Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Demo Derby a Farmer's Day highlight for many

The Farmer's Day Demolition Derby was another exciting show for spectators on Saturday evening, with one car getting turned on its side and another ablaze, it was maybe a little too exciting for emergency workers on scene.

The derby is an annual event that the Kimball Ag Society puts on for the town-wide local celebration.

"The Ag Society works hard each year to make this a great event for contestants and spectators alike," coordinator Mark Vowers said.

Kimball saw 34 entries this year, with just a few local contestants.

Vowers said that statewide the average number of competitors for a derby is 15 – 20 and derbies that lure 25 contestants are doing well.

"If you get more than 25, that is great! We had four or five local contestants and the rest were from out-of-town," Vowers said. "This event brings money in and the non-local contestants take home money and then word of mouth gets more drivers to come this way."

Vowers added that larger derbies, such as those in Sterling and Greeley, Colo. Advertise large purses and they see the kind of numbers Kimball sees. This year drivers and crews came from North Platte, Ogallala, Crawford, Alliance, Chadron, and even from Wyoming and Colorado.

The Ag Society saw 17 limited weld contestants, nine full-weld and eight compact cars.

So what brings the competitors our way?

"Kimball has a great arena, good facilities, but they do gamble with the weather and we are always playing with when the Nebraska Huskers game is on," Vowers said. "Kimball is fun because it is one of the last ones of the year and people come to trash out their car so they can start fresh the next year. That is what I really like about it."

Spectators enjoyed the crashing, smashing and speed. Local driver Rick Kizzair got his car tipped on its side; Eric Snittley's #19 car caught fire, first in the electrical system, according to Vowers, which then ignited the gas and there was a small disturbance when one driver was disqualified, Ag Society President Doug Lukassen added.

"It was exciting," Vowers agreed. "The fire, ambulance, and police departments all had extra things to do."

Throughout all of this, and amidst the cheers of the crowd, there were no injuries throughout the night and everyone had a great time.

"My main objective is to make sure the cars are safe and clean. My rules include roll bars on every car to protect the driver and tanks and batteries are secure and covered – special things like that," Vowers said. "We leave no glass in the arena for the livestock to find later."

All in all, both Lukassen and Vowers agree, that the turnout was great and the Kimball Ag Society looks forward to hosting another event next year.

"The payouts were spread out all over the place. I was really pleased with it; it turned out great! We look forward to next year," Vowers said. "We've had great sponsors and the emergency crews get a big thumbs up for their work!"

 
 
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