Wildcats sign in the window. Her son, Shea Chase, will play in Friday’s game and she said that as a mother she wants everyone to turn out to support the home team.
“I go to every single game, I paint my face, I wear purple shirts on Friday, and I have purple all over my house,” Feltner said. “They are all wonderful players and we need to support them.”
While he doesn’t have his own children in sports, Steve DeLeon, owner of Sports Angle, said he reminds parents that being a Wildcat is more than football.
“I sell the merchandise,” DeLeon said. “My kids are in high school, they are not football types but my son is in the band and I go to support it.”
Although his business caters primarily to professional sports aficionados, DeLeon has a sign outside supporting the Wildcats and said he tries to sell some less-common Wildcat merchandise such as items saying “Wildcat Mom.”
“We have about 100 customers per year for Wildcat items,” DeLeon said. “I focus on overall sports, but I do support the Wildcats too.”
Wildcat items are a bigger part of the business at Design-a-Tee, whose owner, Mike Harris, said he’s been selling Wildcat merchandise since he opened 15 years ago. The store has T-shirts in stock now, but expects to get more items within a week.
“By the time they have the first home game (Sept. 12), we’ll have hats, jackets, and everything else, also sweatshirts,” Harris said.
Harris said his store sells about 200 to 300 Wildcat sports items each year.