Canadian County names expo center interim director

Office manager Davis selected after Smith’s dismissal

Mandy Davis

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Mandy Davis has been named interim director at the Canadian County Expo & Event Center, 3001 Jensen Road East.

Davis, who has been the center’s office manager for the past two years, was unanimously selected to fill the position during the Canadian County commissioners’ May 8 weekly meeting.

She will serve on an interim basis until the commissioners select a permanent successor to Nathan Smith.

“I have a lot of confidence in Mandy,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson said.

District 1 Commissioner Tom Manske agreed.

“She understands the system out there and I highly agree about using her as the interim (director),” Manske said.

Davis previously was the executive director of the Great Plains Country Association, an organization promoting tourism in southwest Oklahoma. She also has economic development and chamber of commerce experience.

In a related matter, commissioners authorized Davis to execute booking agreements up to $25,000.

They also acknowledged the designation of Kim Kaes and Commissioner Manske as requisitioning officers and Amy Ferguson and Davis as receiving officers for the Canadian County Expo & Event Center.

Canadian County commissioners, during a special meeting May 2, decided to dismiss Smith as the center’s director and marketing manager. He held the position for nearly four years.

Chairman Dave Anderson, in a May 3 statement, announced the dismissal “after it came to the board’s attention that proper procedures for disposing of excess building materials had not been followed.”

County commissioners in June 2019 hired Smith as director and marketing manager for Canadian County’s future fairgrounds’ complex.

Development of the $15.2 million construction project began in spring 2020.

Smith has been credited for his efforts to promote Canadian County’s new expo center, which officially opened in July 2021. The venue has remained steadily busy with event bookings.

The Canadian County Expo & Event Center features a 19,000 square foot event center, 46,000 square foot indoor arena and 19,000 square foot open-air pavilion, along with around 15,000 square feet of office space.

The site – just south of Interstate 40 on El Reno’s east side – has hosted record crowds for the last two annual Canadian County free fairs.

The most recent events have been Extreme Midget Wrestling and Oklahoma Youth Esports tournaments, the National Land & Range Judging Contest, and Heartland Coin Show.

Upcoming events include a martial arts combat league competition, horse shows, cornhole tournament, and wine and craft beer festival.

The Canadian County Expo & Event Center, 3001 Jensen Road East, has been booked constantly with a variety of special events. The site opened in July 2021. (Photo courtesy)


Among other business at their May 8 meeting, Canadian County commissioners approved:

  • Awarding a $20,688 low bid to 6L Mechanical to repair the chiller at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center.
  • Advertising for bids for a plumbing retrofit project at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center.
  • A resolution declaring May as Flood Awareness Month in Canadian County.

Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward presented the weekly county jail report showing 208 inmates in custody, with 175 prisoners housed at the El Reno detention center and 33 others in contracted counties.