Ag Society Digs Deeper Into Demo Derby at September Meeting

BROKEN BOW – The Custer County Ag Society held their monthly meeting on Wednesday evening; among the regular reports, the paying of bills, and approval of minutes, one discussion item loomed large, and everyone knew it: the return of a demolition derby to the Custer County Fairgrounds. All board members were present.

Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Grafel was on hand as a representative of the chamber in the ongoing deliberation. According to Grafel, both the Chamber of Commerce and the Ag Society are open to the idea of collaboration in bringing back a demolition derby to the fairgrounds, though the concerns remain consistent between both parties.

“We’re open to listening, and to helping figure out numbers and seeing if this is something that’s profitable, and something that is going to be safe for spectators, that it can be done in a safe environment, so that spectators are going to be taken care of as well.”

The safety of spectators and animals on the fairgrounds has been at center of the ongoing debate: if the derby should return, will it take place in front of the grandstand, the arena, or elsewhere? How will insuring such a massive event work? These and other questions led a cautious Ag Society to table the topic until more definite answers could be found.

One resident opposed to the derby’s return warned of its potential consequences; the high school and junior high rodeos may not take place in Broken Bow should the event happen in front of the grandstand.

Answers to the posited questions regarding insurance, location, fees and possible financial profit are expected at the Ag Society’s October meeting.

In addition to derby discussion, the board recapped the county fair concert; according to Custer County Fairgrounds Administrator Michelle Nelson, this year’s show was a resounding success for the Ag Society.

“I still have $500 of sponsorship money to collect, so that’ll put us at a revenue of $15,896.88.” An impressive return, considering the cost of the show was well over twice the revenue. “It’s expensive to put on a concert,” Nelson says, “It was $54,000 worth of expenses.”

The Ag Society discussed the upcoming Mid States Rodeo Finals; the search for sponsors and volunteers is heated and underway, and expenses keep mounting. The Ag Society is still trying to arrange a source of hay for the horses, a big screen rental for the arena, and an announcer to call the events.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m., with the next scheduled for Thursday, October 13 at 7 p.m. at the Shooting Sports Building on the grounds.