Lifelong Clovis Resident Celebrates Centennial Birthday

Mary Rigsbee of Clovis, recently celebrated her 100th birthday on March 8, 2021. (Photo contributed by Clovis Rodeo Association)

Mary Sagniere Rigsbee became the Central Valley’s latest centenarian, reaching the historic centennial landmark birthday on Monday, March 8, 2021.

Mary Rigsbee was born to fig farmers at the original Clovis Hospital on Pollasky Avenue in downtown Clovis.

Her family’s fig ranch, located on what was once the outskirts of Clovis, was procured by her mother and father, Tille and Joe Sagniere.

As long-time residents of Clovis, Mary Rigsbee and her family have made a lasting impression on one Clovis staple, the Clovis Rodeo.

Mary Risgbee’s bloodline has been ingrained in the Clovis Rodeo history since before her birth in 1921. Her grandfather assisted in feeding meals to rodeo attendees at the first Clovis Rodeo in 1914.

Since then, Mary Rigsbee serves as the Rigsbee family’s matriarch, a family that continues her grandfather’s work alongside the Clovis Rodeo.

This work includes serving on the Clovis Rodeo Association board of directors.

The first to serve on the board was Mary’s husband, Emitt Risgbee, whom she married and settled down with on a cattle ranch east of Clovis in 1946. Along with serving on the board, he was also the Grand Marshal for the rodeo.

Together the couple had three children, Chuck, Dan and Pam.

The Risgbee’s two sons would continue the rodeo legacy by serving on the board of directors, just like their father had done decades before. Additionally, both sons served as president, respectfully.

On Monday, the family held a small socially distanced birthday celebration for Mary Rigsbee at the Magnolia Crossing Assisted Living Center.

According to Mary Rigsbee, the key to a long-lasting life is hard work, a marvelous sense of humor and the occasional taste of Crown Royal.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.