Pioneer Days adds moto-cross event

CNJ file photo: Andy Delisle The Curry County Mounted Patrol ride horses at the Pioneer Days Parade on Main Street.

By Keely McDowell: CNJ staff writer

The annual Pioneer Days will be a fusion of traditional events and new entertainment.

The event was started before World War II to give people in the Clovis area a time to get together and celebrate, according to Wilma Fulgham, an organizer for Pioneer Days. She said in those days most of the county’s population lived in remote areas.

The June celebration was revived in 1971 after being interrupted by World War II.

“It was started to be an annual celebration, kind of like a fair in a way, with a parade and other activities. Then the rodeo, which is now the 38th annual PRCA Rodeo, was started in 1971. It revived Pioneer Days after World War II put everything on hold,” Fulgham said.

The Pioneer Days celebration, which starts in earnest Monday and runs through June 7, has changed over the years and added new events. This year is no different.

In addition to Pioneer Days staples such as the PRCA rodeo (June 5-7) and the parade, FMX moto-cross was added this year.

“This year we will also have a specialty act, FMX Motorcycle Cross, which is really exciting,” said Richard Hadley, rodeo chairman for the last 20 years.

The moto-cross will be held after the rodeo, which has more than 350 entries, according to Hadley, including World Champion Trevor Brazile.

Col. Tim Leahy, 27th Special Operations wing commander at Cannon Air Force Base, will serve as the parade marshal.

“We get around 6,000 spectators to the rodeo over the three nights, but it is typically a community celebration,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. “It is Clovis and Curry County’s special way to kick off the summer and celebrate the pioneers who built the community,”