Demolition Derby organizers talk about the event and the recent overall decline

Demolition Derby organizers talk about the event and the recent overall decline

ROCK SPRINGS – As we have heard from different groups in the area, such as the Red Desert Rodeo and now the Demolition Derby, numbers are declining and its getting harder to find sponsorship. The Rock Springs Professional Firefighters Local 1499, the group who sponsors the demo, spoke to the Sweetwater Events Complex about this issue.

President Dominic Erramouspe addressed the board about the planning of what will be the 36th annual Demolition Derby. While Local 1499 does fundraisers throughout the year, this is the only fundraiser which goes back into a fund specifically for the community.

Erramouspe explained this fund is used to help burnout victims or families who have been displaced because of fire. It was recently used to help the Rock Springs Lady Tigers Soccer squad and Western Wyoming Community College Soccer team offset equipment costs. Overall, the fund has given back approximately $375,000 to the community.

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This year, the event has been shortened to one day which will be Saturday, Aug. 9. Erramouspe asked the Events Complex for their expertise on events. He said the demo peaked in 2007 but has been on a decline and is now “pretty much on life support.”

He said cost and finding older models of cars is becoming more difficult. They have introduced new classes, which Erramouspe hopes will help, but entries are down and attendance has declined so much it is now a one-day event.

Erramouspe said maybe there would be something they could work out with fees and the rental costs, but said he understood the complex’s side also. He also said they would love to be able to use the resources and expertise of the Events Complex to help marketing and other aspects of the event

“We are looking at ideas like that,” he said. “We have to make smarter decisions. We are simple firefighters, not really business people.”
Board member Rob Zotti asked if Erramouspe had looked to see if this was a national trend. Erramouspe said it is and actually Rock Springs has lasted longer than most communities with demolition derby events.

Zotti said there are events such as tractor pulls which have had trouble with scheduling and such and asked if the derby would consider a partnership like that. Erramouspe said they have not, but are looking at smaller mini events within the derby. He talked about doing a couples event where a married couple or other would tandem drive.

Board member Bill Valdez told Erramouspe it is an election year and maybe they should talk to Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell and Rock Springs Police Chief Mike Lowell and see if they would drive. With Sweetwater County Commissioner John Kolb in the room, Valdez said they should even throw Kolb in a car.

“I’m sure there would be some people who would love to hit John,” he joked.

Acting Chairman Kent McCann said he would hate to see it go away because of the history and the importance to Local 1499.

“Hopefully, there is something we can do to help,” McCann said.