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This is the only site authorized and developed by Ritchies family, Bob, Connie, Irma and Mario. Take your time, there is a lot of great photos and memories we want to share with you. We hope you will enjoy your visit with us and come back often.

Please note: all animations on this site are in Flash therefore they won't play on iPhone, iTouch and iPad.

Articles of the Month
News from The Family
Birthday Bash
Seventeen T-shirt
Elwynn Musser
Donna Ritchie's Girl
News from Mario
Poem: A memorable night at the surf


Original Ritchie, the Ritchie Valens Store, opened May of 2006. Please click on to Original Ritchie for a visit.
PayPal Logo We have made some changes to Original Ritchie the Ritchie Valens store, Paypal has been added for convenient and secure shopping.
Available is the best in Ritchie Valens music on CD . We have temporarily removed our apparel line, we are hoping to present a new line this spring. Thanks go out to Ritchie's fans.

Donna's Scrapbook live.
The Ritchie Valens Family gratefully acknowledges Donna's contributions to this page. All information and photo's authorized by Donna Fox. All photo's used with permission, Donna Fox, Alan Clark (Alan Clark Archives), Judy Willis and Michelle Hoover ( also we would like to acknowledge Pascale our webmaster here at Ritchie for her effort and dedication to our site.

Birthday Bash
Connie Valens and Dave Ringen would like thank all of you who attend our Birthday Bash and those of you who supported our efforts to bring Rock & Roll to Three Star Plaza. Our dream continues. Birthday Bash You still have the opportunity to partner with us. The Surf Ballroom is providing an area on their website under link " Get Involved", please earmark your checks made payable to the Surf Ballroom, Three Star Plaza. We believe that bringing the music will enhance the visitors experience to an already beautiful memorial to Three Great Artists, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper & Buddy Holly. Thanks for your support.

Original Ritchie: Seventeen T-shirt
Original Ritchie introduces our new design,The Ritchie Valens, Forever Seventeen T-Shirt.
The Family would like to recognize and thank Connie Mueller and Dawn Powell for their artistic and creative input in the design of the Forever Seventeen T-shirt.

Price $19.95
Order Now

FrontForever seventeen Tshirt - front

BackForever seventeen Tshirt - back


2 for $5.00
or $3.00 each
Order Now

Ritchie Valens Forever 17  Koozie

More News
The last year has brought many changes in the lives of The Family, Irma moved to Las Vegas and Connie moved to Iowa. They are both very happy and doing well in their new surroundings. Bob and Mario remain on the Central Coast of California. Mario is still playing with the Backyard Blues Band, go to his website for a schedule of his venues.

We are introducing a new T-Shirt in September, Connie plans to present this new T-shirt at the 2013 Iowa Rock ' n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame Induction, during Fanfare. They should be in our online store Original Ritchie no later then September 6. For information on the Induction weekend please visit

The Family became Lifetime Members of IRRMA in 2007 when Ritchie was inducted into the Hall of Fame as an out of state inductee, thus begun the love of affair with the Okoboji, Arnolds Park area. The family has been coming to Iowa since 1988 when they served as ambassadors for The Easter Seal Society of Iowa for 5 years, the family has also attended and been spokespersons for the Surf Ballroom since 1988. Many great friendships have been formed over the many years, their visits to Iowa have become family reunions.

Rock N' Roll Fans a New Book!!
The family is pleased to share this exciting news: "The Flip of a Coin" The story of Tommy Allsup, you can purchase his newly launched biography at

News from Mario:

Mario and the Backyard Blues Band have a new CD. They have recorded Ritchie's "That's my Little Susie" along with new Backyard originals. For more info on the new CD & performance schedule go to


A memorable night at the surf
A Tribute to Buddy, Big Bopper, and Ritchie

The world still loves your music after all these years
Rock n' Roll unfolded
The crowds stood up and cheered
The SURF is where it's happenin', so be there or be a square
The bands are warming up
Anticipation fills the air
Guys are shined in Brylcreem, new blue jeans all rolled up
Watch the girls and ask em to dance
Smoke Lucky's from a cuff
Bobby sox, saddle shoes, and can-cans all a fluff
A scarf in her pony tail
A boy winks; there's a blush
A fifty-seven Chevy parks beneath the marquee lights
Chrome bumpers gleaming
From the mirror hangs fuzzy dice
The curtain about to go up; Big Bopper sets the pace
The dance floor fills to quota
Shake the walls, CHANTILLY LACE
Ritchie, we remember how you sang about your love
A slow dance to OH DONNA
Revolving stars above
LA-BAMBA steals a heartbeat, hot guitar strings intertwine
Notes on a scale that reach
Where chiming songbirds fly
Buddy, talent rolling, as you rocked the stage in two
The drums beat out the rhythm
And we danced to PEGGY SUE
TRUE LOVE WAYS; like you waved a magic wand
An orchestra of feelings
Your heart sang out the song
Buddy, Bopper, Ritchie, your memory lives through time
Your fans span generations
And your music blows our minds
We gather here in honor to that cold night in the sky
The Surf stands in legend to
The day the music died

Pam McKiness

Meeting Elwynn Musser, the photographer that took the photo's of "The Day the Music Died" Irma Norton, Connie Valens and Ellwynn Musser. Pictured left to right Irma Norton, Connie Valens and Ellwynn Musser.

Imagine walking into a restaurant in the small Iowa town of Thornton, a town it seems that time forgot and meeting the man that was at the crash site that took your brother's life. Elwynn Musser worked for the Mason City newspaper the Globe Gazette in 1959, Elwynn who is in his early 90's is still sharp and clear of mind. When Connie and Irma along with Randy and Doris decided to accept the invitation to the early morning breakfast, they had no idea what awaited them. Stunned would be an under-statement when Connie and Irma were introduced to Elwynn Musser as the man who photographed their brother at the crash site. Elwynn was very careful not to be morbid as he spoke of his experience. There on the table sat the camera that Elwynn, Mr. Musser took the actual crash site photographs with, it was hard not to get emotional. Connie asked Elwynn if she could hold the camera, she was surprised by the weight of it, immediately she sensed that this was the real deal, she asked which one of the framing viewers he had used and then picked up the camera to look through it, amazing!, over 50 years before the camera she now held had taken the last photographs of Ritchie. We'll be forever thankful for the opportunity of such a wonderful God-incident. Each year there is always a special moment in our pilgrimages to Iowa that set that visit apart, it seems that closure will never come then we realize it's all part of our healing. Special thanks the the Buddy Holly British Society for the generous invitation.