Burton Coliseum Transformed for Rodeo - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Burton Coliseum Transformed for Rodeo

Date: January 23, 2003
Reported by: Shelley Brown

Bill Harper is the Rodeo Arena Director and says folks come from all over to see rodeo action, "You got cowboys coming in from all over. Some of them are from Australia to Canada and all over the united states."

Harper says they come here to compete and advance to the national finals rodeo in Las Vegas, "This is just like a football game trying to get to the Super Bowl. The national finals is the super bowl of rodeos."

But there are a lot of preparations that go into creating that western rodeo setting including a ton of dirt. Just last week this place was a basketball arena. Workers here are transforming the Burton Coliseum. They've already hauled in 70 truckloads of dirt to prepare for the big rodeo this week.

Mark Ethridge is the Director of Burton Coliseum, "Changing it over from basketball to rodeo, it takes us about a day to pick up our basketball, a day and a half to pick up our basketball set up and then our contractor can have the dirt in the next day. It's an all day job. You have two dump trucks running all day, a good eight hours so you can figure, and they're not running but a half a mile from the dirt pile to inside the coliseum."

Spreading a 12-inch layer of dirt on the coliseum floor is routine and precautionary for a rodeo. Ethridge says, "We've got a concrete floor in the coliseum, and it would be a little hard for the horses and the cowboys to fall on that concrete floor and cowgirls you know running their horses through the barrels."

For now until the rodeo is over, the coliseum will maintain this western atmosphere. But next week the truckloads of dirt will be removed, the concrete floors will come clean, and the coliseum will get ready for some more hoop action.

2003 Rodeo Schedule
January 28: 6 p.m., "Coca-Cola Ride with the Pros" at Burton Coliseum (free to the public)
January 29-Feb. 1: 8am, Livestock Shows begin each morning at Burton Coliseum (free to the public)
January 29: 8pm, Pro Rodeo Slack at Burton Coliseum (free to the public)
January 30: 7:30pm, PRCA Pro Rodeo Performance at Burton Coliseum
January 31: 7am, Pancake Breakfast at Hibernia Bank downtown (free to the public) 7:30pm, PRCA Pro Rodeo Performance at Burton Coliseum
Feb. 1: 2:30pm, PRCA Pro Rodeo Performance at Burton Coliseum
Feb. 1: 8pm, PRCA Pro Rodeo Performance at Burton Coliseum

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