Scott County Historical Society
Scott County, Virginia

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Rye Cove Cloggers show fair spirit

By DWAINE BECK
Scott County Bureau

KNOXVILLE - Taking their special brand of fancy footwork and youthful enthusiasm to the World's Fair yesterday, The Rye Cove Cloggers showed an international audience why hometown fans call them "The Pride of Scott County."

     You might say it was one of those times when everybody involved ran the silver lining up the flagpole and danced the dark clouds away.

     The group of 12 junior-high and high-school-age dancers from Southwest Virginia opened their two-day stay at the fair with a 45-minute show on the Court of Flags stage at 3 p. m.

     At show time, temperatures were approaching the 90-degree mark and fairgoers, as has often been the case recently, were showing signs of wilt.

     The Cloggers' first show of the day, scheduled for 2 p. m., was canceled by fair officials after Germany Day ceremonies at Court of Flags started one hour late.

     But neither the heat nor the first-show cancellation damaged the Cloggers' spirits or F. P. Sloan Jr.'s.

     Sloan, who has directed the group since he organized it about 10 years ago, said, "'It's a thrill to follow the international German show."

     And with the heat and humidity being what they were, being called upon for just one performance yesterday may have been a blessing. Two performances by the Cloggers are scheduled for 2 and 3 p. m. today.

     And being sandwiched between two German shows a group of German folk dancers were scheduled to followed the Cloggers to the stage - gave a

few European members of the audience a chance to see some Appalachian culture.

     One German-speaking member of the audience, during a particularly robust segment of one of the clogs. was heard mingling his boisterous "Ya, Ya"

with the more familiar sounds of Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia hoots and hollers.

Sloan and the Cloggers are no strangers to performing in front of large audiences. Last summer he took the same six male, six-female member group to Nashville to appear at the Grand Ole Opry.

     Although more people might have seen the Nashville performance, yesterday's show gave more of an indication of the group's appeal. The audience swelled to several hundred spectators hovering near the foot of the stage as the show ended.

     After the show, several Clogger's who said they had rarely performed outdoors before were asked how it felt to be performing at a World's Fair.

     "Great!" a tired and thirsty Greg Dockery said with a cup of ice water in his hand. At 12-years-old, Dockery is the youngest member of the troupe.

     With appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and a World's Fair behind them, it might seem the young group is just about out of new horizons. But it's just not so.

     They said there are two more places they'd like to perform before they retire their clogging shoes. The first is "Hee-Haw." Second on the list - the steps of the White House.

Note: written in the margin, May 1978

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