By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – For the first quarter of fiscal year 2024, Canadian County’s Expo & Event Center hosted 15 events that attracted more than 30,000 visitors – from across the state and country.
These events generated nearly $85,000 in rental revenue – exceeding projections, Canadian County Commissioners were told this week.
“We have had an incredibly busy summer,” said Mandy Davis, director of the Canadian County Expo & Event Center at 3001 Jensen Road E. “And we are going to have an even busier fall.
“We don’t have a free weekend until Thanksgiving. That is a lot for our staff. We haven’t had but one free weekend since the fair.”
The economic impact during the first three months of FY24 totaled about $4 million, the expo center’s first-year director told county commissioners at their Oct. 2nd meeting.
Some $15.2 million was the estimated impact for fiscal year 2023 ending June 30.
These numbers are calculated using metrics provided by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and approved by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, according to Davis.
A Fall Barrel Bash barrel racing competition last weekend saw people from Montana, Wisconsin and Arizona come to the $20 million county fairgrounds’ facility.
The Canadian County Expo & Event Center features a 19,000 square foot event center, a 46,000 square foot indoor arena, and a 19,000 square foot open-air pavilion, along with an estimated 15,000 square feet of office space.
Davis described the 69th Annual Canadian County Free Fair on Aug. 23-26 as a “huge success”.
This marked the third year that the center – which opened in July 2021 – has hosted fair activities.
“I’m incredibly proud of the way that our county departments came together to make it such a success,” Davis said. “Our extension office, our fair board, our (expo center) staff, and the district teams just came together in a really beautiful way to make it something that our entire county could come out and appreciate – even in the 108-degree heat.”
A Thursday night Tri-K barrel racing series concludes this week followed by the Red River Pony Jumping Association show Oct. 6-8 in the Canadian County Expo Center’s indoor arena.
The Texas Long Horn Breeders Association of America, Oklahoma Horse Show Association and International Gay Rodeo Association also have weekend competitions planned in October inside the arena.
The November schedule features Monster Truck Wars, Christmas Market and Oklahoma Wine, Brew & BBQ Fest.
IN OTHER ACTION …
Among other action at their Oct. 2nd weekly meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:
- Awarding a $9,999.48 quote from Ezell’s Refrigeration to replace a furnace and coils at the sheriff’s office.
- An application for Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) funds for an asphalt project on Banner Road from the Northwest Highway (Highway 3) intersection south 2.81 miles to W Memorial Road.
- A resolution authorizing the private road names North Clover Hill and West Clover Hill for 9-1-1 addressing purposes.
- An agreement for the county sheriff’s office to provide uniformed security services on Riverside school district campuses for FY24.
Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward on Oct. 2 presented the weekly county jail report to Canadian County Commissioners.
The update showed a population totaling 192, with 164 inmates at the El Reno detention center and 28 others housed in contracted counties.
The total count is up one from last week as 48 prisoners await transfer to state Department of Corrections (DOC) custody.