SLE Rodeo roping in funding for coliseum

Posted by: Jennifer Oravet - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Southeastern Livestock Rodeo is built on a solid foundation.

In its inaugural year in 1957, the rodeo roped its first claim to fame in what many called the 8th wonder of the world.

"It was the crown jewel of the South." Claims SLE Rodeo Executive Director Dr. Billy Porter.

Now Garrett Coliseum is more like a diamond in the rough. The lack of funding leaves the old lady much like she was in 1951.  But, crying out for a facelift, new electrical wiring and plumbing.

Director of Garrett Coliseum, Bill Johnson agrees, "If something is not done, one of these days its going be lights out."

"We have a "get by deal here"." States Camp Powell, President-Elect of the SLE Rodeo.

Rodeo organizers now plan the best show on dirt one year at a time, never knowing how a calendar year could age the coliseum they have depend on.

When asked how this facility compares to others, Powell says, "On a one to ten scale, one."

Limiting the rodeo by the number of livestock, activities and ticket sales.

Some even believe its driving away big acts that could steer big tourism dollars.

Powell states, "There's no question.  The thing Montgomery has got that no one else has is the location, center of the Southeast.  Most anyone could drive here in one day."

Garrett Coliseum Director Johnson hopefully says, "We have a groundswell of people who want something done."

Johnson is cautiously optimistic about the facility's future, thrilled to see the support to restore this Montgomery relic.

"It will be a crying shame to lock the doors of this place but it is a reality."

Representative John Knight is introducing House Bill 663 to bring in funding for renovations at Garrett Coliseum.

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