Muscogee (Creek) Nation Announces Expo Square Naming Rights, End to Live Racing

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has reached an agreement with the Tulsa County fair board to accept naming rights at Expo Square.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation announced at a press conference Friday its name will replace QuikTrip's above the door at the fairgrounds.

Fred Perry, with the board, said Muscogee (Creek) Nation will pay $120,000 per month, which is about $1.44 million a year for the naming rights. QuikTrip had been paying about $225,000 each year, according to a QuikTrip spokesman. It also gives the group a say in what happens to the location of the old Drillers Stadium, though Chief George Tiger said it will not be a casino.

The agreement also, for now, ends live horse racing at Fair Meadows.

"It has been a financial drain," said Perry. "It costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold the live meets. We end up in the hole by a considerable amount of money."

Perry said the new agreement increases Expo Square's baseline by $250,000 right away and also opens up the eastern side of the fairgrounds to other income possibilities.

Chief George Tiger called the new arrangement a "win win" and said Muscogee (Creek) Nation continues to support the horse racing community.

"We feel that particular part of it can be continuing in other places," said Chief Tiger.

Owner of Fair Meadows Ron Shotts attended Muscogee (Creek) Nation's press conference and said "the future was the brightest" with this new arrangement.

A concerned member of the horse racing community phoned Channel 8 and said she feels the end of horse racing in the area is devastating to some families.

QuikTrip's agreement with the fair board ends in December. QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said QuikTrip entered the agreement five years ago when it was launching its QuikTrip Kitchens and the organization wanted to help taxpayers during a tough financial time.

"Things have changed and now we've got to move a new person in there," said Thornbrugh.