Mr. Tate has been on the fair board for 43 years now. He has seen
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.
Jim Ball reporting
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