Central attraction

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo The Curry County Events Center can seat 3,000 people in the stands and the dirt floor can be covered to be used as standing room.

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

Though technically a money-loser, the Curry County Special Events Center is serving its intended purpose.

And, according to managers of the center and county officials, the facility is set to move into a new phase of operation when the summer comes to a close.

The events center has a projected loss of $113,452 during its first six months of operation. The figure does not include a $48,000 fee — $8000 per month paid to Global Spectrum to manage the building.

“It was not a surprise to us. Putting on an event is costly, but the county is not in this to make a profit and everyone you talk to says that event centers are not profit-makers,” Curry County Manager Lance Pyle said. “It’s a quality-of-life issue for the residents of Curry County. The ideal thing is to break even but this is the first year of operations.

“Right now, Global Spectrum and I are keeping a very close look on expenses and revenue for the facility and we are monitoring that weekly. We’re going to control those costs,” Pyle added. “But we want the residents of Curry County, who footed this bill, to be able to enjoy it.”

In February, a few events were booked into the events center, before it was officially given its grand opening on April 18th with a Centennial Celebration and a concert by country group Little Texas.

Since then, the site has played host to the annual Pioneer Days PRCA Rodeo, a separate calf-roping event, the high school state rodeo and a Cowgirls Rodeo Association (CGRA) barrel racing competition.

“A lot of these things are built for the betterment of the community and wider economic growth,” said Kevin Jolley, interim manager of the Curry County Events Center and an employee of Global Spectrum. “You look at the calf roping with Joe’s Boot Shop and 98 percent of the people in that were from out-of-town. They bought fuel, they ate food, they generated a lot of money.”

Jolley actually lives in Corpus Christi, Texas and keeps in contact with the events center through frequent trips, phone calls and more.

“They have hired two employees that are residents of Clovis. And Kevin Jolley is always easy to reach by cell phone or e-mail, but I think, for a longer contract, the manager does need to live in Curry County,” Pyle said.

The original agreement with Global Spectrum, which also manages bookings for the City of Clovis’ Civic Center, was only for six months.

Curry County issued a request for proposal for a long-term management company in June. Pyle hopes to have a recommendation for the winner of that bid in late July or early August.

Jolley said the short-term arrangement is unique for Global Spectrum, which manages more than 80 facilities nationwide. Jolley said Global Spectrum will submit a bid for the long-term contract.

Meanwhile, work on the Curry County Events Center continues, according to Pyle.

Pyle said a $119,000, four-sided scoreboard is being shipped; a $123,000 portable stage has just arrived; and the county is also working to finish the parking lot — among other amenities.

Last weekend, the center played host to Dairy Fest. Pyle said warm temperatures in the facility were a repercussion of how successful the event was.

“When you get 9,000 people in a facility, they can warm it up pretty fast,” he said. “But there was a great turnout and it was a great, great event.”