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A Look Back At the Astrodome

Tom Pidgeon, Getty Images

This week the city of Houston began the first phase of demolishing the world famous Astrodome.  It’s a bit sad for me, because I have some pretty fond memories associated with that building.  I’d like to take some time to share them with you.

I have only actually attended two “official” events at the Houston Astrodome.  The first time was with my little league baseball team, the White Sox.  The second time was a trip with my childhood best friend Matt Casper, and his family to the Houston Rodeo.  We saw Charlie Pride.  After that it would be another 35 years before I would get the opportunity to walk into that hallowed space again.

Fast forward to 2004.  I was working at a country radio station in Houston, and my boss assigned me the duty of introducing the entertainment at “The Hideout”.  Immediately following every performance of the Houston Rodeo they open “The Hideout”, which was located inside the Astrodome.  They had food, drinks and live entertainment.  The floor of the Dome was transformed into the worlds largest honky tonk, and it was amazing!

The first night I could barely contain the excitement I had walking in:  I walked down the tunnel that the football and baseball players once used to walk onto the field.  The first thing I did was look up to see that ceiling, then I took it all in for a few minutes.  I was standing on the same floor that my childhood heroes stood on.  Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini, Carl Mauck, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Mike Renfro, Elvin Bethea, and of course Coach Bum Phillips had all stood where I stood.  I must have looked pretty odd with my jaw dragging the astroturf.

I got to go back several times that year, and one of those times I took my brother, Chris with me.  We snuck up into the concourses and saw all the old concession stands, went down into the bowels of the stadium, and checked out the locker rooms for the Astros and Oilers.  We traveled back upstairs and entered some of the suites, which were extremely small compared to the new upscale suites at Reliant Stadium.  We finished our unguided tour by checking out the old control room, where the TV broadcasts originated from, and where the operator of the giant scoreboard sat.

It was an amazing opportunity to see places that not many others got to see, and my brother and I hold that as one of our cherished memories together.  The old dome my be coming down, but the memories she gave us will last forever.  Luv Ya Blue!  Welcome to the 8th Wonder Of The World!

You might also remember this little tune!

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