08/18/13 — County fair drops demo derby, but just for 2013 season

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County fair drops demo derby, but just for 2013 season

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on August 18, 2013 1:50 AM

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Fair organizers say they are changing the format of the derbies and hope to bring them back -- even better -- next year.

There won't be any shake, rattle and roll of the automobile variety at the fair -- at least this year.

The Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair has dropped demolition derbies from its Saturday and Sunday afternoon schedules in favor of livestock shows.

But that doesn't mean the demolition derby is gone for good, Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Manager Eddie Pitzer said. Instead, fair planners are looking to re-evaluate what can be done with the demolition derby to make it more exciting to help draw in more competitors so it can be bigger and better next year.

"The derby is one of those things we've had for a long time, but it's something we need to reevaluate," Pitzer said.

"It's a big draw. We knew that when we made that decision. It was a hard decision we had to make. We wanted to have a bigger and better derby, and we felt we needed to do this to open up the competition."

Pitzer and other fair planners have started exploring recruiting more competitors and expanding the categories of vehicle classes.

For example, Pitzer discussed possibly using mini-vans as vehicles in the demolition derby next year.

"Those mini-vans, they put on a really good show," Pitzer said, "And it's one of those things the audience can relate to."

Instead of the derbies, livestock shows will be presented in the grand arena area during the normally scheduled derby times.

That move has allowed a reshuffling of youth exhibits, which opens up more room in the main exhibit hall. Pitzer said the extra room will allow better displays and a more competitive atmosphere in that area. Pitzer puts the number of exhibits this year at 1,200.

"The fair is one of the best places for our urban community to come out and get close to agriculture with the displays that we have," Pitzer said.

Pitzer is also hoping that a new bull riding competition involving freestyling cowboys -- better known as rodeo clowns -- will help make up for the lower attendance brought on by the lack of the derbies. On Monday and Tuesday night, the "Dances with Bulls" event pits freestyle cowboys against enraged bulls for 60 seconds. Points are scored through tricks and the judging of each cowboy's unique abilities.

"Of course, the bull has a different opinion on what the freestyle cowboys can do," Pitzer said.

Advance ticket sales for the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair are available now. The 65th Annual Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair is scheduled for Sept. 26 to Oct. 5. More information is available online at waynefair.com