By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
A political rally featuring former President Donald Trump and congressional candidate Harriet Hageman is expected to draw up to 20,000 people to the parking lot outside of Casper’s Ford Center.
Brad Murphy, general manager for the Ford Center, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that the facility is planning for a crowd of up to 20,000 for the May 28 “Save America Rally.”
“It’s huge, it will bring a lot of people into our town,” Murphy said. “It’s great for Casper and Wyoming.”
Murphy said the Save America PAC is footing the bill for the event. He wouldn’t disclose how much the political action committee is paying to rent the space, but said it is paying the full rate.
According to a 2018 rental rate sheet for the facility, renting the entire venue for one day costs $3,500. Another fee of $1,500 per day is listed for moving equipment into or out of the facility.
He added the Ford Center was contacted about hosting the Trump event more than a year ago.
Hageman, who has won Trump’s endorsement in her GOP primary race against Cheney, didn’t announced her candidacy until September.
Murphy said Event Strategies Inc. an Alexandria, Virginia, based company, is managing the event and will provide all necessary staffing.
Event Strategies produced Trump’s campaign announcement tour in 2015 and helped set up operational standards for the campaign, according to the ESI website. Company founder Tim Unes was deputy director of advance for the Trump campaign and assisted former Vice President Mike Pence with a campaign as well.
The Save America PAC was created by Trump immediately following the 2020 election. In January 2021, it commissioned a poll on U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney‘s popularity in Wyoming after she voted to impeach Trump for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021.
As of Feb. 28, the Save America PAC had raised $92 million during the 2021-2022 election cycle.
Murphy said he doubted the rally would set a record for attendance at the facility, because sitting presidents and former Vice President Dick Cheney have also held rallies at the building, which is the biggest multi-purpose venue in the state.
Murphy said it’s safe to say he won’t be sleeping much in the lead up to the rally. The facility will be hosting graduation ceremonies for Casper’s three high schools on May 26 and May 27. In all, he said the facility could see more than 30,000 visitors over the three days.
“It will be busy but that’s what we do,” Murphy said.