Absolutely no horse sense

Arena managers let a popular money-maker gallop out of Augusta

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What a tragedy. Augusta has lost a major attraction and economic generator - the National Barrel Horse Association's Open and Senior World Championships.

This event, over its 17-year history, has brought more than 22,000 horses and their handlers to Augusta. In addition, it has brought thousands of spectators. In economic benefit, it has brought millions and millions of dollars.

What happened? The managers of the James Brown Arena essentially encouraged the championships to leave for Perry, Ga., after the event's long and wonderful ride in the Garden City.

After the James Brown Arena's bid to host the event this year wasn't even in the ballpark with other cities' - and it didn't seem to faze the arena's management one bit.

It's happened in the NBHA's home town, to boot: The association was founded right here in Augusta and is headquartered here.

Moreover, the world championships are exactly that: This is an international event that has helped put Augusta on the map. Competitors come from every state, and teams of competitors have come from Brazil, Australia, Panama, Canada, Italy, France and more. The world's highest-regarded equine publications have visited Augusta and done articles on the show. There's a live webcast that gets the Augusta name out to the world; and afterward, show programs, bumper stickers, jackets, T-shirts and other items that have the Augusta name on them get carried home by the competitors.

The economic damage done to the community by the show's departure is measurable. Last year's championships brought in up to 10,000 fans, more than 700 horses and several crew members for each horse, leaving a $1.4 million impact on this area, according to the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The current Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority didn't hire management company Global Spectrum in 2008. But it's this Coliseum Authority's solemn obligation to make sure the arena is being operated in the community's best interests.

It isn't - and it's clear why.

If the Global Spectrum people running your civic center are concerned only with turning a quick buck, as a third-party out-of-town company is, then they don't have the best interests of the community at heart.

If Global Spectrum managers actually cared about the community, they would see beyond their own profit-and-loss statements. They would keep an eye on the greater good. Taking in a tidy sum of money can't be the sum total of what a civic center does. It must also understand, appreciate and exercise its ability to stimulate the local economy with out-of-town visitors to its events.

A third-party manager whose mission is to maximize profits - even at the expense of local events - certainly isn't serving the community's interests. Sometimes the community's interests and the civic center's narrow interests diverge. This is where a third-party manager serves itself, rather than the rest of us.

Cities and counties work very hard and spend lots of money to attract new events to their towns. And why? Because it pays to do so. Regional and national conventions and competitions bring economic vitality, filling up local hotels, restaurants and event facilities, while growing the community's reputation.

After all that work to lure new events and attractions to town, why would you even consider taking established events for granted and basically telling them to hit the road?

How shortsighted. How incompetent. How tragic.

Comments (33) Add comment
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Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 10/02/10 - 10:07 pm
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Global Spectrum is the best

Global Spectrum is the best thing that ever happened to the Augusta Richmond County Civic Center...and it is a dad-gum shame that Mr. Morris apparently ordered this hit piece run because his pony show went to Perry.

Now...who was it that LIED to me personally SEVERAL times about why this event was leaving? The excuses given publicly for MONTHS was that the group wanted to stretch out a bit, and an in-depth TV report I saw the other night featured a quote from the NBHA boss...based here in Augusta...saying that they wanted a venue where their horses could be stored on site, rather than having them ferried back and forth between the CC and the Hippodrome.

This was a GREAT event, and I hate to see it go...but why in the world would the NBHA people LIE for the last six months about why they were leaving IF they want to now blame Global Spectrum.

This thing stinks to high heaven, and it ain't the Authority or Global Spectrum that is responsible for the "floater in the pool"...

blues550
380
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blues550 10/02/10 - 10:29 pm
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10000 whole people over how
Unpublished

10000 whole people over how many days? Except for watching Pure Country on cable I don't think anybody in this area cares about barrel horse racing. Throw a jockey on their back and open a race track. The Comical was against that. Tragedy? You have to be kidding!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/02/10 - 10:52 pm
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ACES wrote: What a tragedy. .

ACES wrote:

What a tragedy. . . . What happened? The managers of the James Brown Arena essentially encouraged the championships to leave for Perry, Ga., after the event's long and wonderful ride in the Garden City. After the James Brown Arena's bid to host the event this year wasn't even in the ballpark with other cities' - and it didn't seem to faze the arena's management one bit.

