“Let’s Talk Clovis” – July 4th, 1982, The Clovis Way

By Peg Bos, Clovis Museum

We are reviewing Clovis’ Independence Day Celebration, which was held at the Clovis High football field in 1982. The joint powers of Clovis welcomed the audience: Wayne Rohde, Chair of Clovis Memorial District, Harry Armstrong, Mayor of Clovis and John Coffman, Chair of the Clovis Unified School District.

It was the eighth annual festival, “Dedicated to the founding fathers of our country and to the resolve that we will not forget their sacrifices; that we appreciate their giving us the rights as American to life, liberty and opportunity.”

It was noted that all committee members were volunteers, all entertainers were volunteers, all the workers were volunteers and that the Spirit of “76” still works.

Gene Bassett was Chair & Director of the committee, Elvey and Gerrie Perkins were Vice-Chairs, Carol Riley-Morrhead was Secretary and Travis Nishi was Treasurer. Voting members were: Ed Carter, H. Bruce Dockum, Bob Neal, Mike Odoherty, Dr. Thomas Crow, Gene Shimizu, Carolyn Noble, Ole Mathiaseen, Carol Gates, Jere and Linda McCoy.

The local, live entertainment began at 6:00 pm. Robert E. “Red Dog” Walker (KFRY Country Stereo FM) was Master of Ceremony, introducing the of guests of honor: an agricultural group from Australia.

The Clovis High School Jazz Band was directed by John Carnahan. It was their final performance before flying to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The audience was promised a “hoppin’jazz session”.

The Double Gage Band (twins, Jack & Jim Gage) provided real country western music. It was their eighth performance for this event. They began playing at “Jim’s Place” in 1964. Their first singing job ($20 each) was for Tommy Forrester at the DeMarque. They played a show with Willie Nelson, who was wearing a suit and tie and not his present western attire.

Chris and Jeannie Terrence sang Folk Songs. Carol Riley-Moorhead led the patriotic Sing-Along songs: “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “Grand Old Flag”. “This Land is your Land”, “This is my Country”, “America the Beautiful”, “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America”.

There was a special request by the Carnegie Library Committee to attend their 2nd annual Clovis Carnegie B.B.Q. & Dance on August 21s. The committee (volunteer labor and funds) was restoring the 1914 library (321 Pollasky). A donation of $15 included a steak dinner and dancing with the “big band” sound of the Al Harkins Orchestra. The Clovis Kiwanis and Clovis Lions cosponsored the event.

A few of the businesses that sponsored the event: Clovis Printing Company, 640 Fourth; Clovis Realty (Cecil Hill), 421 Pollasky; Clovis Community Bank, 430 Pollasky; Osterberg’s Mercantile, 460 Clovis Ave.; Better Life Foods, 640 Fourth street; Farmers Insurance group ( Sam Sandoval), 1330 Clovis Ave.; Monroe’s Full Service gas station, 701 Clovis Ave,; Van Dykes Estates, “Homes for Quality Living”; Rodeo Drug (David Fung), 460 Pollasky; Belle Quinn’s Dress Shop, 433 Pollasky; Rohde Shoes, 536 5th Street and The Covey (Chris Whitteaker) Sierra & Peach, (“Clovis’ fastest growing neighborhood”).

The fireworks program ($6,000) boasted 800 aerial shells & bombs (safe & sane). “Excess monies are donated for City Playground equipment or multi-purpose Civic Projects at the recommendation of the Independence Day Committee.”

The City of Clovis’ field services sponsorship ad listed: Elvey (Perkins), Don, Joel, Manuel, Tom, Bob, Franck, Ronnie and Brandi. City of Clovis Building inspection division ad: Gary, Fred, Dave, Marvin & Mike. The population of Clovis in 1982 was approximately 34, 800.

The Fourth of July is a federal holiday commemorating the signing The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 by our thirteen colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware and Maryland). The document declared independence from the British Empire and is part of our rich heritage.

Happy birthday and continued freedom to the people of the United States of America on our 240th birthday.