Rimrock Arena Fate Still Uncertain

Billings, Mont., city officials, county reps and area residents are working around the clock to clean up the mess left by a tornado that ripped through the area June 20, dropping golf ball-sized hail and torrential rain and severely damaging the 12,000-capacity Rimrock Auto Arena At MetraPark and nearby businesses.

The twister ripped off the arena’s roof and the heavy rain damaged offices, computers, rooftop air conditioning and heating system, sound system and more, according to various reports.

There were no events going on at the time of the storm.

A statement posted June 20 on the MetraPark website said officials are working quickly to get back to business as usual.

“In cooperation with local and state agencies, our team is working to clean up the area, assess the damage and create a plan for future operations. We will be contacting promoters who have booked events at the arena and our other facilities this week.”
MetraPark’s Expo Center and Montana Pavilion are reportedly undamaged and available for use.

Concerts with Jason Aldean, Scorpions and Hinder and Finger Eleven scheduled during the Montana State Fair August 13-21 will be held elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the fate of Rimrock Auto Arena won’t be known until structural engineers and insurance reps assess whether the building can salvaged, the Billings Gazette said.

Facility GM Bill Dutcher told the paper June 21 the arena had recently undergone $841,000 in upgrades that included a new roof and insulation, lighting for the concourse area, gutters, a half-house curtain and a Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Dutcher was not available for further comment at press time.