Sand Springs Round Up Club holds emergency clean up day; hopes to keep arena open
SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (KTUL) -- A group of cowboys and cowgirls saddled up and went to work on their local arena.
Jessye Sullins has been riding at the Sand Springs Round Up Club rodeo arena since she was five years old. Now, she is worried it won't be around for her three-year-old daughter.
"We are trying to get it to look a little nicer, fixing the bleachers and painting the concession stand and making it look prime and pristine," Sullins said.
She and others are working on improvements and not giving up hope even though the city council voted to close the arena.
"All my firsts were pretty much here," Sullins said. "The first time I ran my horse happened here. So having it demolished is kind of heartbreaking for me."
The city wants to demolish the arena, but riders are still working and fixing what they can.
"I have been around this property all morning, every gate seems to swing open and shut, there is nothing broken, nothing falling off the hinges," member Jared Brown said.
Posted on the city's website is the request to demolish the arena in October. One problem listed is the broken down 35-year-old bleachers.
Also on the site, the use agreement, saying maintaining the grounds is the responsibility of the city.
"I think there has been a break down of communication of what needs to be done by whom," Brown said.
President of the Round Up Club, Richard Howes says the city hasn't been out in two years to update or repair anything on the grounds.
Regardless of who is supposed to do what, this group of people decided to cowboy up and spend the holiday weekend proving to the city they deserve another season to saddle up in this arena.
"I am standing here looking at this place and it is an amazing arena," Brown said.
The city says it would cost $10,000 to tear down the arena they are determined to try and save.
"Instead of spending $10,000 to demolish it, why don't we have the city spend $10,000 to promote it," Brown said.
Instead of waiting on demolition day, the club is looking to boost membership and attendance at upcoming shows.
Brown has started a petition to keep the arena open.