Clovis’ Dramatic Day

Picture a quiet Tuesday afternoon Feb. 5, 1924, all is well as locals go about their daily business, when a stranger walks into the First State Bank on Pollasky Ave. in Clovis.
The bank manager had stepped out briefly for lunch leaving assistant cashier Thomas Howison alone in the bank. Howison was fairly new to the job recently graduating from college; this was sleepy Clovis after all! Howison greets the stranger with a “How do you do?” while the man puts down a $20 bill asking for change.

Bank heists were a rare occurrence in the Central Valley so Howison had no reason to expect what was about to unfold. It would be another decade before the daring bank robberies by the likes of bandits such as Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Meanwhile, as the stranger nicknamed The Owl waited for his change, his co-conspirator Felix The Lone Wolf Sloper, slipped in through a rear door creeping up behind the cashier. Howison found himself looking down the barrel of a revolver and was ordered to “stick ‘em up.” Tying his hands behind his back they shoved him into the vault, and quickly looted $31,000; a mix of currency, gold and stocks.

Fleeing the scene, The Owl and The Lone Wolf were surprised by the return of bank Vice President Emory Reyburn! Ordering him into a corner they jumped into their waiting getaway car, stolen earlier in the day. Reyburn gave the alarm as the fleeing bandits made their get-away heading south on Clovis Avenue. Nearby, the Sheriff was at a local elementary school and quickly gathered some boy scouts who happened to be there, giving chase. Pursuit of the robbers was cut short by a trail of roofing nails the bandits had dropped on the road as they fled.

Meeting up with another accomplice, the young and charming Catherine Ryan, girlfriend of the not so lone, Lone Wolf Sloper, the robbers tried to stay low hiding out. Investigators traced the trio to a house in Fresno rented before the Clovis heist. As the pursuit and investigation progressed, led by Sheriff Bill Jones and Deputy Sheriff O.J. King, they uncovered a key piece of evidence left behind… an article of clothing with a laundry tag on it. This lead to where Ryan lived and detectives put her under surveillance. Patience and careful observation eventually led them to the trio who were soon arrested at gunpoint.

Want to hear the rest of the story? Be sure to stop by the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum the last SAT of February as the robbery is reenacted with a short mellow drama in the very same bank building, at the southeast corner of Pollasky and Fourth Street.
Meanwhile, why not join our walking adventure Nibbles & Bits of Old Town and hear more stories? We tread through the charming streets of Old Town February 16th walking our way through interesting history, some cool art and even include food tastes along the way… Just $49pp. reserve online at www.AboutTownTaste.com

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Yeee Haw!

There is a legend that says rodeo got its start when one ranch said they had a horse that couldn’t be rode, and another ranch said they had a cowboy that couldn’t be thrown.

The Clovis Rodeo story begins in 1914 as a community picnic called “Festival Day” sponsored by the Clovis Women’s Club then overseen by the local doctor’s wife Mrs. McMurtry and her friend, Bessie Merriman.

Later in 1935, the Clovis Rodeo Association was incorporated and the area of the old lumberyard, then being used as a golf course, was purchased adding bleachers and a corral. To this day the Clovis Rodeo is still held on the site, each year at the end of April.

In 1969, another festival called “Big Hat Days” was started as the opener for the rodeo season. During the 70s and 80s, these festivals started to become an excuse for heavy drinking and bar-room brawls and the city had to reign in the celebrations combining the Big Hat Days and the Rodeo. Proceeds from the Clovis Rodeo and related events benefit more than twenty-one local charities annually.

Rodeo is a unique part of American history and holds a rich place in our western heritage. For a dedicated group of volunteers preserving the cattle ranching history of the region, the spirit of rodeo and the Clovis Way of Life is why you can find them hard at work on many a day, night and weekend planning a great event. Next weekend is the big event… meanwhile we’ll step out and explore Old Town and its Western spirit Saturday morning, 4/21.

Discount tickets at Brown Paper Tickets; cash on on the day of tour, $49 per person. This week we meet at the Visitors Center (Tarpey Depot) and set off promptly at 10am.

