The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 19, 2011

Expo Center makes an impact

General manager: Economy affected by facility’s events

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

WAUKOMIS — Chisholm Trail Expo Center’s parking lot filled with trucks and stock trailers, the smell of livestock wafted from the arena area and bleats of sheep and lows of cattle created a cacophony a few weekends ago during Northwest Junior Livestock Show.

These types of sights, smells and sounds are not uncommon for the Expo Center, which hosts several large agricultural-based events throughout the year.

Most recently, the center hosted Garfield County’s show, in addition to the district, that attracted area FFA and 4-H members. Many of those students joined others from nine counties across northwest Oklahoma the next weekend to show animals in district competition.

Steve Barnes, Expo Center general manager, said agricultural events are some of the biggest events the Expo hosts.

“During the county fair, we have another livestock show,” said Barnes.

Each year in January, the Expo Center plays host to KNID Agrifest.

“That is a huge event,” Barnes said. “They use every square inch we have here at the Expo Center. They have the latest farm equipment and technology here for the event.”

During Agrifest, people can view everything from new combines and vaccines for livestock to grain and livestock handling tools.

The Expo Center also has had bull-riding and team roping events and has hosted the state 4-H horse show for several years.

“They used to only have the horse show in the same located two years in a row. After we built this facility, they were here for 10 years. The facility worked so well for what they do,” Barnes said.

But agricultural events, while huge to this area, are not all the Expo Center boasts throughout the year.

“Ag-related events are probably, throughout out the year, the big events we hold. They work so well in conjunction with other events. When we have had the livestock shows going on in the pavilion, we have also had the basketball tournaments going on inside,” Barnes said. “The ag events go great with the other events we do here.”

Concerts also are held at the facility annually. Barnes added the Expo Center events add to the local economy.

“It is kind of interesting that just recently the restaurants were full in town. Someone said they could look at people and see if they were from the livestock show or the basketball games,” Barnes said.

The people who travel for these events also stay in local hotels, Barnes said.

“The Expo Center,” he said, “has a great economic impact on the area.”