On May 8, 2001, I (Corrine aka Mama Gomer) started a thread entitled "What Are We?" in which I asked what we, as Third Day fans, should call ourselves. Green Bay has its CheeseHeads, Jimmy Buffet has his ParrotHeads, Star Trek fans are Trekkers, Skillet fans are PanHeads, and P.O.D. fans are Warriors. I felt Third Day fans needed a name as well. We discussed it on the Third Day message boards, and tossed some names around. John? (aka Unquestionable? Gomer) suggested “Gomers,” after the Third Day song "Gomer's Theme" from the CD Conspiracy #5. It was Third Day-related, it sounded like a good name, and we liked it.
However, some did not like it, and some wanted to know what else it meant, besides being a Third Day song. I did a considerable amount of research on the name "Gomer" to understand the meaning of the name and the story of Hosea’s Gomer. I posted what I found, and reasons we should use the name. (Read about it on the explanation page.) Still some didn't like it. The first 100 or so Gomers on the list spent much time defending the idea and fighting for it before the majority accepted it.
Someone suggested we make t-shirts so that we can recognize other each other at concerts. (I think it was I, because I had been working with another group on making t-shirts at the time.) We also thought that the shirts would be a good witnessing tool. People would see us wearing them and ask us what a Gomer is. Then we could tell them of God's deep love for them.
We liked two slogans. "God loves Gomers," and "I'm a Gomer. Are you?" Ryan (aka Superman aka The Mandalorian Gomer) designed the shirts, and put them on a website, so we could vote on them. The second slogan won. Larry (the Moderator, aka Larry0513 aka Veggie Gomer) was going to help Ryan sell and distribute the shirts, but there were technical difficulties so we gave up the shirt idea for a time.
Razar (aka Gillette Gomer) came up with the idea of Gomer names. He thought that since we were a family, and Gomer was sort of our last name, we should have Gomer first names, as well. The idea was to have a fun name that reflected your personality, your faith, or whatever you wanted. The concept gave us a little something different, and added to the fun. That is why Razar is number one on the Gomer list at Gomertopia.com.
Byron (aka ForgivenTheWarrior aka River aka Baldy Gomer) opened his Gomer Names Shop to help folks who could not think of Gomer names on their own. He had quite a gift for coming up with great names! Larry kept track of all the Gomers with his idea of the Gomer Names List, which he posted on the message boards. That gave us validity, because it made the Gomers more visible. It also gave us a great way to keep track of how many we had in this fast growing grassroots movement. Later, Larry could no longer do the list, so I took it over.
In November of 2001, the members of Third Day started to become Gomers. Some of them posted their Gomer names on the boards. That was so awesomely cool! You can read about it here.
In December of 2001, I set up the first official Gomer website with the explanation of what a Gomer is and where we got the name. I also started the Gomer stores on CafePress.com at this time to sell Gomer shirts. They were your choice of white or gray, and said, "I'm a Gomer. Are you?" on the front, and had the Third Day boards address on the back with the phrase "Where Gomers Come Together," playing on the name of Third Day’s current CD Come Together.
On February 1, 2002, Third Day’s Come Together website premiered, and the Gomers became an official part of it! The message boards added a Gomersville forum. I became the Moderator of it. The website also added a fan page with quite a few fan sites listed along with the Official Gomer site. At the bottom of the fan page, a paragraph about Gomers showed a picture of the brand new official orange Gomer t-shirt! The shirts say “Property of ________ Gomer.” The white blank space is where the owner of the shirt is to write their Gomer name. Third Day’s online store started selling the orange Gomer shirts so that Gomers can recognize each other at concerts, as we had envisioned. Moreover, Third Day had another reason for making the shirts the bright color. The band wanted to be able to see the Gomers from the stage!
When Third Day’s Come Together tour started in early 2002, Mac Powell started asking, from the stage, if there were any Gomers in the audience. That was thrilling! Furthermore, it caused our numbers to triple!
