For former Oklahoma State Senator and rodeo legend Clem McSpadden, the Lazy E Arena was a second home since Day One.
“Everything about the building and organization is first class with a capital F,” McSpadden said. “It’s the Taj Mahal of the rodeo business, period.”
The arena – just southeast of Guthrie – opened its doors in December 1984 in time for that season’s National Finals Steer Roping to coincide with the National Finals Rodeo, which took place at the arena then called the Myriad in downtown Oklahoma City.
The grand plan was that the two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association championships take place at the same time in the same metropolitan area, and the plan worked – for one year. Since 1985, the NFR has taken place in Las Vegas.
But rodeo and many other championship quality events found a comfortable home in the confines of the Lazy E Arena. Since its inception, the building has hosted world champions, world championships and personalities galore. It’s just what E.K. Gaylord II envisioned when he created the building.
“The folks at the Lazy E can spoil you,” McSpadden said.
“When you’ve got everything on God’s green earth there for you – from the scoreboard to the seating to the sound to the lights, the lack of dust – it’s just great.
“When they opened this deal, I was in my late 50’s, at an age when most people are retiring. But it’s really prolonged my career. It’s just that simple. It’s the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to me in my career.”
The main arena floor is 440 feet-by-160 feet, making it the largest indoor rodeo arena in the world. What started as the host site for the steer roping championship quickly became the epitome of quality rodeo production, starting with the prestigious Timed Event Championship and expanding into Bullnanza events.
The Timed Event Championship features the very best all-around timed-event hands in professional rodeo, including record-breakers like Trevor Brazile, Leo Camarillo, Roy Cooper, Steve Duhon and Guy Allen. Competitors compete in each of the five rodeo timed-event disciplines, and it’s a true test of each cowboy’s athleticism.
Quite possibly the most popular event in the Lazy E’s history is Bullnanza, which was developed in 1988 as a way to showcase the top bull riders in professional rodeo.
The idea was simple, yet unique. The organizers, who included the late Lane Frost – still fresh off his 1987 PRCA bull riding world championship – pitted the best bull riders in the business against the baddest bulls. Each of the 30 contestants put up a $1,000 entry fee, and the Lazy E obtained a sponsorship purse of $10,000 to give the cowboys the opportunity to ride for an unprecedented $40,000.
From those fantastic beginnings, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization was born. Today it thrives as the world’s premier stand-alone bull-riding organization.
“When you look at the lineup, from the Timed Event to the Bullnanza’s, to the Ranch Rodeo to the World’s Greatest Roper, which started last year, you can easily see why the Lazy E stands above all the others,” McSpadden said.
While the building hosts close to 25 lease events per year, Lazy E Productions also produces an additional 12 championship quality events, some at the Lazy E Arena and the others spanning the country. It’s a marriage that has worked rather well for 24 years, and the relationship continues to prosper for a quarter century.
In 2005, Gaylord sold the property to a group from Nevada, but this is no out-of-state, out-of-mind operation. The relatively new ownership group has long recognized not only the tremendous facility, but also the importance of the Lazy E’s place in Rodeo and Oklahoma lore.
The organization’s upper management has a combined 60 years in the field, and the folks in charge have literally worked in the dirt to make sure things are done the right way. Of course, the entire staff is Oklahoma-based, so that pride of workmanship jumps out at spectators as they enter the building.
“I know I’m a little biased, but I’m awfully partial to the Lazy E – about what that organization is and about the kind of people running it,” McSpadden said. “I’m awfully tickled to have been associated with such a wonderful group of people for these many years.”
The Lazy E is more than just a Western sports-event facility. Also part of the formula is the Lazy E Ranch and Training Center, and the arena itself has also hosted many concerts, conventions, wedding receptions, bicycle racing, trade-shows, and dirt-bike racing for years. Inside the building, anyone interested in purchasing official merchandise from this Oklahoma icon can take a gander through Arena Outfitters, a retail store on the southwest corner of the building.
On the third floor, the Lazy E boasts the Roper’s Cantina, a suite that offers upscale services such as a full service bar, catering, and live post-event entertainment while giving the audience an unprecedented view of the action on the arena’s floor.
“I’m very proud to have been part of such a legacy, an Oklahoma legacy, for all these years,” McSpadden said. “It’s truly a special place.”
Of course, it’s like his second home. If you have not experienced an event at the Lazy E, do so – you will not be disappointed and you will be back for more!
Lazy E Arena teams with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to help in the PRCA's donation of over $30,000 worth of Wrangler National Finals Rodeo merchandise to the victims of the Tornados that devistated portions of Oklahoma. The Lazy E was proud to be a part of PRCA's generosity in helping Oklahomans!
Pictured are from left to right: Robin Thomsen, Sponsorship Manager - Lazy E; Stephanie Wright, Human Resources - Lazy E; Sherry Aland, Controller - Lazy E; Sara Murheid, Director of Marketing - PRCA; Tanner Ward, Sponsorship Manager - PRCA; and Robert Simpson, Director of Events - Lazy E.
Lazy E Teams with WSTR and the USTRC to Raise Funds for the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Efforts
The Lazy E Arena in conjunction with the World Series of Team Roping (WSTR) and the United States Team Roping Association (USTRC) are working together to raise funds that will be directly donated to the Oklahoma Red Cross in support for the efforts of relief for the outbreak of tornadoes across Oklahoma.
The World Series of Team Roping Heartland Finale at the Lazy E Arena went on as scheduled last weekend with "All Proceeds" being directly donated to the Oklahoma Red Cross for tornado relief. In addition, the USTRC is also asking members to donate in a joint effort with the WSTR.
The Lazy E Arena which provides a home for many team roping events sanctioned by both organizations is proud to partner with both entities in support of this worthwhile endeavor to raise funds. The Lazy E Arena is very saddened over the weather related events just to the south of the Arena in central Oklahoma that has caused devastation and grief to our extended family of Oklahomans, our employees, colleagues and friends.