KINGMAN – With 68 acres, Mohave County Fairgrounds should have plenty room for everyone to play nicely.
But the monster trucks are getting pushed out of the main grandstand arena.
They’ll have to find somewhere else to rev their powerful engines, jump giant hills and come crashing down onto a pile of clunkers, a smashing highlight for 1,200 to 1,400 fans who regularly attend the show.
The Mohave County Fair Association board decided Wednesday that monster truck races would have to take place somewhere other than the arena.
The Monster Truck Racing Association came to the fairgrounds in 2003, but went on an 11-year hiatus until fairgrounds manager Jimmy Guillot brought them back. Their last event was held in April.
Guillot resigned as fair manager in October, but was supposed to work through December. His employment ended immediately following a closed session meeting of the board Wednesday.
He was making progress in bringing more events to the fairgrounds such as the Beerfest, Home and Garden Show and most recently the Rude 66 Music Festival, but felt “political pressure” to resign.
The Kingsmen horse and rodeo group was the main force behind booting the monster trucks from the arena. They brought in a 4-inch layer of sand to meet Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association requirements and didn’t want the trucks leaving shards of metal and glass in the dirt.
It was suggested the Kingsmen remove their “sacred” dirt for the monster truck event, but that would cost $5,000 to $10,000 minimum, said fair board member Dusty Lewis, owner of Lewis Equipment.
“Who’s back does that fall on?” asked Ray Cullison of the Kingsmen. “Because you’re talking 40 to 50 truckloads of sand to get that 4-inch base. That’s going to take a lot of equipment.”
The fair board required a $5,000 deposit from the Monster Trucks for dirt removal, which killed the deal, Guillot said.
“They didn’t want it. They went away,” he said.
Fair board Chairman Chas Barker said he could put the trucks anywhere on the 68 acres, though being closer to the center of the fairgrounds keeps people closer to bathrooms and reduces the noise level for neighbors.
Cullison said it would be cheaper to set up temporary bleachers and start a new monster truck event in the back fairgrounds property, similar to the track that Cerbat Motorsports has built for off-road racing.
“On behalf of the Kingsmen, we want to keep everything where it’s at,” Cullison said. “As soon as they (monster trucks) launch, they’re kicking sand out of the arena, and you can’t bring it back.”
The board also heard a presentation from Cassie Hambrick of the Kingman Junior Rodeo Association, who talked about the $10,000 in facility improvements the association has made at the fairgrounds.
KJRA has purchased materials and supplies to fix the arena, including $1,000 of sand and $500 in parts for the Ground Hog auger and Bobcat loader. They also repaired the announcer stand and header and heeler box pads.
“We have paid every expense required and sometimes exceeded those payments,” Hambrick said.
And yet, Hambrick said she got an “unwanted feeling” from multiple people in the room at the fair board meeting.
After a short discussion, KJRA was awarded a three-year extension to its contract with the Mohave County Fair Association under the same terms.
The BMX track was also given another three-year contract at $1 for each event, with Dusty Lewis recusing himself from the vote. Lewis, with the help of community volunteers, built the BMX track that holds weekly races at the fairgrounds.
It was also noted at the fair board meeting that 23 emails were received for the fair manager position. A committee was chosen to review the applications and narrow the field to two or three people for interviews.