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“We risked losing customers,” said Mike Cole, looking out over the aging bleachers of the arena at Lincoln County Fairgrounds.


With only 2,200 seats available but almost 5,000 tickets sold each year, folks had to sit on the steep slope behind, crammed into each other while the Rodeo or the Bull Thing played below.

The arena was established in the late 1970s, making current seating almost 50 years old. Mike, who is president of the Tobacco Valley Rodeo Association (TVRA), came up with the idea of adding more bleachers – but this time they would be made of concrete.

In August 2019, TVRA awarded Kootenai Sand & Gravel continuation of a contract that will add another almost 1,200 seats to the arena. Kootenai prepares the ground, lays coarse and fine fill, then compacts it before placing each huge precast concrete section into place.

The job has to be finished by late August, which is when this year’s Bull Thing will take place. “Kootenai’s doing a really fine job,” says Mike.

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