Fans Disappointed in 2013 Fair Derby

Mr. Tate has been on the fair board for 43 years now. He has seen Learn about new services at Northcrest

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Smokey Barn News September 3, 2013 Springfield, Tenn.

After receiving  emails, Facebook messages and even text messages from dissatisfied fans, it would seem the demolition derby did not go as well as it has in past years. On the Robertson County Fair Assoc. Facebook page the adjectives describing the derby were shall we say, numerous.  Smokey did a little investigating and here’s what we learned. We spoke to Joe Tate; Mr. Tate has been on the fair board for 43 years now. He has seen many derby’s come and go over the years, some great and some not so great. Tate conceded that this year was not the best historically, though he said there have been worse.

Tate said that this year a few things worked together that affected the quality of the show. First there was another derby over in Hickman County that probably pulled some contestants away. Two, the number of entries have been steadily declining over the years and this year there were only eleven. To make matters worse, we lost another five to disqualifications.  Cars were disqualified due to doubled up sheet metal on the doors and there were frame plates that were not legal, according to Tate.

Tate also said they hired Keith Keown to both judge and evaluate cars for rule violations. We hired him and the Board backed up his decisions. Tate said he had a friend in the derby and even his vehicle was disqualified. It sounded to me like Tate felt that Keown was a fair man.

In the old days Tate said, “We had 20 to 25 cars but over the years it’s been slowing down, just a few years ago we only had four cars”

Some  felt the rules were followed too tightly, apparently Keown ran a tight ship and kept things very clean. For some  it seemed too clean. Others said the show was just too slow and they felt it wasn’t worth the money.

The prize money was $2,500 to the winner, $1000 to second place, third place received $600 and forth $300.

Tate said, “We have always tried to run a fair show, if it ain’t fair there’s no need to run it”

I don’t know if any of this information will  affect  anyone’s opinion of the derby, certainly it can’t change the show itself, but perhaps a little more marketing next year will at least improve participation next year.

Your thoughts?

Jim Ball reporting

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Latest Comments
  1. Bettie Gardner

    My husband and I have been going to the Derby seen 1992 ever year. But this year was good we got there early to get a good seat, we wait until 8:00 pm before they started then it was only 4 car in the derby that ran those 4 car 3 time we got mad and just left like about 200 other people. It was just not good at all. Next year we will go to the Friday night truck pull. And for us we would like our money back.

  2. Lisa Keith

    My family and I have been coming to the Robertson County Fair for 24 years or more and me and my husband have even ran in a derby or two ourselves . That being said I also want to say that I and my husband have been in the Jackson family and friends with the Jackson family for all these years . I personally know that their cars are no different today than they have been all the years prior . I also know that you don’t change tanks every year you keep tanks and batteries from year to year so the tank issue makes no since to me because it has been fine all the years before now and for all the other derby’s this year . Rules are much the same from town to town from state to state and while they have changed over the years they did not change drastically from one year to the next . So if the cars from last year were good why not this year . There is no reason why a show shouldn’t start on time you should inspect the cars early enough to insure every thing goes smoothly after all the show is for and should always be for the fans . I was not there this year so I have to listen to everyone’s stories about what time it started and how many cars finally got to run . The only thing I know for sure is that in the past the ones putting on the show have always keep safety first and although you are as safe as you can be you are still crashing one vehicle into another . Slow or fast it still hurts and can cause injury . But the ones running the cars know that and are willing to take that chance . Rules are rules and are in place for a reason but people should not use their power to inspect the cars to put in who they want and out who they don’t . I don’t know the judges and wouldn’t know who they are if they sat in front of me right now so this is not a judgment on them and by all means if a car is not legal don’t let it run . I just know in the past that there have been people try to keep out others just because . In this case I know first hand about these cars and know they are the same as they have always allowed in the derby and like them or not they do make a good show every year and Robertson County is not the only derby they run in . Run , don’t run , go , don’t go I don’t have a horse in the race one way or the other I just hate to see a show , that for so many is the biggest thing they look forward to from fair year to fair year , to end because of all this . Thanks for listening .

  3. paul silvage

    No someone had it out for the jacksons just because they win every year they attacked there cars all derby cars are illegal in one way or another the cars that loaded up and left were only jackson cars or friends of jackson cars. We need new officials to not be friends of either family until that happens the derby will suck every year