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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2000

Ryan Cuts Ribbon For Multi-Purpose Arena At State Fairgrounds

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Governor George H. Ryan today opened the new multi-purpose arena on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The 240,000 square foot arena will be home to the National High School Finals Rodeo later this month.

"This arena will be a tremendous asset, not only to the State Fair, but to Springfield and the entire state," Ryan said. "The design of this facility doesn't limit its use only to rodeo or livestock events. With this facility, Springfield will become home to motorcycle races, horse shows and contests, concerts and a variety of other exhibitions."

The National High School Finals Rodeo is expected to attract 100,000 people to the State Fairgrounds July 23-30 and have a $12 million economic impact on the Springfield area.

The Illinois Motorcycle Dealers' Association has entered a five year commitment to host races in the arena. The schedule for the facility also currently includes a dressage show, barrel racing, rodeo events and horse shows.

"The architects, contractors and their crews have worked tirelessly to build us a beautiful and flexible facility in a very limited amount of time," said Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton. "This new facility is the crowning jewel that makes the Illinois State Fairgrounds unrivaled for the variety and size of events we can host."

Construction on the $9.6 million multi-purpose facility began immediately following the 1999 Illinois State Fair. Architects designed the facility to blend with its surroundings in the fairgrounds' west hollow. Because of that effort, the arena is nestled in a valley below two groves of trees and features terraced hillside seating to the north. Grandstand seating on the south side of the facility can accommodate 5,000 people.


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