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Bopper Junior to host Winter Dance Party 2012 at Surf Ballroom

This news story was published on January 30, 2012.
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Jay Richardson, son of “The Big Bopper”

CLEAR LAKE – The Big Bopper Junior is looking forward to an extended weekend of music and his hosting duties at the North Iowa landmark he refers to as the “temple of rock.”

That’s rock, as in rock ‘n roll and the venue is the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

Jay Richardson, son of “The Big Bopper” is the son of J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who played his final show at the Surf in 1959 before perishing in a plane crash with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson.

Jay Richardson Junior is currently on tour and performing his father’s songs as a part of John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party. The group will take the Surf’s stage on Saturday February 4 after headliner Pat Boone has completed his show.

“It’s not a sad place, it’s a happy place,” said Richardson during a recent phone interview. “It’s where where Dad spent the last day of his life, it’s where I feel closest to him, it’s second to home.”

The Surf’s stage will be Richardson’s temporary home beginning Thursday February 2 as he plays master of ceremonies for this year’s edition of the annual Winter Dance Party event.

Richardson is hoping the acts he introduces will be better received than the last time he handled the hosting duties about 5-years ago.

He recalls having to bring on Marshall Crenshaw, who much to the dismay of the crowd, did not play any Buddy Holly tunes. The Blasters also received a less than favorable reception and Richardson remembers taking grief from several disappointed fans.

Bopper Junior will have some veteran help this time around.

He plans to get assistance from the man who played emcee during the 1959 Winter Dance Party show and was a local disc jockey for radio station KRIB.

Richardson is counting on Bob Hale to introduce him and Mueller as they close out the weekend on Saturday night.

“Bob can get up anytime he wants. If Bob wants to do anything, he’s not going to hurt my feelings.”

Mueller, who performs a tribute to Buddy Holly, said he is “very excited” about the show. “We’ve performed at the Surf before, it’s sacred grounds for me, it’s the last time they played. It’s really great, it gives me chills every time I’m there.”

He intends to bring guitarist Tommy Allsup up to do some numbers with the band.

Allsup was the guitarist on the 1959 tour.

Allsup and other witnesses maintain that he owes his life to a last minute coin flip. He lost and Valens ended up on the plane.

Mueller also said they plan to pass a hat and have audience members pick pieces of paper out of it that have song title’s written on them.

Mueller said that the selections in the hat will include some of Holly’s more obscure or less played numbers like; Raining in My Heart, Looking for Someone to Love and his apartment songs.

“Stuff you normally don’t hear on the radio,” said Mueller. “If we performed them all the time, you’d have a 3 hour show” if you also included Buddy’s hits that everyone expects to hear.

Audience members hoping to hear tunes from the original Winter Dance Party tour are certain to go home happy.

Selected Events on the 2012 Winter Dance Party Schedule:

Wednesday, February 1st.

-News conference/unveiling of National Registry of Historic Places plaque recently presented to the Surf Ballroom. 1 p.m.

-Evening “Warm-up” Concert, 7 p.m. Featuring The Whitesidewalls.

Thursday, February 2nd.

-KRIB Record Hop featuring Bob Hale, in the Surf Lounge 12 – 3 p.m.
(Hale will be doing the live broadcast on Good Time Oldies KRIB during the above hours Thursday-Saturday of the WDP week).

-Evening Concert, 7 p.m.
Artists scheduled to appear include Denny & The DC Drifters, The Flamingos starring Terry Johnson, Danny & the Juniors and Jason D. Williams.

Friday, February 3rd.

-23rd Annual British Buddy Holly Society Luncheon, 11 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

-Evening Concert, 7 p.m.
Artists scheduled to appear include Josh Holmes Trio, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys with special guests Marshall Lytle of the Original Comets and Tommy Allsup.

Saturday, February 4.

-1950’s Variety Show luncheon, 12 to 3 p.m.

-Evening Concert, 7 p.m.
Artists scheduled to appear include The Bobbettes, Sid King & The Five Strings, John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party and Pat Boone.

For a complete listing of events go to

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2 Responses to Bopper Junior to host Winter Dance Party 2012 at Surf Ballroom

  1. Karl Soliday Reply Report comment

    February 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Huge Buddy Holly fan.
    A big thank you to Gary Rofkahr and other oldies
    DJ’s for keeping this kind of music alive.

  2. gary rofkahr Reply Report comment

    February 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I’m a weekend DJ at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma hometown of Tommy Allsup. I do an oldies rock and roll show from 9AM till 12 noon every saturday. The show streams out live at Every year for the last five years I’ve done a Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper Tribute show on the anniversary weekend of “The Day the Music Died” This year will be #6. Fans can find the show at 91.3 FM in the area or world wide. Wish I could be at the Surf for the celebration. Rave On!!!