Fairground cancels motor sports
Motorized sporting events will be absent from the Mesa County Fairgrounds grandstands this year because of budget cuts.
The fairgrounds typically plays host to three motorized events in the grandstands area each year: monster truck rallies, super cross, and demolition derby.
Responsible for making a 7.5 percent budget cut year-over-year for 2014, fairgrounds staff decided to ax motorized events to save on labor, supplies, cleaning and electricity associated with putting on the events. Fairgrounds Manager Jo Carole Haxel said the biggest cost savings will come from not having to “turn the dirt” between events that involve livestock and the motorized events.
“When we host rodeos or livestock events and then turn around and host motor sports events, we can’t allow them to use the same dirt. Car parts go flying into the dirt; we can’t put expensive horses and bulls or cowboys in that dirt, they could get injured,” Haxel said.
Haxel said not having motorized events will save the fairgrounds an estimated $14,000 and save about $3,500 on electricity bills paid by the county’s facilities department.
She said Thursday she couldn’t immediately remember how much it would have saved to remove rodeo and livestock events instead but she added those events bring in revenue from stall fees. There also would be more non-motorized events to cancel, such as college rodeo, a circus, bull-riding and Colorado Professional Rodeo Association Finals.
Frequent complaints about noise from neighbors to the fairgrounds during past motorized events were not a main reason for cutting the events, but they did play a role in choosing between livestock and motor entertainment.
“When I put pros and cons together for the board (of commissioners), one of the pros I guess on the side of specializing toward rodeos was the noise factor, for sure,” Haxel said.
Still, Haxel said it was a tough decision to halt motorized events in the grandstands for 2014 but after four years of cuts, she said there were few other places to save money.
“Those are good shows but when you have to tighten your budget, something has to go,” she said.