I don't think so. Billy is trying a shakedown in the manner of Jesse Jackson. But I say, "Hurrah!" to Global Spectrum and to the Coliseum Authority at holding firm on their bid for the barrel horse competition. Now that the Coliseum is gaining high-class acts, there is no need to grovel at Morris' feet and give him a lower-than-market price for his show. Let the market rule. The folks in Perry want the barrel horse competition; then let them have it.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 10/02/10 - 11:10 pm
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Free markets, baby. Win some,

Free markets, baby. Win some, lose some.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 10/02/10 - 11:11 pm
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Allowing the NBHA event to

Allowing the NBHA event to leave without a replacement seems a little odd. On the other hand, if Global Spectrum have a superior replacement, well, that's their job.
Time moves on.

corgimom
36521
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corgimom 10/02/10 - 11:54 pm
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"If the Global Spectrum

"If the Global Spectrum people running your civic center are concerned only with turning a quick buck, as a third-party out-of-town company is, then they don't have the best interests of the community at heart."

As in, the JB Arena is expected to turn a profit? Now, that's a novel idea!

sjgraci
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sjgraci 10/03/10 - 03:01 am
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Uh Oh, sounds like Billy

Uh Oh, sounds like Billy didn't get his way :'(

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 10/03/10 - 07:01 am
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Little Lamb, the difference

Little Lamb, the difference between "high class acts" and the NBHA event is that the 10,000 or so people involved come from OUTSIDE the area, which means they spend money on hotels, restaurants, fuel and other items. The people who attend concerts are 99% local who drive in from home, attend the show and drive back home with little or no financial impact on the surrounding area. I personally think the management has done a great job of bringing acts to Augusta, but there needs to be a balance and they need to look at the big picture, not just the financials for their venue. We will miss this event in Augusta.

Riverman1
90291
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Riverman1 10/03/10 - 07:36 am
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The event has a big impact on

The event has a big impact on Augusta. These are outside, money spending, quality guests. It's one of those times when the authority, Commission and Global should have figured out what it would take to keep the event here. I'm not blaming Global because they are doing what they are supposed to do, but it's the authority that has to become involved in these type situations.

truthteller
0
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truthteller 10/03/10 - 07:51 am
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Sounds like the powers that

Sounds like the powers that be aren't happy with how the free enterprise system works. Imagine that!

Riverman1
90291
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Riverman1 10/03/10 - 08:21 am
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Free enterprise? These are

Free enterprise? These are cities putting up bids to host the event. That's exactly why the Commission, Authority and Global should have sat down together and figured out how to keep it here. Where was the Commission in all this?

Austin Rhodes
2970
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Austin Rhodes 10/03/10 - 08:45 am
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This news (losing the event)

This news (losing the event) broke MONTHS ago...and we have been told by NBHA officials that it was more an issue over LOGISTICS than anything else.

So WHO IS LYING NOW...AND WHY ?

Attacking Global Spectrum over this is complete HORSE CRAP !

Pun intended.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 10/03/10 - 08:51 am
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I never quite understood the

I never quite understood the logic of having anything in an indoor arena that requires trucking in tons of dirt (horses, motocross,etc). I can only imagine how much dust and dirt ends up on the beams, rafters, and in every nook and cranny throughout the entire building.

Austin Rhodes
2970
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Austin Rhodes 10/03/10 - 09:07 am
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As a former Authority member,

As a former Authority member, I can attest to the toll such events have on a facility...but it is the cost of doing business...and for the most part...it is worth it...

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 10/03/10 - 09:16 am
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Can you imagine how much dust

Can you imagine how much dust and dirt the attendees breathe during such an event? It's also probably mixed with oil and gas during something like motocross and horse excrement during those events. Makes me really want to attend.

dichotomy
36186
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dichotomy 10/03/10 - 09:18 am
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It's a shame the event is

It's a shame the event is leaving Augusta, but I completely understand them wanting a site where the horses could be housed on site. I am sure the cost of the facility played a big part in the decision too. However, I think Global Spectrum has done a pretty good job of doing what they were hired to do. I am sure that when we hired them to operate the facility at a profit that we did not include the stipulation "except for certain events where we expect you to take a loss". Both sides did what was best for them and my only complaint is that maybe someone should have talked to our local government to see if Augusta may have wanted to subsidize the difference in the cost of the two facilities for the benefit of the local economy. Or better yet, maybe some wealthy benefactor could have kicked in the difference.........Billy. At any rate, I am sure the participants will find that being able to house the horses on site will be much better for them. And at a lower price, well....it just makes sense.

Riverman1
90291
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Riverman1 10/03/10 - 09:39 am
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Austin Rhodes said, "As a

Austin Rhodes said, "As a former Authority member..."

Heh, heh, heh. Old Austin is going to have that put in his obituary one day.

