By Tony Parra
The 54th Annual Floyd Lions Country Jamboree swings into action at 7 p.m. on Thursday with a traditional (older) country music show in the Floyd old gymnasium.
“It’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest country and western music festivals in the United States,” Noel Rippee, program director, said. “There are three big nights of music. A lot of old-timers come back and we have a lot of real good talent.”
Dave Nash, who has lived most of his life in Floyd, will be the MC for the event. He said the program will last about three hours each night.
Rippee expects 40 acts for each night. Nash, who is a fourth-generation resident of Floyd, said some of the examples of traditional country are Johnny Cash and George Jones.
“I’ve got pretty deep roots here,” Nash said. “I attended the Floyd Jamboree while I was going through the Floyd school system. It’s good clean fun for the family. People can bring their kids.”
Rippee moved to Floyd in 1983. Rippee saw his son, Chek Rippee, grow through the Floyd Country Jamboree. He said he taught his son to play the mandolin and fiddle. “He started playing the fiddle when he was 8 years old,” Noel said. “He’s living in Nashville trying to pursue a career in music.”
There will be traditional and newer country music along with cowboy poetry and comedy, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nash said the newer country music would be more like songs done by Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
“People come from all around the area,” Noel said. “It’s a money-making event for the Floyd Lions Club. It brings in money to the community and helps out with good causes. People come from Lubbock for the love of music.”
There will be a Gospel Music Show at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The Floyd Lions Club is sponsoring the New Mexico Lions Eye Foundation, which will be conducting free eye screening for school-age children and up. People can bring donations, such as eye glasses, frames and parts to be refurbished and given to those who need them.
“Our community goes way out,” Nash said. “It goes 100 miles out. People from Clovis, Portales can come and be a part of the Floyd community. We’re a pretty tight-knit community. You can be yourself here.”