Jimminee the Clown, also known as Jim DeWilde, and his wife Maria recently attended the “Roaring 20’s” Clowns of America International Annual Convention that was held in Kansas City, Mo., April 24-28. Jimminee came back with two Top Ten awards.
Competition is always keen at the annual convention, since it is usually a large one and COAI members come from all over the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other locations. Jim competed in Face Painting - Cheek Art, Single Balloon, Single Skit, Senior Makeup, and Paradability. He received a “Top Ten” award for a 5th place finish in the Face Painting - Cheek Art competition, and a “Top Ten” award for a 7th place finish in the Senior Makeup competition. This was the third such COAI convention that they have attended, and also his third try at competition.
Jimminee is already coming up with some new ideas for the next year’s competition which will be held in Richmond, Va. While at this convention, the two of them were constantly juggling their breakfast, lunch and dinner times to make it to a competition event or attend workshops and presentations that were being given throughout the week. They even made it to one entitled, “How to Entertain Preschoolers.” The also managed to attend all the headliner shows given by David Bartlett (Mr. Rainbow), Norman Barnhart (Normando the Great), and main headliners Duane and Mary Laflin (The King & Presto). After some of the shows, Jim and Maria were able to meet and talk with them and even have some pictures taken with them. In fact, during one show, Mr. Rainbow came down off the stage, got down on one knee and sang a special song to Maria (and of course Jim had left the camera in their room). But he did have the camera at the awards banquet the last night of the convention and took some neat photos of David, as well as five Canadian ladies that were seated at their table with them. It was during this banquet that Jim was informed that Jimminee would be on the cover of a future issue of “the New Calliope” which is the COAI clown magazine with international distribution. After returning home, they were notified he would probably be on the front cover of this year’s Nov./Dec. issue.
Jimminee has been clowning in and around the Altus area and Southwest Oklahoma since 1978, within a radius of close to 100 miles of Altus. You can see him every Tuesday evening at Western Sizzlin’s “Kid’s Night,” and he is available for birthday parties, family reunions, squadron activities, fundraisers, charitable events, churches and schools, as well as parades. Jimminee has been on of the volunteer instructors for a week-long Clown School given by the Southwest Oklahoma Community Action RSVP program. This for children ages 8 to 12 every summer, and there is one here in Altus, another in Hollis, and finally one in Mangum, that was added to their schedule last year. This keeps him very busy during the three different weeks that they are scheduled to be held.