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Road Rules

In Troy, N.C., the West Montgomery High School Athletic Booster Club has been hosting a demolition derby for the past 26 years. And along with raising thousands of dollars through entry fees, concessions, raffles, and parking, they've established a tradition of keeping the event safe.


By Craig Jones
President, West Montgomery High School Athletic Boosters Club
Troy, N.C.


When you're hosting a demolition derby, your number one concern has to be safety--for the drivers and the fans. Preparing a demolition derby car isn't just a matter of going out and buying an old junker. To make the cars safe, the gas tank needs to be removed, the driver's compartment has to be reinforced, and all extraneous metal and glass needs to be stripped away. To reach the engine in an emergency, there's got to be a hole cut into the hood, and there's generally an inspection hole cut into the trunk, too.


The biggest challenge is finding inspectors who truly understand automobiles, because when people start moving their fuel tanks, you need somebody who knows what they're doing. Is the trunk welded properly? Is the gas tank firmly mounted on the floorboards? Is the car safe? As the promoter, we need to have inspectors who can answer those questions.


There are a lot of other logistics, too. You need a water truck to keep the dust down and make sure cars don't pick up too much speed. You need concrete barriers to keep the crowd safe. You need release forms for the drivers, so you don't worry about liability, and an insurance policy for the crowd.


There are lots of ways to tweak the rules and plenty of Web sites that will give you examples. Here at the West Montgomery Athletic Boosters Club, our main focus is safety, which is why we've been so careful about our policies:


When it comes to the rules, there are no appeals--the decisions of the inspectors and judges are final. This year, we had about 20 cars, with each driver paying $25, and the crowd was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 people. We charge $10 a head to get in, and when all is said and done, with the concessions, entry fees, and money from the gun raffle, we made $11,500 profit in one night. People call it the Redneck Family Reunion, and might sound like a weird deal, but it's a good fundraiser.



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