By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
If you love country music, the two-step and line dancing, then you won’t want to miss Pagosa Springs Rotary’s fifth annual Jewels and Jeans Barn Dance.
Country Thunder, headed up by Clay Campbell, is known to turn the shyest wallflower into a crowd-pleasing line dancer, to say nothing of a two-stepping fool. You’ve got to love get-down, hometown country to relate to any of this. Most in Pagosa do.
Speaking of Campbell, everyone knows him to be a gifted musician, playing around Pagosa for decades, but few know the man.
Campbell’s fascination with Pagosa began as a boy when his grandparents bought a small cabin in the Blanco Basin. Moving here in 1978, Campbell obtained an B.A. in industrial education and went on to do all jobs necessary to be able to live in the little mountain town he loved. Carpentry became his trick of the trade, with wilderness guiding and outfitting thrown in for good measure.
Campbell has been performing for about 35 years, beginning his career in bluegrass music. He would be, back in the day, playing the upright bass at Frankie’s with Randall Davis and the Left Hand Band. All members had serious day jobs, but their passion was music.
About five years ago, country music came a-callin’ and he joined the group Country Thunder. Made up of four local musicians, they are a familiar band playing at various local venues and are sought-after for private functions. Like many in their audience, they are the shy, humble types, not wanting to talk about themselves. They just show up and play. And play they will at the Jewels and Jeans Barn Dance on Oct. 19 at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds from 7 to 10 p.m. The doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Along with the music, there will be a silent auction with serious items you will want to bid on like ski passes, gift certificates to Pagosa’s finest dining establishments, art work and jewelry, plus there will be items from food trucks and libations for purchase.
The purpose of all this you ask? Surely, like everything in Pagosa, there is a justified reason for doing what we do. No trick ponies here. All proceeds go toward the Pagosa Springs Rotary’s Scholarship Fund.
Since 1983, Rotary has granted higher education scholarships to 174 graduates, to the tune of almost $450,000. It is a driven purpose to elevate our youth, to give them a step up to be what they dream to be. College or trade school, it doesn’t matter. Rotary is that behind-the-curtain mentor that speaks for the voice of all Pagosans who say, “Go be what you are meant to be. We’re behind you.”
Rotary, being Pagosa’s largest service, nonprofit club, is dedicated to bettering our community, our nation and our world. Locally, they direct the Feed the Children backpack program; annually gift almost $1,800 of fabulous color dictionaries to all third-grade students; house foreign exchange students from all over the world plus send our local outbound students to other countries; help the town manage the largest attended event in Pagosa, the Fourth of July parade; support out-of-area clubs with time, talent and monies; give funds to developing nations for cleaner water, medical facilities and education; and are part of the worldwide club endeavor to eradicate polio. Yes, polio still exists. Rotarians are givers of their time and talents, mentors, teachers, financial backers. Rotarians are volunteers whose motto is “Service Above Self.” In Pagosa, it shows big time.
So, Pagosa, here is a chance to dance a little, socialize a lot and give to our youth, knowing that you will be a part in making a difference in someone’s life. It makes you want to learn that “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” just thinking about it. Can’t make it? Buy a ticket or two for someone else. Think “Service Above Self.”
Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, the Chokecherry Tree or from any of your friendly Rotarians. Tickets are $20 or $25 at the door. You better hurry, there are only so many tickets available and once they are sold, there goes your chance to tell those stories about an autumn night in October, dancing the night away in the county Extension building, to the music of Country Thunder.