LCU Associates Set Record at South Plains Fair
The LCC/LCU Associates began supporting what was then Lubbock Christian College in 1958, just one year after the young college was founded. In the 64 years from then until now, the Associates have raised more than $3 million to benefit the students of LCU through a variety of creative fundraisers. One of their most prolific and longest-running fundraisers occurs annually at the Panhandle South Plains Fair where their locally famous “Homemade Pie” and Corn fair booths have been a staple since 1983. The net profit on these two food booths this past September surpassed their all-time record for funds raised with booths at the local fair.
It all began when a group of women gathered to establish the Associates organization on April 29, 1958. Members committed to $1 a year dues, monthly inspirational and informational meetings (“a good program is a must,” their founding minutes insisted), and enthusiastic service to meet “definite and urgent needs of the college”—and at that time, every need was definite and urgent.
The Associates had local chapters across the South Plains, and some of their first fundraising projects were a city-wide church directory, boxed suppers auctioned off by the Kenneth Bozeman & Son professional auctioneers, a style show, and a “country store.” In that year, the organization furnished the Katie Rogers residence hall reception room, the student center, and the office for the dean of women.
In that day and time, a number of women were housewives for whom scratch cooking was common. The group needed a consistent annual fundraising project, so in 1959 Associates member Joan Rigney—whose father-in-law J.C. Rigney was one of LCU’s five charter trustees—started the Associates’ pie concession tradition at the South Plains Fair with a booth in the merchant’s building. Jane Carter, whose husband Jack was an Assistant to President F.W. Mattox, worked with Joan in that first year to get the booth off the ground, and fellow members brought homemade pies to be sold by the slice.
In 1983, the Associates had taken out a substantial bank loan to pay for renovating Johnson Hall and needed another fund-raiser. The corn-on-the-cob vendor at the fair had retired and left two prime spots for corn booths, so the Associates jumped on the opportunity to fill both. The new corn booths were immediate successes; those profits combined with those of the pie booth provided them with the funds to pay off their 5-year note in 3 years.
In addition to those already mentioned, the Associates have enlisted numerous volunteers (sometimes along with their husbands) who have taken on lead roles over the decades of operating the fair booths, usually for years at a time. Dickie Hay, Jerrye Cope, Bula Anderson, Agnus (Bozeman) Dent (’68), Lynnita Hufstedler, Jamie Horton, Sue Davis, Hoycille (Montgomery) Valentine (’62), Connie (Dent) Fullbright (’81), Jan (Whiddon) Ramirez (’77), Wanda (Outhier) Dyess (’99), Carol Dahlstrom, and Jeannette Tidwell are just a few of the women who have poured into LCU through their service and leadership. Linda Durbin Willis currently oversees the fair booths, and Donna (Rigney) Hamil schedules the small army of volunteers needed to run the operation each year.
“Each volunteer is a cog in a big wheel,” said Hamil, who is Joan Rigney’s daughter. “I’m grateful to my grandparents, J.C. and Jewell Rigney, as well as my parents, Jack and Joan Rigney for the amazing time, effort, and talent they joyfully poured into Lubbock Christian University for as long as they could. I am happy I can serve in this way.”
Almost 100 volunteers cover the booth shifts from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the duration of the nine-day event. Additionally, approximately 400 pies and cakes are made and donated by individual volunteers, and each is sold by the slice aside from a few whole pies that are sold at the close of the fair. Though many of the women volunteers today maintain their own careers, they still uphold the standard of “from scratch” pies and cakes, and many men have added their baking skills to the cause as well.
This year the Associates set a record high, raising just shy of $50,000 from the combined pie and corn booths—a total that surpasses the profit from years when the Associates operated four booths instead of this year’s two.
“The courageous men and women who stepped out in faith and commitment to start a Christian school from the ground up were indeed giants,” reflected Hamil. “They led by example—no job was too small or too big. It was not beneath them to do whatever had to be done. We still have giants among us, and I am blessed to be working alongside them.”
If you are interested in joining the Associates of LCU as a member, visit lcu.edu/lcu-associates. Members can be local and active; or members can sign up as a “professional member” to receive Associates communication and support the organization with annual dues.