Business View Magazine | May/June 2022

102 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 9, ISSUE 5 the election that fall, paving the way for the Agriculture and Livestock Exposition Center to be built. Taylor County purchased the land, the site of an old airport, and got to work developing the 127 acre-site. They built several exhibit buildings, a livestock barn, a show arena with seating for 1,100, a horse barn, and a rodeo arena. In 1967, another bond passed, earmarking $1.76 million to build a coliseum and make other improvements to the property. Johnson reports, “It was a momentous year for Abilene. Not only did they vote to build the Coliseum, out here on the fairgrounds, but the citizens of Abilene also voted to build a convention center downtown. They had a good vision for the community by building these two big facilities.” The Taylor County Coliseum was completed in 1969 and in 1977, the West Texas Fair Association merged with the Taylor County Coliseum Board to create the Taylor County Expo Center Board. They now run the Expo Center and operate under an agreement with Taylor County, where they lease 117 acres, including the fairgrounds and Coliseum for just $1.00 a year. The Expo Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. “In the early 1980s, the office we’re in now and a horse barn were built,” Johnson says. “It was decided that equine shows would be a good draw for our community, and we just evolved from that. The horse barn was the kickoff, I believe, of drawing a lot of equine events to Abilene. The first big event we had was the Texas AT A GLANCE EXPO CENTER OF TAYLOR COUNTY WHAT: A non-profit organization hosting over 250 events per year WHERE: Abilene, Texas WEBSITE: