TROY — Whether he’s sporting the black and white stripes as a high school referee or the maroon vest as a Hobart Arena usher, Mark Horton’s goal is the same — for everyone to have a great time and to be safe.
Last Friday evening before the Brett Eldredge and Clark Manson concert, Horton shared stories from his favorite events he has witnessed as an usher for Hobart Arena over the years.
“It’s a fun job, it really is,” Horton said Friday evening. “I enjoy coming and hanging out and working. We see a lot of good events and we are here for a lot of things, so it’s a lot of fun. It really is.”
“There’s been so many events. Of course all of the country concert events are memorable ones. Foreigner was a memorable one,” Horton said. “Scotty McCreery was my daughter Amber’s favorite, so that’s one of my memorable ones.”
A family friend of Horton’s was working at the arena and told Horton they were looking for help during various events, so Horton signed up to work part-time for the city’s recreation department more than eight years ago.
A sales manager for an IT company, Horton also dons a whistle and the zebra stripes as both a high school girls volleyball official and high school basketball referee.
Being a high school referee and an usher at Hobart Arena have a lot similar aspects.
“It goes hand-in-hand, it really does,” Horton said. “If I’m on the basketball court, people are yelling at me. If I’m here, people are yelling at me if they are wanting to get up front. But it’s all good.”
Horton had his hands full on Friday evening with nearly every floor seat sold and a lively stage-front crowd. Throughout the evening, often times you’d find Horton helping patrons to their seats and even obliging to a dance move or two as ticket holders two-stepped to their stage-front seats.
“For the most part everybody is typically here to have fun and to have a good time, but there’s one in every crowd,” Horton said with a smile. “What I enjoy is seeing the people and just hanging out with people, people I know just from the area, people that we work with here. That’s enjoyable, too.
“I try to get to as many events as I can. You get to see a lot of good shows, yet we are working while we are here so it has its moments,” Horton said. “You have to come and go with the flow and learn to adapt. We still have a job to do and we still have to make sure people are safe and people are doing what they need to do. For the most part the job is a lot fun.”
Horton said he is looking forward to Hobart Arena’s upcoming multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project.
“I think there are some really good things they are going to do,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Horton resides in Troy with his wife Melanie and their children.