City Bank Coliseum Rich with History - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/2/08

City Bank Coliseum Rich with History

On Wednesday, Willie Nelson, and a couple thousand of his friends, gathered to celebrate Nelson's 75th birthday at the City Bank Coliseum, along with opening acts Pat Green, 40 Points, and Mike Pritchard.

Wednesday's event is proof that this building has stood the test of time. The City Bank Coliseum, formerly the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, was built in 1956 after the city issued bonds to pay for the construction. It stands next to the City Bank Auditorium, just west of Jones AT&T Stadium.  

From sports teams to musical acts the coliseum has hosted thousands of events. This building seats just more than 7,000 people and has played host to dozens of great artists. Such as country stars: Reba McEntire, George Strait, Tim McGraw and Brooks and Dunn. And rock legends like ZZ Top, Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osborne, Bon Jovi and Metallica. Sammy Hagar began his 1984 V.O.A Tour at the Coliseum and Kiss kicked off their 1990 Hot in the Shade Tour from there as well. And that's just to name a few. Two of probably the most famous artists to perform at the Coliseum were Bob Hope and Elvis.

The Coliseum attracts more than just music lovers; it draws sports fans as well and was once the home court of National Champions. The Lady Raiders and Red Raiders basketball teams played in "The Bubble" for 43 years. Thousands of fans cheered on the Lady Raiders as they won the home games leading up to their NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship Title in 1993. It was an 84-82 victory over Ohio State and Sheryl Swoopes was named Tournament MVP and National Player of the Year. Tech's basketball games moved to the new United Spirit Arena in 1999. 

Another basketball team would play at the Coliseum on their road to a National Championship. In 1966, Texas Western College started the championship game with five black players, which had never been done before. They stunned top ranked Kentucky, and its all white starting lineup, 72-65. The historical move would later become the storyline behind the 2006 movie "Glory Road".

After suffering from poor attendance in Dallas, a little known team from the American Basketball Association made the Coliseum their home court in 1970. The venture failed a year later - sending the Texas Chaparrals back to Dallas. The team made one more move, and in 1973, became the San Antonio Spurs. Today, they're the team with the highest winning percentage in NBA Finals history. 

From basketball to hockey and football, the Coliseum handles it all. For several years the arena was home to CHL's Lubbock Cotton Kings. The team ceased operations before the 2007-2008 season after it was unable to come to an agreement with the City of Lubbock for the use of the building. Currently the Lubbock Renegades of the Arena Football League call the Coliseum home. The AFL's Gunslingers and Lone Stars also used this building as their home turf. 

Then, each spring, dirt is brought in to cover the floor of the Coliseum for the ABC Pro Rodeo. From calf roping and barrel racing, to championship bull riding - thousands of competitors and fans flock to Coliseum every year. The ABC Rodeo is put on by the Lubbock Downtown Chapter of the American Business Clubs or AMBUCS and raises money for Lubbock charities. Over the past 66 years, the group has donated more than $1 million to charity.

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