Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
|"Vets", "The Barn"|
|Former names||Veterans Memorial Auditorium (1955-2012)|
|Location||833 5th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
|Owner||Polk County, Iowa|
|Opened||February 1, 1955|
|Drake Bulldogs (NCAA) (1957–1992)
Iowa Cornets (WPBL) (1978–1980)
Iowa Barnstormers (AFL/AF2) (1995–2001)
Des Moines Dragons (IBA) (1997–2001)
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly known as Veterans Memorial Auditorium) is a convention center located in Des Moines, Iowa, that is part of the Iowa Events Center. It opened on February 1, 1955, and was named to honor the World War II veterans of Polk County.
On May 22, 1956, Elvis Presley was the first major act to perform there while on tour of the upper Midwest. Elvis would perform in the auditorium two more times, on June 20, 1974, and his fourth to last concert ever on June 23, 1977.
Home to the Drake Bulldogs 1955-1992, it had 11,411 with the capacity to add an additional 4,000 seats for concerts and an additional 7,500 bleacher seats for basketball games. Commonly known as "Vets" or "The Barn", it was the long-time host for minor league basketball, arena football, and Iowa state high school basketball and wrestling tournaments.
Prior to the opening of Wells Fargo Arena, Vets Auditorium had served as the primary venue of sporting events and concerts in the Des Moines area for many years; this was also the site of the January 20, 1982 concert, where Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat. World Wrestling Entertainment also broadcast their WWE Raw program from the venue. It was also the site of the famous 1989 steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and The Big Boss Man on Saturday Night's Main Event.
With the opening of Wells Fargo Arena, Veterans Memorial Auditorium was relegated to a supporting arena role. In the fall of 2010, the arena was closed and renovated into a state-of-the-art convention facility that added a 28,800 square foot ballroom to the Iowa Events Center in addition to 25 new meeting rooms. At this time, the rights to the convention center's name were sold to local credit union Community Choice Credit Union. However, the building itself is still referred to as the Veterans Memorial building. Veterans Memorial Hall was also added as a part of the renovation. The Hall showcases Iowa Veterans' sacrifices since Iowa became a state.
- Pulliam, Jason (15 December 2011). "Veterans Auditorium gets new name: Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center". DesMoinesRegister.com. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "Iowans React To Convention Center Name Change". Des Moines, Iowa: KCCI.com. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- Munson, Kyle (2005-02-27). "Ozzy left his mark". The Des Moines Register. p. 5V. Retrieved 2007-03-11.