Tulsa County Fair Board To Consider Downsizing Fair Meadows

Monday, October 4th 2010, 9:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The Tulsa County Fair board is considering downsizing Fair Meadows at their meeting Tuesday. With fewer fans to fill them, there's a push to make the grandstands a little less grand.

Fair board members are talking about cutting back. But they want to assure race fans this is no farewell to Fair Meadows.

Hooves pounding, fans cheering. For some, there's nothing like live horse racing.

"Oh the speed, the power. You can hear it, you can smell the sweat," said Elena Daugherty. "It's all right there."

"There's a lot more excitement when you're out there live," Wilburn Pitts said.

But year after year, the crowds are steadily shrinking.

"With casino gambling coming in a few years ago there frankly aren't as many people attend as when the grandstand was built," said Fred Perry, Tulsa County Commissioner.

And Fair Meadows' grandstand isn't living up to its name.

"The grandstand is old. It is an eye sore. And we could use the parking," Perry said.

Perry and the other members of the Tulsa County Fair Board are considering trading in the rust stains for a few more parking spots next to the new Central Park Hall. They're not planning on razing the stands, just knocking down about a third of them.

News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims spoke with the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association, who said she is squarely in favor of out with the old and in with the new at Fair Meadows.

But there are no concrete plans for renovating the track right now. There are also no plans to reign in the races.

"Absolutely not, live racing will continue," Perry said. "With this removal we'll have more room for parking near Central Park Hall and that's a benefit."

Right now, the grandstand seats about 9,000 people. Last racing season, a total of 15,000 people attended.

The fair board will vote on the demolition at their meeting Tuesday.