Jerry, can you get a couple photos of the Surf to post when you get home? This place is really special! My parents met there in the big band era. I was attending during the 70's to the likes of Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, and Head East among others. I had hair down to my shoulders a pair of bell bottom jeans with red white a blue patches that were held up by a thick leather belt with an attached buck knife, no shirt, just a deep tan and a three inch thick leather watch band around my wrist. Jeez I have three teenage daughters now and threw the last guy to visit out the door because of a tatoo LOL! The Surf Ballroom has a huge wooden dance floor with several levels of cozy booths surrounding it and a full service bar in each corner
Its the perfect size to get that party feeling and dancing instead of jumping up and down shoulder to shoulder is what it was built for. It would make a sweet location for a summer car show. They do have a nice show in Clear Lake every summer that I attended a couple of years ago but the Surf is'nt part of it
What I like'd about it was that it included a cruise around the lake and the road was lined with partying spectators over the entire 24 mile route. They also had a party and band at the city park band shell after the show. If you're close I'd recommend it but bring a set of rear tires to burn as the locals sauce the streets and hang banners and offer beers to entice a smoke show! Jerry, if you are staying near I65 at the Best Western part of my families farm was across the road where the small motels, and fast food joints are now. The Interstate came in and cut the farm in half. It was bitter sweet for the family but I had a great time running that unfinished Interstate in the 68 L35 untill I went to the airport and fueled up with aviation octane to run against a Cuda from the next county over.
Back to the buddy Holley story. Clear Lake lived with the inigma of killing Buddy, the Bopper, and Richie for many quiet years. In the mid 70's a new disck jockey, "The Mad Hatter", moved to town and learning of the local history decided to spin the bad into a positive experience. Many locals just wanted to lay low and let the music die. My brother worked for the radio station helping with local promotion of the first reunion. It took a couple years for the locals to jump on board. No one imagined then that it would become the rock n roll mecca it has become for people world wide who appreciate the short but important impact of cutting edge music that these three artists created. Does anyone know who gave up his seat on the plane for Richie that cold night? Hint, country music would have felt his loss as well. Part of the black eye Clear Lake endured in the early years was that the personal belongings of Buddy vanished including his signature black thick rimmed glasses. My grandfather was badgered by authorities and fans for many years as he was one of just a few non officials at the site. The Kemmer family who was also at the site suffered the same finger pointing. This was always a thorn in the side of my grandfather who did'nt understand the fuss and yes he was threatened at times as well. I think it was in the mid 80's when by some mysterious fortune the court house found these items in storage having been "miss filed". It was obvious to us that an "official" feeling the pressure most likely made them re-appear. Buddies widow was then reunited with the items at one of the reunions. I'm going to give my mother a call in the morning and get the story straight on a few wierd things that were found in the wreckage. It's been a bunch of years and she knows more of the what who and where than I recall. Jerry if you run into any of the locals in their 40's shoot them my name. I'd love to hear who you might run into that I know. You might also throw out my grandfathers name to the pilot and see what he recalls? Enough for now.
Buck Bisgrove (grandfather)
Donna Bisgrove (my mother)