Cowboys, archers and Republicans are among those who have booked Davis County's new Legacy Center into the summer although the indoor arena is still a month away from officially opening.
The $3.6 million arena, located on the Davis County Fairgrounds in Farmington, will complement the fairground's outdoor arena and provide seating for 2,200 - or 4,500 with temporary floor seating, Jody Gray, the county's fairpark director, said.Proposals for the arena originally came from the equestrian community, especially local 4-H leaders. But as planners designed the center, they focused on making it a multipurpose center, Gray said.
"It's incredible," she said. "It will add a lot more diversity to the uses of the fairgrounds."
The events already scheduled include an archery tournament, a circus and the Davis County Republican Convention, she said. In the future, Gray imagines the center hosting garden and wedding shows, art fairs or volleyball tournaments.
The focus of the arena will still be on horses, though. Already, a national team- penning and roping competition has been scheduled, and rodeo events will comprise a major portion of the opening-day ceremonies, Gray said. Additionally, 4-H will use the arena quite heavily, both winter and summer.
No other indoor horse arena exists nearby, which is one of the primary reasons the county built the Legacy Center.
The nearest public ones are in Ogden or Spanish Fork, she said. Both the E Center and Delta Center are privately owned and tend to only host the bigger events.
Requests to rent the arena have come at a rapid pace, Gray said. Already, it is booked well into May, and weekends in summer and fall have started to fill. They even had to cancel a couple of pre-opening events, mainly horse shows, because recent poor weather has stalled construction.
One of the benefits will be the involvement of the people who don't typically attend fair events, which is why she hopes for non-traditional events - such as a volleyball tournament - to attract more people to the fairgrounds.
The arena will also host music concerts, and Gray said negotiations are under way with national touring acts, such as country musician Wade Hayes.
Within the equestrian community, the Legacy Center has created a buzz. Now, people can ride year-round where previously riding was nearly impossible in the winter and almost unbearable in the summer, said Steve Jackson, the director of Davis County's 4-H program.
"Instead of listening to somebody preach, these kids can get on the horses and ride during the winter months," he said. "We see this as a great advantage."
Funds for the construction came from the county's restaurant and hotel taxes, said Wilf Sommer-korn, Davis County's community development director. By attracting new, more diverse events to the county, the hospitality industry will greatly benefit, he said.
"It's a multipurpose facility and can be used for a variety of things," Sommerkorn said. "Along with horse shows, we will get regional conferences and new sporting events."
Variety was the key for the arena's use, Davis County Commissioner Daniel McConkie said.
"We felt that this was a place we needed, where events could happen and people could gather," he said. "It turned out really beautiful, and a variety of things can happen in there. I think it's cool, man."