Once a destination for good rodeo and entertainment, the Madisonville Sidewalk Cattlemen’s Association rodeo arena on North May Street is scheduled to be torn down.
MSCA President Matt Clark the arena, which was built sometime in the 1950s or 60s, is in really bad shape, making maintenance a problem, and it has been an eyesore for some time.
“Since it’s not a covered arena, no one wants to have any events there,” he said. “It’s a huge liability. We would hate to see kids playing on that thing and end up hurt.”
The once-wooden stadium seats had been replaced with metal, but with the passage of time, attendance dropped, and no one wants to book events there, he said.
“Years ago, when I was a kid, there were wooden seats, but they had rotted away,” he said. “When there was a rodeo there, every seat was filled. It was a big deal. But there are nicer facilities in the area that are covered, and that’s where people are going.”
It was about seven or eight years ago since there was a rodeo, Clark said.
“I’ve been involved with the organization 10 years, and the last couple of rodeos we had there, if we only lost a few thousand dollars it had been a pretty good night,” he said. “It was not working out.”
He said that the process of tearing it down will help pave the way for other uses for both the land and the materials.
“We’re going to use the majority of the materials to rebuild the front fence to make a nice entrance,” Clark said. “Once we get it dismantled, and the area mowed and looking nice, we’re planning to expand the area for the annual barbecue cook-off.”
He said the association is going to trade some of the material to a local contractor for some dozer work and to clean up the creek bed to make the MSCA pavilion a little more noticeable, and make the land easier to take care of.
“A lot of people are upset we’re tearing this down, and I’m one of them,” Clark said. “I hate to see it go. It’s been there my entire life. It’s a sad thing, but we’re hoping that once it’s down we’ll be able to put that property to better use.”
Clark said the MSCA would like to build a better facility for the cook-off down the road, because as of now, the cook-off organizers are using an old dairy barn with dirt floors in it.
“We would like to build an open-air facility to rent out to the public for local events,” he said. There are years of history in the old facility, but the time has come to clean it up.”