Airport says organization of rally was like "well-oiled machine" - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Airport says organization of rally was like "well-oiled machine"

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- Airport officials say the crowd estimates for President Trump's weekend rally in Murphysboro was nearly 10,000.

In six hours on Saturday morning nearly 2,000 cars were parked at the airport, with approximately another 2,000 parked off-site. When folks tried to get in, they had to stand in line for nearly a mile to hear President Trump speak. 

"It was Vegas. There was so much material inside that hangar from lights, to sound equipment, to stages," said Gary Shafer, the airport manager. 

Shafer says he sat in meetings with the Secret Service for five days, leading up to the President's visit, orchestrating the venue and finding space for all the air crafts and vehicles that travel with the president. 

"Limos were hidden away on the field. Marine One was hidden away the whole time. The Huntsman, which was the sniper helicopter, just kind of popped up on site," said Shafer. 

Several limos were brought in including "The Beast" all to transport Mr. Trump .1 miles from Air Force One to the hangar. 

"There was a tremendous amount of concern about the line of sight issues because we are such a large and open complex," said Shafer. 

Because of that, organizations from all over the region brought in school buses, dump trucks and other large vehicles to create a barricade for safety. 

"I'd say for five days of work and 10,000 people, it came off as well as could be expected," said Shafer.

The airport and the Jackson County Sheriff's office are still crunching the numbers to see how much the president's visit cost local taxpayers.

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