Rodeo dirt fills AT&T Center arena

2,160 tons of soil spread ahead of stock show, rodeo

SAN ANTONIO – The home of the San Antonio Spurs has once again been transformed into the home of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

On Monday morning, 2,160 tons of soil was dumped into the AT&T Center arena.

It takes about 70 large truckloads to move the soil from a storage location on a lot in back of the AT&T Center grounds to the arena.

According to rodeo regulations, the dirt must be 12-14 inches deep throughout. It's watered, chiseled and mixed with sand to maintain the perfect consistency.

Gary Tate, chairman of the Operation Committee for the San Antonio Livestock Exhibition, said it's necessary to prevent injuries.

"Safety for the cowboys when they're thrown off. Safety for the animals when they're out here so that there is enough dirt on the floor that when they're doing their bucking and stuff, they don't fall through and hit the concrete," said Tate.

Every year, the dirt is recycled. It would cost $20,000-$25,000 to bring in new dirt for the rodeo each year. 

Instead, it's stored on a back lot on the grounds of the AT&T Center. The dirt has been stored there since it was purchased 1988.

"(It's the) same dirt every year. Every year, we clean it up, refine it, make it look real good again and then we put it back on the floor for the next year," said Tate.

It takes about eight hours to spread and level the dirt to grade.

The soil will be tested to see if it's up to association standards on Wednesday morning

The Stock Show and Rodeo kicks off on Thursday and runs through March 1.

More information is available at www.sarodeo.com.