The Star Center was packed for the New Mexico Scorpions’ home opener nearly 16 years ago.

Remember the late Rodney Dangerfield … the guy who “got no respect”?

Sometimes that’s how I feel about the Rio Rancho Events Center, formerly known as the Santa Ana Star Center.

I was there the day they broke ground. I wrote a message — “Game on!” — on the final beam that was installed. I was at the New Mexico Scorpions’ debut there in October 2006 and I still go there quite regularly.

It’s a gorgeous facility, and I think I know almost every nook and cranny, and that includes wandering onto the roof and taking cool hockey photos from the catwalk.

But what I find unfortunate is that Duke City residents refrain from coming out here – you’d think they were going to Saturn.

The City of Rio Rancho could use their participation at events, not only for entertainment purposes, but for revenue and tax receipts – and people coming here sometimes buy lunch/dinner, shop and refuel their cars. ($$$)

Recently, between bouts of the Bare Knuckles Fighting Championships, which turned out to be better entertainment than I originally thought, I started making a list of the myriad events I’ve attended to in that arena, and here’s all that came to mind, or at least in my reporter’s notebook, in no particular order:

  • High school volleyball championships
  • High school basketball
  • High school wrestling championships
  • High school hockey championships
  • College basketball
  • Professional basketball
  • Harlem Globetrotters basketball
  • WWE
  • Boxing
  • Roller Derby
  • Bull riding
  • Monster trucks
  • Home shows
  • Indoor soccer
  • Indoor football
  • Comedy (Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Dunham and Rodney Carrington)
  • Concerts (Moddy Blues, James Taylor)
  • Law enforcement funerals
  • Chamber luncheons
  • Sports Advisory Council banquets
  • “Official” announcements, such as that about the New Mexico Runners coming there
  • Pork & Brew
  • High school graduations
  • Donald Trump

Of course, a lot more has taken place out there, and by “out there,” I don’t mean anything condescending. I don’t expect to get invited to the annual Jehovah’s Witnesses conventions there, probably because I’m more of a half-witness.

The arena, like Dangerfield once did, deserves respect.

I’ll be hoping to see you out there soon … and tell your Albuquerque friends they’ve been missing a lot. There’s a gun show there this weekend, and Jon Pardi, Casting Crowns, Blues Clues and the Toughest Monster Truck Tour are on its itinerary the next few months.