Motorized sports move to speedway

Fans of motorized sports won’t see any events at the Mesa County Fairgrounds this year, but the show will go on.

Officials at Grand Junction Motor Speedway said they plan to bring those events such as monster truck rallies and super cross to their grounds.

“In a way it’s a bad deal that they’ve done that,” co-owner Darren Cook said of Mesa County’s announcement to pull those events from the fairgrounds in 2014. “We want to step forward and keep stuff like that in the valley.”

Cook said the Grand Junction Motor Speedway has been putting on a super cross event for the past 20 years. It used to be held at the fairgrounds, but Cook said the costs were too high (he said he lost thousands of dollars to have the events there) so officials moved the event to Rifle.

Now, the speedway is looking at investing in some infrastructure to have motor sports events there, possibly as early as this year. Cook said the speedway began thinking about adding mud bogs and bleachers to their complex earlier this year when county officials said they were considering the change.

“Super cross brings in revenue for the county,” Cook said. “For those weekends, it brings in $300,000.”

Having the three annual motorized events at the fairgrounds also cost the county money, funds the county felt it could no longer afford. The county anticipates saving about $17,500 a year to not host the events.

While motor sports events were featured at the fairgrounds, promoters were responsible for marketing and running the events. Nonprofit organization Western Slope Motor Sports put on a monster truck rally last May. Proceeds from ticket prices, which were up to $25 per person, go to charities.

“They’re very nice folks and very disappointed,” said Fairgrounds Manager Jo Carole Haxel of the group. “I’m sad about the loss. It’s a loss to the community, no matter what decision we made.”

The county is undergoing a 7.5 percent reduction in costs and the fairgrounds determined that canceling motor sports would be a way to ensure other programs could continue.

Monster truck events have been a staple at the fairgrounds for the past 19 years, Haxel said.

It’s difficult to tell whether motor sports events are more or less attended than in years past, she said.

“In some of the shows the crowds seem to be declining, while others you think no one is going to come and it’s a sellout,” she said. Haxel said the fairgrounds office received plenty of calls on Friday from people upset about the cancelation of motor sports.

Noise complaints from motorized sports seemed to come in cycles, Haxel said. For some reason, last year the fairgrounds received the most ever noise complaints, she said, with callers saying they heard the commotion to the north of U.S. Highway 50 and in the Spyglass Ridge subdivision.



COMMENTS

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That’s absolutely the best place for them.  Win for the Speedway, win for the Fairgrounds neighbors, and win for the taxpayers who won’t have to subsidize moving dirt from one pile to another and back.

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