Iowa’s largest indoor entertainment venue is bouncing back from the pandemic and is again offering a host of concerts and events to audiences of thousands.
This coming weekend, the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines will be home to two shows of what’s billed as the World’s Toughest Rodeo at Wells Fargo Arena. The center’s Adam Flack says people are clamoring for tickets to events ranging from hockey to indoor football to an upcoming tattoo convention.
“Iowans are interested in coming back,” Flack says. “We’ve seen positive results from all the events that we’ve put on sale. We believe that the rodeo, although it will be spaced out and look different in there, we believe that sales will be on par with what we’ve done every other year. What we’ve noticed as a whole, with all of our events, is that people are ready to get out and resume entertainment.”
He says the monster truck event, Monster Jam, saw record sales numbers last weekend. For health reasons, seating for this Saturday’s rodeo will be in “pods” to keep groups distanced, which will limit capacity to around four-thousand in the venue which would normally seat about 10,000.
Flack says keeping everyone safe is the priority. “Masks are required upon entry and they should remain in place unless you’re eating or drinking,” Flack says. “We ask that everybody spaces out. Leave six feet in between them in lines to get in, for concessions and restrooms. We do have enhanced cleaning measures as well as hand sanitizers stations all spread out around the concourse.”
The Iowa Events Center was forced to close in mid-March last year, like almost everything else, but was able to start offering small shows in late June of 2020. This weekend’s rodeo is the first major touring event to come back since the pandemic, and it will visit Cedar Rapids next week. Flack calls the rodeo great family entertainment.
“Before the matinee performance at 1 PM, there’s a free pre-party down in the dirt where you get to see a couple of bulls, meet the riders, do some fun activities,” Flack says. “And then you’ve got all of the rodeo favorites, from bull riding to saddle bronc to bareback to women’s barrel racing.”
The Iowa Events Center is run by Spectra Venue Management, which also manages venues in Sioux City (Tyson Events Center and Orpheum Theatre), Waterloo (Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center) and Coralville (Xtream Arena and Greenstate Family Fieldhouse).