The Mesquite Championship Rodeo has been nominated multiple times by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) for Rodeo of the Year. The rodeo dirt surface was also recognized as “best dirt” by the PRCA and can be compacted to form a more concrete surface to hold events like MMA fights, motocross races, monster trucks and concerts. This air-conditioned facility truly is more than just a rodeo arena.
- C.C. AKA Charlie Columbus McNally founded The original Mesquite Rodeo, which was a permanent location and did not move town to town. It was held at the Charlie McNally's Arena which was located on Hickory Tree Road, a little to the north of present Rodeo Drive. The original Mesquite Rodeo dates from about 1946 but was preceded by the Pleasant Mound Rodeo which began in 1941, also started by Charlie McNally and is where Neal Gay got his start in 1945. It was located on the northeast corner of Buckner Blvd and Scyene Road. Ironically it was closed when the City of Dallas annexed Pleasant Mound in 1950 and refused to issue a special zoning permit to the rodeo. Shortly after Neal Gay, Jim Shoulders(One of the greatest rodeo riders in the world) and their associates purchased C.C. McNally's property in 1957. They built a new arena on the south side of the property on the north side of present Rodeo Drive for the 1958 opening of the professional, soon to be renamed, Mesquite Championship Rodeo. The entrance was still on Hickory Tree Road and passed north of the open arena (the roof was added in 1964) to a parking area on the west side. The brick kilns were just a few hundred feet southeast of the arena. The present arena was built in 1986 further south of the 1958 arena on the site of one of the clay pits. Rodeo Drive and Neal Gay Drive were constructed about the same time. The 1958 arena was torn down and the site remains undeveloped. All that area had been in the Mesquite City limits since the mid 1950s expansion during the post war housing boom. The 1970 opening of 635 did not have any physical effect on the Mesquite Rodeo property but it did provide the visibility that led to increased attendance.
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