Get Smashed announces retirement from Derby

photo by Daniel Gaura | Daniel Gaura captured one of the most interesting pictures of the evening as a car was being lifted by a loader during the fireworks display produced by Fire in the Sky.
photo by Daniel Gaura | Daniel Gaura captured one of the most interesting pictures of the evening as a car was being lifted by a loader during the fireworks display produced by Fire in the Sky.

Kremmling’s annual Demolition Derby was a huge success and ended not just with the bang of the fireworks, but with some surprising announcements as well. Most notable among these was the news that co-founders and longtime organizers of the major fundraiser, Will and Rebecca Jones are retiring from the event.

“A heartfelt decision”– Rebecca was in tears, describing what the event has meant to her family, drawing them back year after year, even after they had moved out of the county and to the eastern plains of Colorado. There, Will and Rebecca are busy raising two growing girls, building their own business, and participating in the life of their new community. All of these obligations have made the full-time job of organizing and putting on the derby more and more difficult and, for a couple of years, the couple has recognized the need to step back and focus on their own family and business.

The organization is a huge deal, recognizes Rebecca, who explains that under normal circumstances she would have begun making contacts and connections the day after the event for next year’s show. Two years ago, they made a concerted effort to recruit someone or some group within Grand County to take over the event and learn the “art of the demolition derby.” However, there had not been anyone willing to take over the reins of the event and they were “pulled back in” at that time.

The pair really have perfect their art and feel as if they are going out on a high note, and anyone who has seen the spectacle grow over the years would have to agree. Derby “tips and tricks” have been learned over time, such as watering down the arena in order to slow down the trucks. And creating a nostalgic carnival-like setting.One contestant even used of a top-secret additive used to spike one contestant’s jet fuel and filling the air with the scent of cotton candy. This year’s crowd is estimated to have been about 2,500, about a 25 percent increase over what was anticipated. There were about 40 vehicle entries, which is believed to be the biggest among the state’s demolition derby events this year. The half-time shows and live music lived up to the excitement and hype of the car-crashing itself.

The event was originally conceived by Will and Rebecca as a fundraiser for the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo (MPFR), but it has gained in significance as a major fundraiser and economic driver for the Town and other groups as well. For the past few years, ticket sales have brought in between $35,000 and $45,000 for the Fair, with an average net income of about $10,000, according to Carol Culbreath of the MPFR Board of Directors. Though this number has been pretty consistent over the years, this year’s attendance may mean even higher profits. And other beneficiaries are reporting positive returns as well. The Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce is estimating about $12,000 in beer sales at the beer garden. And on the pit side, the West Grand volleyball team made over $1000 selling burritos and tacos.

It is this community element that Will and Rebecca really point to as the key to the event. “The entire community really comes together to make this event so successful,” says Rebecca. “It is not one single entity; it’s all of us working together.” And Will echoes his wife, stating, “We have always had 100 percent support from the entire community.”

In saying good-bye to their previous role in the event, Rebecca says, “Will and I would like to thank everyone who came and supported the Demolition Derby last weekend. We feel it was our most successful year that we have ever had on so many levels. The drivers were spectacular, our sponsors were amazing, our crowd was thunderous and our volunteers were spot on. The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo has hosted this event for 13 years now and we have been fortunate enough to run it for the Community every single time. We’ve had drivers and spectators come to this event from all over the nation.

Thank you to all who are involved, we appreciate each and every one of you.” But while the departure of Will and Rebecca as the driving force behind the event is huge, there were other changes announced too. Several long-time drivers are also retiring and stepping aside for the next generation of drivers. Kremmling’s Rick Terwilliger “passed the torch” to son Daniel Terwilliger and did not drive this year, only making a cameo appearance as the Grim Reaper. Chuck Martinson, also of Kremmling, indicates that he may also be ready to hang up his keys.

The 2019 Demolition Derby certainly did seem to have reached a zenith in fun and was an “amazing experience” for all who attended. Community leaders hope that someone will step into the gap left by Will and Rebecca and continue to grow it into the future.

2019 Demolition Derby winners!
Compact Class
1: Jordan Lutz
2: Hannah Sheldon
3: Scott Webber
4: Anja Ley
5: Andrew Oliver
Flag: Craig Claunch

Limited Weld
1: JD Docheff
2: Kelly Faylor
3: Bud Carpenter
4: Chuck Martinson
5: Jace Lay
Flag: Jace Lay

1: Bubba Alvarado
2: Brandon Cordel
3: Mason Lemon
Flag: Mason Lemon

Fully Weld
1: Jeremy Neitzel
2: Bud Carpenter
3: Nate Cole
4: Clint Wolfe
5: Mike Dewey
Flag: Bud Carpenter

1: Kelly Faylor
2: Brad Faylor
3: Bud Carpenter
4: JD Docheff
5: Chuck Martinson
Flag: Blake Saint
Mad Dog — Kelly Faylor

1: Curtis Docheff
2: Mike Dewey
3: Blake Sain