Fieldhouse basketball courts

Basketball courts from the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois, at left, Texas Tech University, center, and Syracuse University were in use for the Holiday Shootout high school boys basketball tournament at Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse earlier this season.

BULLHEAD CITY — There was never a doubt that operating Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse would keep Ed Catalfamo busy.

“We put a lot of time in,” said the venue’s general manager in reference to himself and assistant Joleen Stein. “I don’t sleep much — never needed it.”

Such dedication is good for the 126,500-square-foot multi-purpose facility, which includes 4,000 permanent seats plus an additional 4,500 on the floor when necessary.

Catalfamo has been responsible for scheduling and organizing all of the climate-controlled fieldhouse’s activities since its May 2019 inception.

“Joleen and I schedule and set up sporting events, meetings, summits, community classes (for the likes of parenting and gardening), and we host weddings and birthdays,” said Catalfamo, adding that doing so is a “fun challenge.”

He works for the Colorado River Union High School District and thus collaborates with its athletic directors and other administrators for the fieldhouse’s school-related events. For city-related occasions, he joins forces with Dave Heath, Parks & Recreation superintendent for the City of Bullhead City.

Said Heath: “We held our November farmers market in the fieldhouse and it was our largest of the year.”

He added that Catalfamo, who previously worked with him for a decade, “did great things with the city, including running the River Regatta.”

Regardless of who is involved with the fieldhouse’s undertakings any given week, they call for considerable manpower.

In addition to having two maintenance workers on hand for janitorial tasks, Catalfamo said that — in the case of non-soccer or non-football events — upward of 20 men toil for eight hours to cover 60,000 square feet of turf with plastic flooring.  

Even more coordinating was needed for Tri-State Home, Garden & Lifestyle show that took root Jan. 24.

“It entailed booths, vendors and figuring out logistics to protect the turf,” said Catalfamo.

Preparations that showcase entailed should prove beneficial as fieldhouse employees set their sights on a larger spectacle: Country Fest 2020, which comprises Jo Dee Messina, Lake Havasu singer-songwriter Matt Farris and newcomer Charlie McNeal, each of whom is slated to perform Sunday. That comes on the heels of the 100-plus vendor Winter Expo on Thursday and the 50th Anniversary Auto Show, conducted by the River Cruizers and Mohave High School, on Saturday.

“It’s labor-intensive,” explained Catalfamo on transforming the fieldhouse into a concert venue. “We need ushers for such a concert, more people working concessions and so forth.”

Those extra helping hands come courtesy of ABM Industries and Chartwells Food Service. 

“The hiring system is working very efficiently,” he said.

When it comes to hosting basketball games, Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse has no shortage of quality hardwood — specifically those previously used by Syracuse University, Texas Tech, the University of Nevada Reno and the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

The Colorado River Union High School District purchased the courts via the International Coliseum Consortium, which contacted the universities. Phoenix-based CORE Construction then arranged to have the hardwood transported to Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse, according to CORE project manager Mark Murphy.

Every basketball court includes multiple segments, so piecing together and setting up each one requires a half-dozen workers rolling up their sleeves for eight hours, Catalfamo said.

Despite its need for elbow grease on occasion, the fieldhouse is a “smart” facility — meaning Catalfamo is able to control parts of it with his cellphone. 

And whatever the event or circumstances, he has a say in the matter.

“I’ve met with a boxing promoter, BMX reps, I’ve discussed the possibility of hosting Christian music concerts and festivals,” Catalfamo said.

Rest assured (not that he finds time to rest), Catalfamo wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I definitely don’t have a typical day here,” he replied when asked to describe his daily routine. “There’s something different all the time. It’s really exciting.”

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