(SWEETWATER) – The Nolan County Coliseum Complex is giving Texas State Technical College students the opportunity to attend classes and learn about work quality and responsibility.
The multi-structure events venue on Coliseum Drive in Sweetwater has at least 12 TSTC students working varying hours depending on scheduled events. Some of March’s activities include a 4-H Club quilting show, a quinceanera, team roping competitions and a 4-H horse contest.
“They want gas money, they want food money, they want money for their education,” said Terry Locklar, the coliseum’s general manager, about his student workers. “These are the guys and females that have a goal in mind and know what it takes to achieve that goal. It’s been a great asset for us as far as having people you can count on and have that customer relations experience and that mindset of the harder work you do, the more you achieve.”
The students and more than 10 full-time and permanent part-time staff have been transforming the coliseum area this week from hosting junior high school and high school rodeos to getting ready for rattlesnakes. The Sweetwater Jaycees’ annual World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup will host more than 25,000 visitors from across Texas and the nation from Friday, March 10, to Sunday, March 12. The event, which has at least an $8 million annual economic impact on Nolan County, includes the Miss Snake Charmer Pageant, a flea market, a gun and knife show, roping contests and a carnival.
Saul Biscaino, 20, of Pleasanton and a fall 2016 Welding Technology graduate taking an extra welding class to learn more techniques this semester at TSTC, is looking forward to his first rattlesnake event. He works at least 30 hours a week and has been employed at the complex since last summer.
“It’s been a real good experience,” Biscaino said about his work. “When they have the rodeos, I am responsible for the financial paperwork and making sure everything that needs to be paid for is, and everything put out in the stalls gets put out.”
Biscaino has also done welded panels on livestock stalls and built countertops for sinks in new restrooms in the complex’s annex.
“I’m very fortunate,” he said. “I’m very grateful to the coliseum staff that gave me the opportunity to continue my classes and work here and get as many hours as I can.”
One of Biscaino’s co-workers, 20-year-old Devin Klar of San Antonio, has been working at the complex since the fall. Klar is a Wind Energy Technology major and is scheduled to graduate in May from TSTC.
This weekend, Klar will make sure trash is picked up and help out where needed on the grounds during the rattlesnake event.
“Working at the coliseum has taught me a lot,” he said. “It’s given me a lot of integrity, and we are given a lot of responsibility here. It is given to us with trust, and we get that trust very quickly. I am able to follow through and make decisions.”