The sluggish Rio Rancho economy could be getting a much-needed shot in the arm in the next few months, with Santa Ana Star Center in line to have its "busiest four months ever."
Gunnar Fox, general manager for the Star Center, which opened in October 2006, told the Rio Rancho Sports Advisory Council at its meeting Wednesday morning that every weekend through June is booked, except for Christmas.
A "top-of-mind" booking strategy was used for seven of the events, which are expected to attract more than 86,000 visitors. Numerous weekend bookings include hockey games and indoor football games; two of the most-popular events are May graduation ceremonies for Cleveland (May 17) and Rio Rancho (May 18) high schools.
That's not only good news for the City of Rio Rancho and Global Spectrum, which manages the facility for the city, but also for local hotels and motels, restaurants, gas stations and many retailers.
Still, noted Matt Geisel, director for the city's Convention & Visitors Bureau, "It's going to be hard for us to beat the last fiscal year - the best ever."
Here's a list of many of the events scheduled for the next several months; for more information, including ticket prices, visit santaanastarcenter.com.
Thursday, Dec. 1: Mannheim Steamroller concert.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Winterfest, with a public ice-skating session, Ovations food tasting, and a New Mexico Mustangs' hockey game.
Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 28-30: Inaugural New Mexico American Indian Classic basketball tournament and education fair.
Saturday, Jan. 7: 50-cent hot dog night at the New Mexico Mustangs' game.
Saturday, Jan. 14: Rocky Mountain Nationals wrestling.
Saturday, Jan. 21: "Taste of Rio Rancho," with Mustangs hockey.
Friday-Sunday, Jan. 27-29: New Mexico Stampede (rodeo).
Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5: Home show.
Thursday, Feb. 9: Bill Gaither (American singer and songwriter of southern gospel and contemporary Christian music.)
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18: High school state wrestling championships.
Sunday, Feb. 26: Opening night for the New Mexico Stars (IFL).
Weds. Through Sunday, Feb. 29-March 4: Cirque du Soleil's "Dralion."
Tues. through Thursday, March 6-8: High school state basketball tournament.
Wednesday, March 14: Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham.
Friday and Saturday, March 16-17: Monster trucks.
Friday and Saturday, March 23-24: State high school spirit competition.
Wednesday, March 28: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Beethoven's Last Night."