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Edmond kicks up excitement

The world’s best cowboys come to Edmond, Okla., each March to compete in ProRodeo’s Wrangler Timed Event Championship of the World, drawing about 5,000 fans for three days of roping, wrestling, heeling and heading in the Lazy E Arena.

“Some of our largest events are held in Lazy E, which is considered one of the top-ranked indoor arenas in the country,” said Cathy Williams-White, director of the Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Set on 30 acres, it has 70,000 square feet of clear-span space, seating for 7,233, and meeting and dining space for 250 in the upscale Roper’s Cantina.”

With a population of 78,000, this northeast suburb of Oklahoma City is a university town known for top-notch meeting and athletic facilities at the 16,000-student University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), several championship golf courses and some 200 restaurants.

“Since we are adjacent to Oklahoma City, we can offer meeting planners the amenities of a major metropolitan area without the hassles,” said Williams-White. “We are safe, affordable, and the parking is easy.”
The city’s largest meeting venue is UCO’s Nigh University Center, with a 9,000-square-foot ballroom, tiered seating for 500 in the 5,500-square-foot Constitution Hall auditorium and 20 meeting rooms for groups of up to 80.

The Disabled Volleyball World Championships was held this summer at the University of Central Oklahoma, which is known for its programs for athletes with physical disabilities.

Courtesy University of Central Oklahoma

“We have a great partnership with UCO,” said Williams-White. “Since they don’t really market to outside groups, we do the outreach for them. They also bring good business to us: For example, their Great Expectations program brings in 500 teachers four to five times a year.

“We also host more disabled sports events than anyone else in the market, as UCO has a program to support athletes with physical disabilities and serves as an official U.S. Paralympics Training Site,” she said.
Each June, disabled amateur athletes from 30 states and several countries attend the multisport Endeavor Games at UCO, which will also host 3,000 people for the 10-day Disabled Volleyball World Championships in July 2010.

These events more than fill the city’s 680 hotel rooms, a number that will increase in the next 18 months as three new hotels open.

“One of the properties will be a full-service Crowne Plaza,” said Williams-White. “We are also developing plans for a new conference center to be built in the next three to five years.”

Groups searching for team building and social outings often find themselves at one of Edmond’s championship golf courses, among them Oak Tree National, Coffee Creek Golf Course and Club, and Cedar Valley Golf Club.

“There are 300 holes of golf within 15 minutes of any hotel room, and we also have great weather that gives us a 10-month golf season,” said Williams-White. “We have hosted several senior and regular PGA championships, and also have a PGA training school here at the university where many PGA professionals come in for continuing education.”

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Next in the Oklahoma Meeting Guide  >> Stillwater’s serious about fun