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New rodeo facility coming to town

March 28, 2022

The Southeastern Oklahoma State University rodeo team has a proud tradition of winning national championships.

That tradition of excellence will be bolstered by the University’s announcement of a new Rodeo/Agriculture Expo Center, to be constructed on First Street, near the SE softball complex and inside the Crooked Smile Trail. This will replace the Equestrian Center, which is currently located on Ninth Avenue.

An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at the new site on April 25 at 2 p.m., and the public is invited.

“This new multi-purpose facility will be a tremendous asset both to the University and to the community,’’ said Southeastern president Thomas Newsom. “It fits nicely into the campus master plan that we have been developing over the past several months as we continue to build a vision for the future of our University. And these types of projects are not possible without the outstanding support that we continue to receive from our community, alumni, and friends.’’

The improvements will be phased in with the new Rodeo/Agriculture Expo Center completed by late 2022. The project also includes turnout shelters with 40 total runs and pasture shelters in 12 pastures for livestock and horses.

With a 135’ x 225’  lighted outdoor arena, livestock penning, elevated announcer’s booth and bleacher seating for over 500, the rodeo program will have a well-equipped space to practice and host more events.

The project also includes a new 3,800 square-foot structure for a classroom building that provides an office, computer lab, large meeting and classroom space, hospitality kitchen, and a shop area that will serve both the rodeo program and Southeastern as a whole.

“As the Southeastern rodeo coach and graduate of the University, I am very proud that we will be able to utilize the rodeo expo facility for our rodeo team, the  University, and the community,’’ said Christi Braudrick. “This new facility will have a positive economic impact on Durant through the events it can accommodate. And I am very excited about the future of the Southeastern rodeo program.’’

The expo center is just the latest in a number of recent new/renovated campus facility projects, funded by partnerships/private donors, including:

  • The Semple Family Museum of Native American Art, funded by a gift from the Semple family, and located north of the Fine Arts Building and Russell Building on Montgomery/Dunlap Drive
  • Athletics Strength & Conditioning Center, volleyball court in Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels, located next to the SE Barnes & Noble store on University Avenue