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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Located near the southeast coast of Texas you will find the city of Beaumont, which is well known for its place in the Texas Oil business. If you are ever in Beaumont look past the seaport and other huge business headquarters and take a look at a hidden gem, the Montagne Center, which is the home court of the Lamar Cardinals.
Built in 1984 the Montagne Center seats just over 10,000 people for games. I'm not saying you're going to see 10,000 people at a game but it is capable of seating that many people.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is absolutely nothing special to choose from on the food menu, but it is still a respectable selection considering the size of the venue. On the menu you have a choice of a hot dog, hot dog with cheese, hot dog with chili or hot dog with chili and cheese, not a lot of variety but all nicely priced. The snack stand also carries nachos, popcorn, candy, pickles and pretzels, also reasonably priced.
The only variety items I found were a sausage link and boudain which is a pork rice dressing stuffed into a pork casing, very popular in the south. I found the boudain to be quite disappointing but was happy at the size for only $4.75.
Your drink selections are limited to Pepsi products and are available for $3 for a small and $4 for a large. Overall I would eat before or after the game, but if you're looking for a snack, something here should do it.
The overall atmosphere of the arena is not the best but not the worst I have seen. The arena concourse is nice and has plenty of photos and plaques to commemorate Cardinal players, new and old.
Once I walked into the actual arena I was pleasantly surprised by the seating and size of the arena. One of the things that quickly caught my attention though was the pep band. I am going on record as saying the Cardinals have one of the best pep bands I have ever heard. Playing everything from great classics to new age hits, they kept the few fans there bobbing their heads and tapping their feet all night long. Big props to the music department and Lamar on this one.
Luckily Beaumont is only an hour and a half east of Houston because in my numerous trips to the city I have found fairly little to do. They do have the South Texas State Fair every year which is the 2nd largest fair in the state of Texas. The fair features a livestock show, commercial exhibition and a carnival. The Beaumont Jazz & Blues Fest is held every year in downtown Beaumont, for all the Jazz and Blues fans.
As for great eating I will only recommend one place and that is Sugas Deep South Cuisine & Jazz Bar, absolutely great food and well worth the price.
The 200-300 fans that were in attendance were mediocre at best but did know when to cheer on the Cardinals the most. The arena may be a tad too large for a team at this level right now. As the noise made by the fans is hardly heard at all at times due to the size of the arena. The fans do what they are supposed to do but nothing that will blow you away.
Access to and from the stadium is about as easy and good as it gets. Located just off I-10 you will have no problem spotting the Montagne Center. Parking is free and is in abundance, which is always a plus for me. It also makes for easy entrance and exit to and from the arena. The concourses are very wide which means you should have no trouble making your way around the arena. Bathrooms are plentiful.
With tickets ranging from $6-$12, and a meal costing you on average only about $7-$8, Lamar is making a trip to the arena worth the cost. The Southland conference may not be known for hailing any power house hoop squads, but they are growing. I think any basketball fan that enjoys watching some good college hoops will find this well worth the $20 investment.
There are not a whole lot of great extras provided at Montagne. One thing I will say is a definite extra point goes to the pep band which in my eyes is one of the best in the land.
Another extra point goes out to the beauty of the Montagne Center, by just looking at it you would have no idea it was pushing thirty years old.
The Lamar Cardinals definitely provide entertainment for the money. If you're in or around Beaumont, it is definitely worth the money to catch the Cardinals in action at Montagne.
Member Review by jdcurran235 on Oct 26, 2012
The fan support is always good at the Montagne. It will only improve with Pat Knight as a coach. I have never seen less than 2K at a game. If you look at the attendance record it will back up what I am saying. We always have at least one game a year with more than 6K. Your fan score is completely wrong.
The stadium does need upgrading so I can only give a three. But there is plans for this to occur soon.
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