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News

2001/06/13

Tunica Arena Provides Top Quality Facilities & Service Horse shows today are all about the horses and the show. It's a big business, and no one understands the in's and out's of the events better than the staff at one of America's newest arenas, right here in Tunica, Mississippi, just 20 miles south of Memphis Tennessee. Led by Roger Newman, assistant director of the Tunica Arena & Exposition Center and a long-time, nationally known expert in the horse business, the staff in Tunica is quickly building a reputation in the horse show industry for quality management and top facilities. In its first six months of operation, Newman has hosted livestock events at the arena including a registered horse sale, team roping event, bull riding competition and registered quarter horse show. Event planners are negotiating multiple-year contracts now that the word is out about the Tunica destination. "One significant item that separates our facility from all others is the fact that we are centrally located in one of the nation's fastest-growing entertainment destinations," Newman said. "In addition to our state-of-the-art arena, we are also home to 10 world-class casino resorts and all the Las Vegas-style entertainment, dining and recreational opportunities that a visitor could want. There aren't many other horse show venues that can offer everything we do." The $24 million arena celebrated its grand opening in August 2000. The facility is the largest indoor arena in Mississippi with 45,000 square feet of climate-controlled exhibit space on the main arena floor. It has a seating capacity of 6,000 and paved parking for 1,100 vehicles, plus 600 additional overflow parking spaces and 66 RV spaces. In addition, the facility has 14 luxury skyboxes, full-service banquet facilities and staff, two outdoor arenas, an adjacent pavilion with an additional 100,000 square feet of exposition area, and advanced public address system. Special features for horse shows include 366 livestock stalls, showers, dressing areas and support services, making the Tunica Arena one of the region's largest covered environments for livestock shows. "Our goal is to provide the best location for horse shows in the region," Newman said. "All of the comments from the management of events we've hosted to date have been very positive." Booger Barter of Booger Barter Productions praised the facility. "The Tunica Arena and Exposition Center is the finest team roping arena in the United States," Barter said. "We exhibit at 20 different arenas from Florida to California and prefer it to all other arenas. "Roger Newman is fantastic to work with and will do anything in the world for us," Barter added. "He and his team stay on top of things, making it easy for us and the exhibitors. He has extensive knowledge of team roping and other horse activities, which is unique to the industry. Putting on an event at the Tunica Arena is practically effortless. I always enjoy working with Roger." Michelle Johnston of the Mid-South Quarter Horse Association also had positive comments about the facilities. "Using the Tunica Arena and Exposition Center has been a very positive experience for us," she said. "In fact, so much so that we have scheduled events for three years in advance. "Roger and all the employees go out of their way to ensure the needs of both the association and the exhibitors are met," she continued. "Roger is very experienced. He understands our needs, makes recommendations and helps us put on a better show. In fact, for our last show, he even built a special outdoor exhibit area just to make some of our exhibitors happy. Because the facility is so good, our shows are growing by leaps and bounds. Exhibitors come from all over the South and from as far away as Connecticut." According to Newman, customer service is mission critical. "Another thing that separates us from other facilities is our service," he said. "We are very service-oriented here, and our goal is to provide excellence at all levels. We have to take better care of our customers than anyone else, and it's my job to make sure that happens." Preparation for an event begins the minute a horse show is booked. Newman and his staff immediately begin figuring out how to accommodate an event's particular needs, from the type of ground preparation that is required, to the configuration of the arenas that will be used. Newman's 30 years of experience in the horse business represents a major added value for the Arena and its customers. "Fortunately, I've been around long enough to know how to satisfy most of the requests and needs that are associated with any type of event," he said. "As a result, we are able to handle anything ranging from the big business requirements of the leading shows to the taking care of smaller events that are geared toward weekend family entertainment. Every type of event is important to us, and thanks to the multi-purpose design of our facility, we are ready to serve our customers with the type of venue that will make their event successful." Newman joined the Tunica Arena last year as plans were being made for its grand opening. His experience includes 13 years as equine center manager in Harriman, Tennessee. With 10 million visitors a year, Tunica has become the nation's third largest gaming destination. The area now has more than 6,000 new hotel rooms, non-stop gaming action, championship golf, fishing and water sports, luxurious day spas, name-brand outlet shopping, and more. In addition, nearby Memphis offers other cultural venues, big-city malls and shopping centers, and the historic Beale Street blues experience. Located at 3873 U.S. Highway 61 North, the arena is owned and managed by Tunica County, Mississippi, and operated by the Tunica County Arena & Exposition Center, Inc., a Mississippi not-for-profit corporation. For sales and event information, call the arena at (662) 363-3299.

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