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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

34. Pan American Arena

Located north of the Food and Fiber Building, Pan American Arena has its origins going back to the turn of the century, but details remain elusive. The structure received renovations, especially to its exterior so it could match the surrounding buildings, in preparation for the centennial celebration. Originally called Livestock Coliseum, it was transformed into a roller skating rink during 1941. It has since become a place to watch live shows during the state fair. Officials have gotten into the routine of providing two regular attractions and one temporary show. The permanent productions currently presented at the arena are a dog show and a series of pig races.
Dallas Fair Park - Pan American Arena
Pan American Arena
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show is provided by Lou Mack, the owner of a Las Vegas company called CoolDog Productions. Operating since 1982, the business rescues stray canines and trains them at a two-acre facility. The dogs perform tricks such as frisbee catching, hurdle racing, and long jumping. In addition to entertaining audiences, the shows are used to promote adoption and stress the importance of controlling the pet population.

The pig races first arrived on the scene in 2005. The swine are provided by Joe Hedrick, a man who owns an exotic animal farm in Nickerson, Kansas. People are invited to take a tour of the facility and interact with a variety of animals including kangaroos, yaks, antelopes, ostriches, porcupines, zebras, camels, giraffes, and many more. In addition to the farm, Hedrick also has a bed and breakfast hotel with animal-themed rooms. He provides four-legged participants for petting zoos, camel rides, zebra races, live theatrical productions, and pony rides.

Joe Hedrick brought ostrich races to the state fair in 2013, replacing a dog show called The Amazing Dobermans. Twenty-four arrived for the daily event, but took turns throughout the season racing against each other. The jockeys riding on top only had a single pad to hang onto because the ostriches had no reigns. The whole attraction lasted for two years.

The latest visiting production was called The Lone Star Horse Spectacular. Narrated by actor Barry Corbin, it told the story of Texas using the six flags motif. In addition to the horse riding stunts, there were singers, dancers, and a bullwhip artist. It will be replaced in 2016 by a show about the Old West.

Behind the arena, there is a large area filled with stables for the horses used by the local cops. It also contains a special museum that pays tribute to the history of the K-9 and mounted units of
Dallas. A section of the building on the right side of the arena hosts a petting zoo. Its animals come directly from the animal farm owned by Joe Hedrick. Next door, a corral serves a the location of horse demonstrations and a rodeo for kids.


December 23, 2016
© Clint Skinner
1936 Texas  Centennial  Exposition  in Dallas aerial photo left enlarged
No. 10 - Livestock Building
(
1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas - Aereal photo left)
Click on image for full view
Courtesy Sarah Reveley

FAIR PARK:
Fair Park - Attractions:
1. Fair Park Station
2. Main Entrance
3. Founders Statue
4. Women's Museum
5. DAR House
6. The Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial
7. Sydney Smith Memorial Fountain
8. Music Hall
9. Fair Park Esplanade
10. Centennial Building
11. Automobile Building
12. Hall of State
13. Tower Building
14. Big Tex Circle
15. Grand Place
16. Old Mill Inn
17. Magnolia Lounge
18. Hall of Religion
19. African American Museum
20. Leonhardt Lagoon
21. Dallas Museum of Natural History
22. Science Place I
23. Children's Aquarium
24. Fair Park Bandshell
25. Texas Discovery Gardens
26. WRR Headquarters
27. Science Place II
28. The Texas Star
29. Cotton Bowl Stadium
30. The Texas Skyway
31. The Embarcadero
32. The Creative Arts Building
33. Food and Fiber Building
34. Pan American Arena
35. The Woofus
36. The Swine Building
37. Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center
38. Livestock Pavilion and Arena
39. The Horse Barn
40. Fair Park Coliseum
41. Top of Texas Tower


References:
1.Bigtex.com
2.Dallashistory.org
3.Dallas Morning News Archives
4.Fairpark.org
5.Slate, John H. Historic Dallas Parks. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
6.Tshaonline.org
7.Watermelon-kid.com
8.Wikipedia.org
8.Winters, Willis Cecil. Fair Park. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.

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