Seating switch irks wrestlers

Chairs replace long-serving bleachers in All-Star Wrestling venue, erasing a piece of Cloverdale history, promoter laments.

Gangrel

The promoter of a Friday night institution – All-Star Wrestling at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds – is crying the blues over a decision to remove the bleachers that have provided a ringside view to patrons for years.

The bleachers that have made the Alice McKay building a unique local venue for the monthly live sporting events have been replaced with banquet hall-style floor-level seating for the shows, erasing another piece of Cloverdale history.

“The bleachers have been in the venue since 1952,” says Mark Vellios, a promoter with All-Star Wrestling and long-time professional wrestler (Gorgeous Michelle Starr), who is saddened by the removal.

With Friday’s wrestling event – Fright Night 2 starring Jinder Mahal and Gangrel on Oct. 24 – just hours away, Vellios is wondering how the change will impact the experience for patrons.

“The removal of the bleachers changes the whole atmosphere of the venue,” he said. “It goes from looking like an arena to just another banquet hall-type venue.”

It may also impact the organization’s bottom line, as capacity shrinks from nearly 700 seats to approximately 500.

“We are not sure of that number yet as we have never set up only chairs in the venue,” he told The Reporter last week. “The sight lines also change because now the elevated seating will be gone. You will be looking over people’s heads and shoulders.”

He hasn’t been able to determine how the seating change will impact Cloverdale ticket sales for the professional wrestling matches.

“We have not crossed that bridge yet,” he said. “We have an event Oct. 24 and we will see, as we have gone from a three price system to a two price festival season system.”

The organization had been warned of the removal a few months ago, but were not given a firm date, he said.

“It is just sad to see part of the venue’s uniqueness being torn out,” he said. “I’d love to see new bleachers being installed.”

The venue is owned by the City of Surrey and is part of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

Mike MacSorley, general manager of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association said the bleachers were simply too old and were removed out of safety concerns.

Repairs would have been too expensive, and there are no plans to install new bleachers, he said, adding they were only used about 12 times a year.

Agriplex undergoing renos

Meanwhile, the Agriplex on the fairgrounds – which does have  bleachers – is undergoing renovations that will turn the 1,500-seat venue into a more versatile facility, boosting capacity to as much as 3,000, depending on the type of event and seating.

The dirt floors have been replaced with concrete, and new lighting is being installed this week.

The renovations will help determine if the fairgrounds will draw conventions and other larger events.

“Hopefully it’s a precursor to a convention centre,” he said. “We can do everything we used to,” MacSorley added, explaining that the dirt from the old dirt floor has been saved, and can be moved back in for agricultural events.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Surrey’s mayor-elect McCallum has big promises to keep

From estimated 337, 289 eligible voters in Surrey, 109,791 votes were cast for 32.5 per cent turnout

SURREY FIRST, burst: How the ruling slate earned just one council seat

Mayor Linda Hepner thinks another ‘entity’ will replace her slate

Early morning crash in Surrey on Sunday sends three to hospital

Traffic crash at 4 a.m. at 152nd and 88th Avenue. Police say intersection closed for “some time.”

THE VICTORY: Doug McCallum is Surrey’s mayor once again

Safe Surrey Coalition has huge night, taking all of city council but one seat

THE DEFEAT: Tom Gill concedes to Doug McCallum in Surrey mayoral race

Only one Surrey First candidate, Linda Annis, has been elected to city council

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Fraser Valley man dead after head on crash in Okanagan

Accident occurred at about 7:35 a.m.

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Vancouver drag queens receive royal treatment during Kootenay Pride

Vancouver drag queens discuss the importance of Pride and growing acceptance of LGBTQ community

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read