Weekend marks Remington Park anniversary

Friday, August 29th 2008, 7:22 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - Monday will mark 20 years since the first race was run at Remington Park and recently there has been a revival.

Remington Park doesn't get the crowds it did back in the day, but with a recent renaissance track officials said they expect to be here for another twenty years.

Most of the faces have changed since opening day two decades ago, but not all -- Gan Matthews and Ed Murray were part of NEWS 9's opening day special.

Their pick in the first race, number five, finished last.

There are more than a dozen Remington Park employees who worked that day, who are still working there today.

Patsy Payne is one of them. Now in charge of facility maintenance, Patsy was a shuttle bus driver on opening day.

"And people were just hanging out of the buses, ya know, you couldn't hardly get through the parking lots, let alone the grandstand, so it was really exciting." patsy payne/20-year remington employee/

Officials said before Oklahoma City had Bricktown or the Ford Center, Remington Park was the ‘social and entertainment epicenter.'

Times changed and attendance dropped a few years ago, but now track officials said Remington's future is bright.

"Our attendance has been up these last three years, just by several hundred thousand each year. Our group sales are up. People are, more and more, showing that they want to come out to Remington Park and have a good time," said Remington Park General Manager Scott Wells.

Payne said it's exciting again and she feels like they've weathered the storms.

One threat to Remington Park, many believe, is an attempt by the Shawnee Indian Tribe to build a casino resort just a couple of miles away, on I-35 at Britton Road.

The tribe needs federal government approval to build the casino, and while it seems like a long, the tribe's application is still out there, yet to be ruled on.