Happy Birthday to a notable Clovis resident

Ken Curtis statue, located in Old Town Clovis. Curtis was best known for his role as Festus Haggen television series Gunsmoke (Photo by Ron Sundquist, Clovis Roundup).

July 2, 2023 – If you ever walk or drive by the west side of Pollasky Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets in Old Town Clovis, you can expect to find a statue of not any ordinary cowboy.

The life-size figure is none other than Deputy Sheriff ‘Festus Haggen’ from the hit western television series ‘Gunsmoke’. This is how Clovis remembers the late actor and singer, Ken Curtis who liked to call Clovis home.

Curtis had lived in Clovis with his wife Torrie since 1980. He passed away in 1991, the day after he made an appearance at the annual Clovis Rodeo.

His birthday was on July 2, so he would be celebrating a 107 year old legacy of his work on television and music he liked to share with the world.

Before starring in ‘Gunsmoke’, Curtis is also known for singing with the Tommy Dorsey Band after Frank Sinatra had left to fly his solo career. Curtis continued his career with many low budget western productions and films.

Local artist Samantha Cowen sculpted the masterpiece and donated it to the city of Clovis in 1992.

The scruffy deputy still stands at his corner in Old Town, making sure everyone follows the letter of the law.

Nikki McCabe
Nikki is a Fresno resident and a graduate of Fresno State University, with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Media Communications and Journalism. Nikki spent some time as a staff reporter at the Fresno State Collegian Newspaper, and now currently works part time at the KFSN-TV station in Fresno. She enjoys local community events, arts and entertainment, and crime news.