Little Lamb
47923
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Little Lamb 10/03/10 - 09:40 am
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Riverman is my hero, and I

Riverman is my hero, and I usually agree with him. But I am troubled by this reasoning:

The event has a big impact on Augusta. . . . It's one of those times when the authority, Commission and Global should have figured out what it would take to keep the event here.

This “whatever it takes” mantra can be counterproductive. If taxpayers pick up the tab for the Coliseum rental and who knows what other expenses (promotion, cleanup costs, etc.) just so some restauranteurs and innkeepers get some extra business, the net economic impact to the overall county can just as easily be negative as positive.

Riverman1
90291
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Riverman1 10/03/10 - 09:50 am
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LL, I lub you, too, but we

LL, I lub you, too, but we can disagree now and then. I suppose it all comes down to the concept of whether government should even build arenas and so on. I've got mixed feelings on that, but since this one is already here, I'm working from that perspective.

Of course I totally understand your Ayn Rand instilled view that means you will stick to principles of private enterprise.

The thing is we are talking getting some money from the drunk cowboys at the end of the cattle drive and not whether Howard Roark should let the you know what get him down.

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 10/03/10 - 11:08 am
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GLOBAL SPECTRUM is the best

GLOBAL SPECTRUM is the best thing to happen to the civic center (JBA) & the bell auditorium in a long, long time.....

kinda funny to see the chronicle so upset that their event chose to move to another location......

i'm assuming that this was a money losing operation here, right?

if it's really about local economics... then why not support the new downtown stadium?

ColCo
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ColCo 10/03/10 - 11:07 am
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Billy needed a scapegoat for

Billy needed a scapegoat for moving the event and Global Spectrum was it. Would Morris continue to publish a newspaper "for the good of the community" if he had no advertisers, i really don't think so. Perry is very close to the home of lame duck governor Sonny Perdue, so I would imagine there is much more to the move than just a more competitive bid.

reader54
307
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reader54 10/03/10 - 11:13 am
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Show horse owners =

Show horse owners = prosperity. I think that the CSRA(gov.&business) suffers a major revenue hit with this move. And to lose to a one horse town!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/03/10 - 11:25 am
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Although I hate to see this

Although I hate to see this event leave, and perhaps more could have been done to keep them here, I must say that the entertainment offerings at The Civic Center have greatly improved since Global Spectrum took over operations.

sillywabbit
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sillywabbit 10/03/10 - 12:46 pm
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nice pun, reader54

nice pun, reader54

sueboo418
37
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sueboo418 10/03/10 - 01:50 pm
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I agree with Riverman1 8:36am

I agree with Riverman1 8:36am post. It's funny to read what people say when they THINK they know what they are talking about.

Little Lamb
47923
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Little Lamb 10/03/10 - 02:07 pm
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At first blush Coco's post

At first blush Coco's post seems off-topic, but you can see where he is coming from regarding Billy Morris:

If it's really about local economics... then why not support the new downtown stadium?

Well, may I say that a new downtown stadium paid for by taxpayers, with any postulated cash flow going to a for-profit baseball enterprise, is a negative for local economics. Sure, it's money for nothing for Cal Ripken; but it's nothing for money for the taxpayers.

ripjones
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ripjones 10/03/10 - 05:38 pm
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As I wrote 17 hours ago "This

As I wrote 17 hours ago "This is old news. It has alot to do about logistics - where the event is, and where the horses are having to be kept. The new location just works better." And I saw that Austin even copied my word -- logistics. The Futurity will follow, and for the same reasons.

fred1
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fred1 10/03/10 - 08:28 pm
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It's the agriculture based

It's the agriculture based arena stupid! No driving to and fro, no loading and unloading the horses, no pavement surrounded area for horses to walk over. Perry has a better arena for horse events, not to mention better interstate access from Atlanta, Macon and Valdosta. It's the arena stupid!

corgimom
36521
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corgimom 10/04/10 - 06:45 am
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Help me out here. How did

Help me out here.

How did the barrel races bring in 10,000 fans when the JB Arena only seats 4,000?

corgimom
36521
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corgimom 10/04/10 - 06:50 am
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I worked at the first cutting

I worked at the first cutting horse Futurity. I never saw so much money in all my life. But many of the guests and purchasers didn't like the arrangements- those horses are worth thousands of dollars, they don't like their horses to be far away from them in NA, and they REALLY didn't like the area surrounding the arena.

For some strange reason, they felt uncomfortable walking around with thousands of dollars of cash downtown. And that was years ago, when Augusta was nothing like it is now.

Why would they feel that way?

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