Locals and visitors did not waste any time breaking in the new Brazos County Exposition Complex and County officials could not have been more pleased.
All smiles on Saturday, Brazos County Judge Randy Sims said after years of setbacks, looking at the facility and hearing the compliments made it worth while.
"I'm very excited about it and I was very excited about it when I walked through with contestants," Sims said.
The county’s Director of Special Events Tom Quarles was equally proud of the reactions he noticed from visitors.
"When they drove up and saw it, it was wow and most of them felt like it was awesome,” Quarles said. “And they felt like it was as good as or better than any of the other facilities they had been at."
Privileged enough to be the first to use the new complex was Texas A&M University’s Saddle and Sirloin Club.
Club advisor and Animal Science Professor David Forrest said the group felt honored to inaugurate the impressive facility.
"It is very spacious, well equipped and very modern facility that should attract a number of groups to hold events here in this facility."
County officials say that was plan behind the 2000 bond proposal that brought the Exposition Complex into existence.
"It will give us an opportunity to do larger and bigger events," Sims said.
Sitting on 50 of the 159 acres purchased by the county are three venues: a 50,000 square foot exhibit hall, a 65,000 square foot pavilion, and a 75,000 square foot covered arena.
All together they make up an attraction site organizations are looking for to host their functions.
Many of which are not wasting any time and reserving the venues well in advance.
"We've booked a lot of shows for 2008, 2009," Quarles said. "And we're even booking shows for 2010."
During A&M’s Futurities Show there was nothing but high praise from those whom were the first to stump around the grounds and take advantage of the amenities.
Hannah Browning, a show exhibitor from Bremond said the facility ranked high in her book because of the careful thought planners put into keeping the facility cool.
"It's really nice to have fans which facilities because most don't
have fans," Browning said.
Bryan 4H Club member and exhibitor Emily Smith said the facility offered choices.
"Show rings and different varieties and you know its cool and so nice to be in," Smith said.
Saturday’s competition caused San Antonio exhibitor Isaia Gamez to make his first trip to Brazos County.
He said the Exposition Complex definitely impressed him.
"If I would compare it to others, this one is probably bigger than a lot across the state," Gamez said.
Officials hope the opening of the Brazos County Exposition Complex is a message to bigger cities across Texas that they have some fierce competition.