Monday was the ceremonial opening of the "livestock complex" at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. It's a series of arenas and barns that already has attracted six national horse shows to Tulsa, which means millions of dollars for Tulsaâ€™s economy.
News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the Tulsa County Fairgrounds has come a long way. From the days when cattle shows were largely outdoors and barns were really just barns, the fairgrounds has evolved into an attraction that draws people and their animals from the rest of the nation.
Claremore FFA president Roxanne Gebhart: â€œI've shown in every corner of the country and this is definitely one of the top 3 or 4.â€
From local FFA'ers to horse shows looking for a home, Tulsa's fairgrounds - they say - is tops.
Lenard Davenport with the American Miniature Horse Registry: â€œIt's really a superior facility. You couldn't ask for a better facility.â€
Dignitaries on hand Monday applauded the opening of the livestock complex and the completion of Barn D, one of the largest barns in America.
The politicians who have helped secure votes to pay for it all say it's paying back. Tulsa County commissioner Randi Miller: â€œand the Arabian Horse show is going to be great for us, it's a three year contract that we can renew after that and right now we're booked every weekend.â€
It may seem like amost everything at the fairgrounds has been rebuilt already but there is more work in the plans. The next step is a renovation of the armory building. But first there's the work on the Fair Meadows grandstand to make part of it a walkway and build a new building along side it.
That will replace the trade-exchange center - which will eventually be bulldozed. The trade-exchange center, home of the flea market, will also be rebuilt on site. Those are some of the last steps that started with the renovation of the Pavilion. It opened in 1931, starting a history of the fairgrounds as a gathering spot for Tulsa County and now, the rest of the country.
Horse racing at Fair Meadows starts this weekend so the new barn is already full of stalls.
There's an arena in the middle of it for shows and much of the barn space is air conditioned. That as much as the size - is a big attraction for the shows that are coming to Tulsa because of all the changes at the fairgrounds.