Let’s talk Clovis: 1927 Clovis Festival Queen Contest

Edna Whiton, 1927. (Clovis Museum)

The Clovis Woman’s Club was formed in March of 1912. Their creed: “Our object shall be to promote social and civic improvement, also educational culture.”

In 1927 (first Festival was held in 1914), the club sponsored the Festival Queen Contest. The proceeds would benefit the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. Contestants: Ida Edmiston (Senior Clovis High), Edna Whiton (Junior Clovis High) and Muriel Good (Sophomore Clovis High). All three were members of early pioneer families of Clovis.

Ida Edmiston was the daughter of R.W. Edmiston who arrived in Fresno County in 1869. R.W. recognized that the Kings River could provide irrigation for agricultural development.  His biography (printed in the 1919 History of Fresno County) states: “He confided his convictions to M.J. Church, whom he had known in Napa County and advised him to build what became the Church canal system, for which Mr. Edmiston did all the early surveying.”

Edna Whiton’s parents arrived in Clovis in 1904. They founded Whiton’s Cyclery (631 Fifth Street) in 1918. Harry Whiton was Chief of the Clovis Voluntary Fire Department from 1926 until his death in 1944.  His wife Kate continued the business until 1957. She was credited with repairing bicycle wheels for two generations of Clovis.

Edna married Robert Rogers on April 24, 1927. They operated the Clovis Confectionary on 454 Fulton (Clovis Ave) from 1930-1936.  Edna purchased the Clovis Insurance Agency from Anna Johnson in 1955. Their son Harry Bob Rogers founded Rogers Helicopters in 1961 and is recognized as a “pioneer’ in that field.

Muriel Good was the daughter of Sam Good. Sam arrived in Clovis in 1896 with his brother John (brothers Henry and Charles arrived later). They worked for their brother Robert E. Lee (first Clovis merchant) until 1904. John and Sam purchased the B.K. Smith grocery store at the NW corner of Clovis and Fifth. Sam soon left the partnership but established other businesses.

Mrs. Sam P. Good was President of the Clovis Woman’s Club from 1927 to 1930. The Clovis Rodeo Association has listed Rodeo Queens from 1916 to the present but Queens of the following years remain unidentified: 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930,1931 and 1932.

We suggest (by process of elimination) Muriel Good won the contest. Family members of Ida Edmiston and Edna Whiton have no history of either becoming Queen. I am the daughter of beautiful Edna and support the above supposition.

A large poster displayed the rules of the contest: “Each entrant must have 50 votes. Votes for sale here for one cent each. Votes counted and posted the following dates March 31, April 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12.”

Awards to contestants: “500 votes will be given to first contestant receiving 1500 votes; 500 votes to the first one receiving 5000 votes; 500 votes to the first receiving 7,500 and 500 to the first receiving 10,000 votes.”

“To the winning Queen the Chamber of Commerce offers a week end trip to San Francisco, all expenses paid.”

The first Rodeo Queen, Marian B. Armstrong, was selected in 1916. The Rodeo Association now defines the qualifications for Queen Candidates: “The candidates are graded on their scholastic achievement, poise, showmanship, interview skills and horsemanship. They must not only display exceptional horsemanship skills, but they must be involved in their communities; and represent traditional western rodeo values.”

The 1927 contestants, their families, the Clovis Woman’s Club and the Clovis Rodeo Association have provided us a rich heritage.

Peg Bos
Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.