Get ready everyone! It’s time for a history lesson. Probably not what you would expect from a booking agency, but the history of this entertainment venue in Utah has roots that run deep. The Golden Spike Event Center got its start in 1988, but to fully understand its namesake, we have to travel back a lot further to the nineteenth century, to a time of westward expansion and the industrialization of America.
This period is one full of juxtapositions. The nineteenth century is defined by several different wars — some more civil than others. The nation was divided, but this time marks the first time in history that America was brought together…quite literally. The first transcontinental railroad was a 1,912-mile continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869. The line connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network in Iowa with the Pacific coast on San Francisco Bay. With its construction, the travel time from coast to coast was exponentially reduced. Travel from coast to coast went from six months or more to just one week and people could now make the cross-country trek with a newfound ease.
Six years after the initial construction had begun, the railroad was almost complete; all it needed was one final spike to connect the country. On May 10, 1869, The Last Spike (also known as the golden spike) was driven into the ground joining the rails of the transcontinental railroad in Utah. As soon as the ceremonial “Golden Spike” had been replaced by an iron one, a message was transmitted to both the East Coast and West Coast that simply read, “DONE.” The spike is now on display at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, while a second “Last” Golden Spike is also on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
Just as it connected the railroad in 1869, the Golden Spike is still connecting things to this day. Since 1988, the Golden Spike Event Center has been a gathering place for the people of Weber County in Utah to come together. The facility is 150,000-square-feet and it sits on more than 150 acres of land. Just to put these numbers into perspective, the entire property covers more than 113 football fields!
The center takes advantage of their expansive property and has a wide variety of facilities for attendees to utilize. These include indoor arenas, a stadium, a championship equestrian course, a racetrack and more than 500 covered stalls. Not to mention the sports facilities! The center has two regulation basketball courts, seven soccer fields and a lighted softball facility. It’s clear that the event center is more than prepared to handle any event thrown at them. In 2019, the Golden Spike held nearly 700 different events. The services one can expect from the event center include: professional ticketing, catering, concessions, 24 hour grounds security, special event set-ups, and stall and RV management. The Golden Spike is staffed with an experienced crew that can make any event happen, large or small. To sum it all up, here’s what to expect: The Golden Spike Event Center is a complex consisting of 141 acres, (2) Indoor Arena’s, (1) Outdoor Stadium, Auction Arena, Cross Country Course, ¾ Mile Race Track, (4) Stall Barns, (52) Full Hook-up RV Sites, (2) Exhibit Buildings, (2) Regulation Basketball Courts, (3) Regulation Volleyball Courts, Softball Quadraplex, (7) Soccer Fields, and a Covered Picnic Pavilion.
With so many amenities, the center is a great place for accommodating any type of event. However, the Golden Spike is known best for hosting three main types: concerts, equestrian races and the annual Weber County fair. Many successful recording artists have hit this venue’s stages with performances by Journey, Willie Nelson, Chad Prather, TSE’s own Tracy Byrd, and more! Next, the event center is the go-to spot for anything involving horses. Because the center has plenty of acreage and hundreds of covered stalls, many people are drawn to the Golden Spike to compete in equestrian competitions, or any other events that include the involvement of horses. Lastly, the Weber County Fair is an annual event that uses the Golden Spike Event Center as its fairgrounds. The fair celebrated its 32nd year in 2020, and it continually ranks as one of the largest and best fairs in the state of Utah. At the Weber County Fair, attendees can expect to find good food, a wide variety of entertainment, and a chance for the community to come together and celebrate alongside one another.
It seems like the Golden Spike Center truly has it all. But the venue isn’t going to stop here. Yes, they are in fact hoping to expand even further by adding an arena for equestrian events, as well as improving upon a drive-in site for future entertainment options. In response to the pandemic, the Golden Spike shifted gears and produced a drive-in concert in 2020 that allowed for people to have some fun safely.
This past year has proven to be a struggle for everyone, but the Golden Spike Center stayed optimistic and persevered through it all. Now, they are looking forward to a more promising future as the new year continues to develop. From the very beginning of the pandemic, the event center made the conscious decision to lean into the state mandated guidelines and find a way to continue operating events within those guidelines. Ashton Wilson, the Golden Spike’s Manager of Events, details what it took to put on event that ensured the safety of everyone involved.
“Although it required more effort in terms of additional staff, control points, etc., we felt it was important to lead out. To our knowledge, we were the first to produce an event in the state of Utah. We hosted a barrel race at the end of April and scheduled participants in hour slots with no more than 10-20 people at a time to adhere to guidelines applied during the “Orange” phase. A lot of planning went into it, but it was a huge success.”
The Golden Spike produced and hosted nearly 50% of the events that they did in 2019, but came extremely close to hitting their revenues. That is a sure win that everyone on the team is extremely proud of.
With so much success following one of the toughest years in modern history, Wilson attributes all of it to the hard-working employees at the Golden Spike. “We are extremely proud of our staff. I cannot say enough about their creativity and refusal to sit back and let our facility be shut down during 2020. We’re still not out of the weeds for this year, but if we can survive a year like 2020, we can take on anything.” Ashton Wilson and all of the staff members in Utah are hopeful for the year ahead, and the Golden Spike continues to inspire connections and make history.
TSE Entertainment is proud to work with such capable people and such a versatile event center. We look forward to future events at the Golden Spike Event Center.