At Third Day's suggestion, we started organizing prayer meetings before the shows. This is also when we started having Gomer Gatherings. The Gomers in each city of the tour meet before the show for dinner. It is wonderful to meet in person the friends you have made online. Our pre-show dinners can range anywhere from just two people to fifty people or more. After dinner, the Gomers go to the concert venue and have a prayer meeting by the front doors of the venue. We pray for the bands, the crew, the audience, everyone and everything, and for it all to go God’s way. It is such an awesome thing for Gomers to get together in fellowship and prayer!
On February 27, 2002, the member status line under the member’s screen name on the boards changed from “Member” to “Third Day Gomer," as per the band!
During the spring leg of the Come Together tour, Tai Anderson started wearing his very own, specially designed Gomer shirt on stage. It was just like the orange Gomer shirts, except that it was black, and sleeveless. He even wore it on the Dove Awards! Later, he auctioned it off on ebay, with the proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.
The Gomers got some publicity during the year as I was interviewed by radio stations around the country. We were beginning to be known!
2003 started with a bang! Third Day ran a full-page thank you in the January issue of CCM Magazine, which included The Gomers.
Third Day released their second DVD in March of 2003. They held viewing parties at several theaters across the country. Gomers got together to watch. On the DVD itself, there is a special Gomer Family Album featuring pictures of Gomers in their orange Gomer shirts. It is awesome to have been included!
In April of 2003, CCM Magazine’s website did an article about the Gomers. We were beginning to be recognized!
On September 3, 2003, Third Day’s website underwent another face-lift, this time reflecting the orange color of the Offering’s II: All I Have to Give CD. I loved the orange, since orange is the official Gomer color. In addition, there was another upgrade for the Gomers. At this point, we had 2,500 Gomers on the list (Jeremy Camp being #2500 at the time.) It became quite an arduous task for me to add each Gomer to the list individually. To help in this, Tai Anderson and Dale Manning (from IdeaDen, the company that creates the website) graciously automated the Gomer list for me. Doing this enabled the list to grow much faster. Now, becoming a Gomer is instantaneous. Fans simply go to www.Gomertopia.com and enter their information to become a member of the Gomer family.
There are two key words for 2004, Growth and Gatherings!
With the automation of the Gomer list, we have grown in leaps and bounds! It took two years and four months to get the first 2,500 Gomers on the list. In the seven months from September 3, 2003, to April 6, 2004, we more than doubled our membership by adding 3,908 Gomers, bringing the total before the start of the Third Day’s Live Wire tour, to 6,408 Gomers. (Automation is a wonderful thing!)
On April 28, 2004, at the 35th annual Gospel Music Association’s (Dove) awards, Third Day had a special section reserved for the Gomers! They had discounted the tickets for us, and when we got there, we were presented with autographed programs! About 35 of us came to the event. We were dressed in orange, (but not Gomer shirts this time) and we were ready to cheer for our boys. And cheer we did! Anytime anyone mentioned Third Day, we stood up, screamed for all we were worth, and waved orange scarves. After the show, various people told us that they heard us very clearly, in every part of the auditorium. Third Day’s CD Offerings II: All I Have to Give won a Dove award for Praise & Worship Album of the Year. When they went to the podium to accept the award, they thanked those they “affectionately like to call our psycho fans.” That is not exactly what Mac said, but since the Dove Awards never aired on TV this year, I’ve only my memory of the night to rely on. Add to that, that as soon as we heard “psycho fans” we erupted into tremendous cheers and missed the rest of what he said. It was a very special night, one that I really wish I could relive by seeing the show on television.
On May 4, 2004, Third Day’s awesome rock album, Wire, came out. In the liner notes, Third Day thanked the Gomers! That made us feel so appreciated. It was a warm fuzzy.
CCM Magazine is starting to routinely refer to Third Day fans as Gomers.
May 8, 2004, was the third anniversary of our Gomer family, and we had our first annual Great Gomer Gathering, otherwise known as the G3-04. Third Day was slated to play in Houston, Texas, on that day. Gomers came from all over the USA for our Gathering. People came from California, Washington, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, and Arizona. The Houston Gomers opened their homes to the visitors, which added to the fun and family feel of the weekend. We had a pizza party and played laser tag on Friday night. Saturday, we met at the Lifeway Christian bookstore for the Third Day appearance there. After that, we took over a local Starbucks coffee shop. Forty-eight of us had dinner at a Mexican restaurant, where we had booked a private room. Before dinner, we raffled off various Third Day prizes, raising $200 for World Vision. After we ate, a surprise guest showed up, none other than Mr. Mac Powell, himself! He stayed for a while and talked to everyone. Then he announced that they had arranged a special meet and greet with the band for all of us before the show.
