RATON — George Tomsco grew up in Raton, New Mexico and became world famous with his band, The Fireballs. He was born and raised in Raton and has one sister, Alberta. His father ran a Conoco service station and he worked there part time when he was a teenager. Tomsco was always interested in music and in 1957, while still in high school, he started a rock and roll band. They never had music lessons; all the band members learned by ear. The Fireballs had a unique, popular sound, and they performed in the Raton High School to standing ovations. After high school, Tomsco attended the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. He really wasn’t interested in school because he had always wanted to be a musician but didn’t know how to get into the business. The Fireballs continued to play on weekends in local clubs. One day someone heard him playing a home recorded acetate and remarked that the band should record their music. They auditioned for Norman Petty who owned a famous recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty liked their style and this started their career. In 1959 the Fireballs recorded their first release, Petty negotiated a contract for the group and they never looked back. In 1960 the Fireballs appeared on the Dick Clark Show and American Bandstand. Tomsco said that meeting Dick Clark was a great experience and this really helped their career. They recorded many albums in the next several years. In 1963 they brought singer Jimmy Gilmer
into the group and recorded “Sugar Shack.” This became the number one hit for five weeks and was the largest selling single that year and is perhaps their most well-known song. Several motion pictures have used their music. In 1989 the Fireballs were inducted into the Norman Petty Walk of Fame and in 2001 they were inducted into the West Texas Rock and Roll Walk of Fame. Tomsco was introduced to the Huerfano Community Bible Church in Walsenburg through his sister Alberta. She asked him to drive her to a Bible study and he loved the message Pastor Modlish gave. He joined the church band called STANDFAST. This band provides music at church and other functions around Walsenburg. Today Tomsco still writes and plays. He spends Sundays at the Huerfano Community Bible Church among his other appearances. Tomsco has had a very successful career and has no plans of slowing down. Despite it all, he remains a humble Christian person.