I got up excruciatingly early today (4:30 am) in order to drive down and document the demolition of the gigantic Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, about 5 mile south of where I live. Texas Stadium was the home field to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys football team, and had hosted many other events as well ever since it was built in 1971.
It took me relatively little time to get up and get ready. I went prepared, taking my camera, leftover danishes to breakfast upon, milk, tea, bottled water, jacket, dust mask, goggles, a folding-chair, and my Nikon Coolpix camera.
Parking was orderly – the police and event workers took folks’s parking fee ($25, which was given to charities), and I parked easily, although on dirt lot since the paved parking was already full.
People were having tailgate parties right and left. I smelled stuff grilling and cigarette smoke wafted over the cars. Irving police patrolled on bikes and in patrol cars while rock music blared out from cars and from event loudspeakers. A large crowd was congregated up near the top of one of the highway ramps where news camera vans were located, and they broke out into applause as one of the big trucks went back down the hill, opening up better visibility.
Another crowd of people was at the lower end of the parking lot, looking towards an overpass which allowed partial view of the bottom area of the stadium as well as view of the full width of the structure. This area was less-crowded and appeared a great view for filming, so this is where I chose to be for the explosion.
A few people spoke just when the event was supposed to begin. Did Jerry Jones speak first? I’m unsure. It was announced that Kraft Foods sponsored the event in promoting their new snack product, the Cheddar Explosion. Next spoke the mayor of Irving, who noted how iconic the building had been – one of the main landmarks of Irving for decades.
Next, quite a fireworks display was set off. Some in the crowd commented how it wasn’t all that optimal since it was now early daylight, and the cloudy sky was bright enough to dim the fireworks. Smoke drifted towards the crowd, so I pulled my dustmask over my face for protection as I filmed it. It seemed like it was over, but after a brief delay, the fireworks grand finale was set off. After that, a series of short bursts of fireworks went off on the other side of the stadium to count down to the demolition. A child from the local charity supported by the event apparently pressed the button, setting off the cataclysmic explosions inside the building.
Texas Stadium echoed the explosions which sounded at first somewhat like pins being struck by a bowling ball. Then the next round of explosions went off sequentially, sounding much louder. The structure collapsed in on itself pretty rapidly.
I Twittered during the event, and Facebooked a bit.
After, the crowd dispersed to begin the slow battle to leave the parking lot in a giant traffic jam. I drove back past the rubble to try to photograph it – links to my pics will be added here soon!
The controlled collapse of the Texas Stadium reminds me a little of the day I photographed the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys Training Facility near my home, when it was demolished by a freak wind storm.
UPDATE: I’ve now uploaded my pics before and after the Stadium implosion – check them out at The Texas Stadium Implosion.