The meet and greet was a very special time for everyone. The band talked to us as a group. They told us how important the Gomer family is to them and how encouraged they are by reading what we have to say on the message boards. I told tell them how much we appreciate their providing us with our online community, and how much we treasure the family they have allowed us to be part of through the boards. It was very emotional, everyone was crying. It was wonderful!
Then it was concert time. We had a little surprise in store for Third Day. You know that the Gomers wear orange to Third Day shows. And you know that the band comes out and looks for those in orange, to see how many Gomers are at the show. Well, I thought it would be awesome if they came out on stage, and everyone in the entire audience, all 13,000 people, were wearing orange! I worked with KSBJ radio to make it happen.
The radio station really came through, running ads for the concept the month whole before the show. They interviewed me twice, once about Gomers and the orange audience idea, and once with Third Day while we were in Nashville. The DJs and I had to be sneaky and not mention the surprise during that one, but we did get to talk about Gomers.
The day of the show, KSBJ gave out 400 orange God Listens tee shirts to anyone not wearing orange. In all, I would say about 99% of the audience was in orange. I do not know how surprised the band actually was, but I can say that they were pleased. On exiting the stage, with a grin on his face, Tai said, “It don’t get no better than this!” I think I speak for all the Gomers there when I say that we felt the same way.
On Sunday, we went to a Crawfish Boil put on for charity by Tugboat’s church. Later, we had a Gomer party at Tugboat’s house. We talked, we sang, we laughed (a lot!), we cried, we ate some awesome barbecue, and then sadly, it was time to go home.
The Great Gomer Gathering showed us what a powerful thing God is doing with the Gomer family. We believe we saw a little of what the community will be like in heaven. We truly are a family that has a lot of love for each other. Hopefully, the Great Gomer Gathering will be something we will do every year, making it bigger and better each year.
On June 25, 2004, we officially hit 10,000 Gomers!
The Third Day online store started selling new orange Gomer shirts in the summer of 2004. They are the same on the front, but the backs say “I stay wired at www.ThirdDay.com” with the same Third Day wings design. It was our idea that the front stays the same, but from year to year, the back changes to reflect the present tour. The store also started selling Gomer shirts for everyday wear. They are heather gray with orange sleeves, with the same design as the regular Gomer shirts.
Third Day shot their third DVD project, Live Wire, in Louisville, Kentucky on July 22, 2004, at the Louisville Palace theater. This time it was a bit different in that they rented the theater especially for the shoot, instead of filming a concert already on the tour. This gave them more control over the look of the project. Once again, they used the award winning Jupiter Project to do the DVD. Gomers from across the country came to Louisville for the chance to be part of it. We gathered for dinner before the show, and breakfast afterward. It was a great family reunion, and an amazing concert, not to mention a chance to be part of Third Day history.
Some that could not make the trip to Louisville were there in spirit and represented by having life-sized photos of their heads glued to sticks and held by friends. This started the tradition of Gomers-on-a-stick that you might see at some concerts. Another tradition is the orange “Houston Gomers Thank You All” vinyl banner made by Cargobob for the Houston show. It has been sent to Gomers to take to Third Day concerts across the US, and in England and Holland. In January of 2005, it will go to New Zealand. These traditions must add to Mac’s conviction that we are Third Day’s psycho fans.
In September of 2004, the server that hosted Third Day’s website was hacked into and the site went down for several days. When the site came back up, we found that the message boards had been upgraded! Once again, what satan meant for evil, turned out to be for our good.
During the tour this year, Mac would invite two or more people up onstage to sing the second verse of “Come Together.” In San Antonio in December, my husband, Mr. Mama Gomer, and his nephew Hunter got up there with our friend Lisa aka slowmotion Gomer. (I don’t know who the other girls are. I’m sorry.) Here is a short, and really small clip of Mr. Mama singing!