And They Call the Thing…Rodeo

If you are near the AT&T Center in San Antonio during basketball season you’ll hear the roar of the crowd as the Spurs take to the court


. In February you’ll hear a different sound…the sound of carnival rides, pig races and wild west shows. You’ll also smell cotton candy, leather, mud, blood and beer as the World Famous Stock Show and Rodeo plays for 18 days to over one million people.
The AT&T Center, home of the NBA 4-time world championship San Antonio Spurs, the American Hockey League San Antonio Rampage, and the annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and host to acts such as George Strait, The Rolling Stones, and Van Halen, is made up of 15 buildings including horse and cattle barns, auction barn, horse show arena, offices, a marketplace for numerous vendors and the 100-year-old Freeman Coliseum. Because of the demand for wi-fi services by the multitude of vendors present at the Stock Show and Rodeo, organizers decided to update the Coliseum as well as the 14 other buildings which make up the AT&T Center complex by bringing in wireless capabilities.
“We got a tip that AT&T was looking for a wireless company,” said James Jenner of MidCoast Electric in San Antonio. “Scott Sibenac from ProSoft Technology happened to be in my office that day and together we made a cold call to the AT&T Center.”
That cold call turned into a fortuitous event for everyone involved.
Starting in November 2009, setup began in the Freeman Coliseum to make it the Master Access Point linking the 28 Industrial Hotspot Radios that would be distributed to the other buildings.
“This was a pretty straight-forward application for these type of radios,” commented Jenner. “But, the organizers at the Center were in a bit of a hurry. They wanted it up and running by the end of January 2010, in time for the rodeo. And, the wireless company they had been trying to contact for the job wouldn’t return their phone calls.”
So MidCoast Electric and ProSoft Technology took on the job of bringing this championship rodeo complex into the 21st century.
ProSoft’s 802.11abg Industrial Hotspots were placed in each of the 14 buildings making up the Center complex. One or more radios were placed in each of the 14 buildings depending on its size and construction. The Industrial Hotspots provide the speed needed to transfer data in real-time. They are certified for harsh environments, making them a dependable solution despite poor weather conditions. The Master station, located in the Freeman Coliseum, allows for remote troubleshooting and programming.
This new wireless network allows over 600 vendors, featuring agriculture-related items such as tractors and horse trailers, fencing, hay bailers, irrigation systems, horse pens, cattle scales, animal feed and a wide array of agriculture supplies, access to wireless credit card machines.
The vendors are located in the Texas Star Marketplace, located in the Freeman Coliseum and the Two Step Marketplace, located in the Exhibit Hall directly behind the Freeman Coliseum, as well as throughout the Stock Show grounds. The new wireless network now connects all of these venues as well as the Royal Saloon and the Cowboy Church.
Bexar County voters overwhelmingly approved a partnership between the Spurs, Bexar County, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and the Coliseum Advisory Board to build a Bexar County-owned community arena that would serve as the new home for the Spurs and the Stock Show & Rodeo. The Spurs and the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo together designed the AT&T Center to be a state-of-the art facility, capable of hosting championship sporting events, rodeo and other first-rate entertainment. In addition, the County agreed to make enhancements to the Freeman Coliseum and stock show facilities, to ensure all of these County-owned facilities were properly maintained and remained state-of-the art. The new wireless system certainly accomplishes that