Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark
|Full name||Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark|
|Former names||Montana Entertainment Trade and Recreation Arena (1975–1999)
MetraPark Arena (1999–2007)
|Location||308 6th Avenue North
Billings, MT 59101-1500
|Renovated||2010-2011 (cost $27 million)|
|Construction cost||$11 million (1975)|
|Billings Bighorns (WHL) (1977–1982)
Billings Volcanos (CBA) (1980–1983)
Montana Magic (CHL) (1983–1984)
Billings Bulls (AWHL/NAHL/NORPAC) (1993–2006; 2007–2010)
Billings RimRockers (IBA) (1998–2001)
Billings Outlaws (IFL) (2000–2010)
Billing Rims (AAPBL) (2005)
Billings Wolves (IFL) (2015–2016)
MetraPark Arena, currently called Rimrock Auto Arena due to sponsorship, and colloquially known as The Metra, is a multi-purpose arena located at MetraPark, the fairgrounds of Billings, Montana, USA. The arena has capacity for an audience of 12,000. The arena hosts a variety of local sporting, musical, and other events. It has also hosted professional sporting competitions. In 2005, MetraPark Arena marked its 30th anniversary. The arena was renovated in 2010 and 2011 at a cost of $27 million.
The arena was completed in 1975 and named the METRA, an acronym that stood for Montana Entertainment Trade and Recreation Arena. Later the entire grounds surrounding the arena was named MetraPark, and the arena became MetraPark Arena. The naming rights were sold to Billings-based Rimrock Auto Group in 2007 and the arena now goes by the name Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. It is owned by Yellowstone County. On June 20, 2010, a tornado dubbed the Father's Day Tornado hit the arena, causing major damage In 2010-2011 the arena was remodeled, resulting in many new amenities such as improved acoustics, more restrooms and concession areas, and easier access from the parking areas. The arena is an energy efficient building with contemporary aesthetics. On April 10, 2011, with the outer arena still under construction, Elton John played the first concert in the Rimrock Auto Arena since the tornado.
Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark hosts an average of 9-12 concerts each year. The Eagles have played two of the largest grossing concerts of all time at the building, eclipsing $1.4 million in tickets sold in June 2015.
Other notable entertainment to play at the arena include Aerosmith, Beach Boys, Black Sabbath, Carrie Underwood, Cher, Def Leppard, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Neil Diamond, Rush, Styx, Tim McGraw, Van Halen, Willie Nelson, and ZZ Top.
- Montana State High School Wrestling Tournament - February
- M.A.T.E (Montana Agri-Trade Expo) - February
- Spring Home Improvement Show - March
- MontanaFair - August
- Fall Home Improvement Show - September
- NILE (Northern International Livestock Exposition) Stock Show and Rodeo - October
- Chase Hawks Memorial Rough Stock Rodeo - December
- Every other year MetraPark host a Men's college basketball game between Montana State and Wyoming.
Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark has been home to two teams with the Indoor Football League IFL. The Billings Outlaws played in the league from 2000 to 2010 before disbanding following the June 2010 Father's Day tornado. In 2015, the league expanded adding the Billings Wolves but only lasted two seasons before folding as well.
MetraPark has hosted pre-season NBA games on a semi-regular basis. The Arena played host to the first ever game for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder on October 8, 2008 in a pre-season game against the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves prevailed 88-82.
In the summer of 2005, MetraPark hosted tryouts for the All-American Professional Basketball League (AAPBL), a new minor basketball league. The tryouts took place from July 11 to 22, 2005. However, the league folded shortly thereafter.
In 2017, Rimrock Auto Arena hosted the NAIA Women's DI Basketball Tournament.
U.S. presidential visits
- George W. Bush - 2001 and 2006
- Bill Clinton - 1996
- George H.W. Bush - 1992
- Ronald Reagan - 1982
- John F. Kennedy - 1963 Kennedy spoke from the Fairgrounds, which is now a part of the Metrapark.
Notes and references
- Cochran, Diane (27 June 2010). "Tornado gives Billings chance to rethink Metra". Independent Record. Lee Enterprises. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- http://www.ktvq.com/news/tornado-hits-billings/ Tornado Hits Billings - KTVQ
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlGsNN7TPrc&feature=player_embedded Tornado destroys MetraPark (raw video - explicit language)
- Howard, Tom (2007-02-21). "County OKs deals for ads, video, arena name". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Sites, Phil (2008-10-08). "T'Wolves Play Spoiler". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-09.