Happy Birthday Clovis!

Clovis M Cole came to the area a young boy with his family, resettling after the Civil War. By the age of 25 after his father gave him his first team of horses, he farmed 50,000 acres of wheat earning the nickname the ‘Wheat King’.

Donating land to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad for right of way on first railroad in this area, Cole built his first home among his wheat fields in 1903. The home exists to this day as a private residence.

In in honor of his donation and civic leadership, railroad officials named the growing city Clovis. Clovis Cole went on to become a school trustee and public-spirited citizen finally ending his days at his new home, in Fresno among its wealthy citizens.
Now that you’ve had a ‘nibble’ of the story why not get the rest of the story next Saturday (3/17) on the Nibbles & Bits walking adventure? Join others as we tread through historic Old Town tasting as we go.
$49 per person day or for half off go to Brown Paper Tickets!

Stick ‘Em Up!

Picture a quiet Tuesday afternoon Feb. 5, 1924, all is well as locals go about their daily business, when a stranger walks into the First State Bank on Pollasky Ave. in Clovis. The bank manager had stepped out briefly for lunch leaving assistant cashier Thomas Howison alone in the bank. Howison was fairly new to the job recently graduating from college; this was sleepy Clovis after all! Howison greets the stranger with a “How do you do?” while the man puts down a $20 bill asking for change.

Bank heists were a rare occurrence in the Central Valley so Howison had no reason to expect what was about to unfold. It would be another decade before the daring bank robberies by the likes of bandits such as Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd.
Meanwhile, as the stranger nicknamed The Owl waited for his change, his co-conspirator Felix The Lone Wolf Sloper, slipped in through a rear door creeping up behind the cashier. Howison found himself looking down the barrel of a revolver and was ordered to “stick ‘em up.” Tying his hands behind his back they shoved him into the vault, and quickly looted $31,000; a mix of currency, gold and stocks.

Fleeing the scene, The Owl and The Lone Wolf were surprised by the return of bank Vice President Emory Reyburn! Ordering him into a corner they jumped into their waiting getaway car, stolen earlier in the day. Reyburn gave the alarm as the fleeing bandits made their get-away heading south on Clovis Avenue. Nearby, the Sheriff was at a local elementary school and quickly gathered some boy scouts who happened to be there, giving chase. Pursuit of the robbers was cut short by a trail of roofing nails the bandits had dropped on the road as they fled.

Meeting up with another accomplice, the young and charming Catherine Ryan, girlfriend of the not so lone, Lone Wolf Sloper, the robbers tried to stay low hiding out. Investigators traced the trio to a house in Fresno rented before the Clovis heist. As the pursuit and investigation progressed, led by Sheriff Bill Jones and Deputy Sheriff O.J. King, they uncovered a key piece of evidence left behind… an article of clothing with a laundry tag on it. This lead to where Ryan lived and detectives put her under surveillance. Patience and careful observation eventually led them to the trio who were soon arrested at gunpoint.

Want to hear the rest of the story? Be sure to stop by the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum the last SAT of February as the robbery is reenacted with a short mellow drama in the very same bank building, at the southeast corner of Pollasky and Fourth Street.
Meanwhile, why not join a walking adventure of About Town Taste in Old Town and hear more stories? We tread through the charming streets of Old Town February 18th walking our way through interesting history, some cool art and even include food tastes along the way… regularly $49pp. Book online and save 50% ! Meet up location given with reservation.

Centennial Celebrations Afoot

It only comes once. Clovis is preparing a year of celebrating as the 100th anniversary approaches!

Let’s see, 100 yrs ago…..Clovis had already spent years earlier first hopeful the railroad would put them on the map so to speak.

It took awhile, but they sleepy little town recovered the failure of that dream and continued to grow. Now they’ll commemorate Clovis’ centennial with a city-wide birthday bash.
Check out their website to find out about ways you can show your Clovis pride throughout the entire 2012 year.

Meanwhile, why not take preview of the Old Town with the Nibbles & Bits taste adventure next Saturday?
Advance tickets required on Brown Paper Tickets.com