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Where agriculture and business meet

Ada has long had a reputation for being a center of culture and agriculture for rural Oklahoma. Though often recognized for the beautiful Eastern Central University campus, a world-class fine arts center and a blossoming arts district, Ada is also the home of country singer Blake Shelton, the recently renovated historic McSwain Theatre, and the impressive new headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation.

It all began in the mid-1930s with the Work Progress Administration of Roosevelt's New Deal and the institution of the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose goal was to teach new skills and provide jobs for the unemployed. The CCC project in Ada was the keystone for what is now known as the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex Convention Center.

Along with the creation of a stone amphitheater at Ada's famous Withersmith Park, the CCC also constructed the convention center building and built the original concrete bleachers still in use at the Agri-Plex Arena.

Agri-plex General Manager Victor Bolen says, "Some of the Midwest's most exciting events take place at the Agri-Plex. Hardly a weekend goes by that we aren't playing host to a team roping championship, cutting horse futurity, a tractor pull, motorcycle event, rodeo or a concert. We are the site of several major events like the bi-annual National Mule Sales which draws people from as far away as California and Kentucky, the World Championship Rodeo Bullfights and the Cord McCoy PBR Invitational.

"Our all-purpose arena, large and small animal barns and our outdoor arena are well known throughout High Plains Journal's circulation area; but, you may not know that our convention facilities are a great place to hold a business function or trade show."

When you visit this complex you cannot help but agree, and the convention industry is beginning to take notice for smaller group events. The 12,000 square foot Convention Center is heated and air conditioned and has theater seating for 1,000, and banquet seating for 750. Facilities include three kitchens, a stage and sound system, as well as convenient restrooms. Break-out rooms line the hallway which has its own notable work of art. A mural by local artist Freda Flatt expresses the history of Pontotoc County from 1900 to 2000, artfully highlighting places, people and points of interest.

Whether you are an attendee or a producer, the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex Convention Center in Ada, Okla., is one of the finest facilities in rural Midwest America.

Find out more by calling Pontotoc County Marketing and Tourism at 580-332-2506.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Greater Success Advertising. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.



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