Neighbors to the re-expanded Thunder Ridge Arena express thoughts on venue

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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RIDGEDALE, Mo. (KY3) - The newly expanded Thunder Ridge is set to reopen in September, holding up to 50,000 people for events like bull riding and large music acts.

Big Cedar Lodge marketing Jeff Wilhoit said the new venue will wow people.

“It’s a massive facility, and the great thing about it is it’s a multi-use facility, so we’ll have lots of special events that we can announce in the future,” said Wilhoit.

Wilhoit said the land currently filled with dirt will be turned into the re-imagined Thunder Ridge Nature Arena packed with luxury suites, general seating, lawn areas, and 15,000 hidden parking spaces.

But people who live nearby, such as Robert Pellin and Twila Swick, have different stances on the new venue.

”I think Johnny Morris has done a lot to help the area because he’s really improved a lot of the area around here, a lot of the roads as far as the entertainment,” said Pellin.

”Can’t believe it’s going to be 50,000 people. We can’t handle that many people,” said Swick.

Wilhoit said there will be views of the mountains to the lake as they expanded the original 10,000-seat amphitheater into a 50,000-person venue, ready in just 39 days.

Wilhoit said they are working with state and local officials and a traffic pattern company to help with traffic, but people in the area may have to get used to more cars.

”It’s going to mess up the roads, it’s going to mess up our yards, there’s going to be too much traffic,” said Swick.

”Johnny Morris would have the foresight to see that he would probably improve some roads to handle the traffic. That wouldn’t be a problem,” said Pellin.

Wilhoit said the views from the new area will be hard to beat, as builders took inspiration from Table Rock Lake and structures across the country.

”People are going to be blown away when they come here,” said Wilhoit. “I don’t think there’s anything like this facility in North America that is going to get people in close contact with nature.”

Thunder Ridge is set to reopen in September, hosting Thunder Days, a Professional Bull Rider team series competition.

Garth Brooks will open the newly expanded Thunder Ridge Nature Arena at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks of Missouri. The concert happens on October 1 at 7 p.m.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. There will be an eight-ticket limit per purchase. You can purchase tickets at or through the Ticketmaster App on your mobile phone. Tickets will cost $98.95, all-inclusive.

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