Not only has it been the talk in Stephenville and the surrounding communities it is now the talk across many miles and in numerous circles. I recently returned from Oklahoma City after spending 10 days at the 2016 Cinch National Finals of Team Roping.
When people found out I was from Stephenville the first question they asked was, “Is it true that the Lone Star Arena is closing?” Or they would say, “I’ve been coming to Stephenville for years to participate in events at the Lone Star Arena. Surely, it cannot be shutting down?” or “Where will they have the upcoming high school rodeos?” or “Where will their upcoming benefits and concerts be held?” or “Where will they hold next year’s Professional Rodeo?”
I recently drove by the arena and decided to pull in and look around. The arena may not be perfect and there is, without a doubt, a lot of work to be done. It hasn’t had the best care in the past years. Maintenance is a never-ending job.
I parked my car and just walked around. I sat down on a rock and remembered the Wednesday nights when the college kids gather for Buck n’ Duck, the Tarleton College Rodeo and numerous high school rodeos, the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Events, Bull Ridings and Barrel Racing events, the circus and church services and concerts and benefits. It’s even hosted a dog show or two and home and garden shows.
I have been to the arena when the parking stretched far out on the highway on both sides of 377 because there were so many participants.
I remembered last year during a benefit for Choices Clinic and Life Resource Center the parking lot was packed and the floor of the arena had been set with tables and a meal catered and the attendance was huge. That is only to name a few of the many events that I know of.
Let’s take a high school rodeo, for example. One family of four visiting Stephenville for two or three days and multiply that by food, motel, shopping, and whatever else families do and it adds up to money. It adds up to a few dollars and cents for our city.
Stephenville is known as the Cowboy Capital or the World. Will it remain so if there is no place for them to gather and do what cowboys and horse people do?
I wish I had the money to buy it and renovate and promote it. Their calendar is full all through the month of November. I can understand no one wanting to take on a sinking ship if that is, indeed, the case. It worries me that if we lose those dates on the calendar where will those promoters and associations go if the Lone Star is unavailable.
I don’t the whys or what fors of the legal system. I don’t know the law and legal agenda that says or doesn’t say that the city of Stephenville cannot step up to save Lone Star Arena.
All I know is the Lone Star Arena has brought this community an untold amount of money and revenue. Our local newspaper has been full of the economic ramifications if the facility closes and the dollars involved. I wish I had the money to go build a new facility or renovate this one but in the mean time we are losing something very precious and fragile and time is of the essence. Do we understand it is our livelihood?
I sat in my car for a minute more. f that building could talk and if this little patch of acreage had a last request I wondered what it would be.
I kept hearing in my mind, “I’m dying here. PLEASE won’t someone help me?”
Melinda Clements is an E-T community columnist. She can be reached at