Albany--Albany's city manager made it clear when he came to town last year, he thinks the Albany Civic Center sits empty too often.
Recently, he fired the center director because he said she wasn't doing enough to bring exciting events to town. Well tonight, a lot of excited south Georgians paid to see some of the world's best bull riders.
About three thousand people showed up at tonight's event. And those we talked to say things are looking up for the center.
As some pretty brave cowboys cling for dear life, thousands of intrigued eyes watch in amazement.
"I'm glad to something like this finally coming to the civic center," says Chris Hayes.
"I am so excited because I've never been to a rodeo before," says Brenda Brown.
They're excited all right. Bull riders are tossed and thrown from the giant creatures. For many, good entertainment is long over due.
"I cannot believe the diversity that has come to Albany because a while ago, five years ago, you would never expect this," says Brenda Brown.
"I'm glad to have things come to the area. I'm glad to come out and see things," says Diane Henderson.
And if bull riding isn't your thing, the civic center has more big acts in store for "The Good Life City." "We're seeking out all the entertainment value that we can get in the city. We're bringing in as many events as we can possibly manage," says Roger Burnett, the interim director with the civic center.
And that's good news to bull rider fans. More events, like tonight's, means more money for the city. "It'll bring more people in to stay at the hotels, and more functions, and more people coming and buying things from the city and making it a better place to be," says Diane Henderson.
"It's really good to the community. It's a great facility they're trying to merchandise the town and stuff," says Ed DeLosh.
With more events pouring into Albany, some south Georgians feel that this small city will soon be an entertainment force to be reckoned with. "It's like, oh my God, we've got bull riding, we've got a concert coming, it's like 'yes!'" says Brenda Brown.
Some people we talked to say they want to see more concerts come to the civic center. There is good news. Country legend George Jones will play at the center on March 30 several hip hop acts yet to be announced are also heading to the center soon.
And that's not all. The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will come to town March 17th through 19th.