Cowboy Church in Ponder Facing Lawsuit for Rodeo Arena

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PONDER, Texas -- Becky Schmitz isn't happy. Her home has an indoor rodeo arena towering over her backyard.

"The town of Ponder told us that they're a church, and they can do whatever they want to," Schmitz said.

Yep, the Denton County Cowboy Church is building the arena.

"We consider the arena our main ministry outreach tool," Jeff Tackett, Pastor at the Denton County Cowboy Church, explained. "As a Cowboy Church, we can reach into the cowboy culture. Right here in Denton County, and the Ponder area, is rich with a western heritage culture. Rodeos have been a long history here."

"By having an indoor arena, we're able to seat more people comfortably, contain the lights, the sound, and the noise."

In addition, the church built a tall fence to help with any distractions the arena may bring.

Schmitz says it isn't enough, "It's supposed to be a closed off arena which if you look on the sides, it's very well open. The noise and the smell that we'll get from it, you know, it's not what we moved out here for."

So, the Schmitz, along with three other neighbors, filed a lawsuit as a last resort hoping a judge will lasso the arena and drag it away.

"The majority of the neighborhood and community here in Ponder support our arena. Support us being here," Tackett said. "We have followed everything the city council has asked us to do step by step."

The showdown is scheduled this month at the Denton County Courthouse, and that's no bull.

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