10 Years ago, in the spring of 2009, St Claude Autobody was planning to host their very first demolition derby.
As a kid, I remember going to the old St.Claude fair grounds for the annual fair and demolition derby. Things were much simpler back then; the rules were minimal and the derby ring was simply an area surrounded by old hydro poles. Many remember the event being very popular and it would always attract a large crowd. Over time the old demolition derby faded away, along with the annual fair and baseball tournaments.
Fast forward several years to 2001, where the old fair grounds were being transformed into the beautiful new Mile 60 Park. This was thanks to countless volunteer hours put in by the original park committee members which, today, still include Henri & Doris Tremorin, and Larry Tarko. With the new park came new events, namely the annual St.Claude Celebration, which included a Rodeo and a baseball tournament.
With the revival of the park and the annual events, Norm Bruneau, owner of St Claude Autobody, took this opportunity to revive the local demolition derby. Norm wanted an event that people could enjoy and have the opportunity to make the same great memories that we have of the old demolition derbies.
2018 will mark the 10th annual St Claude Autobody demolition derby. Since it's return in 2009, the derby has attracted approximately 700-1100 spectators each year, and has raised approximately $2000-$3000 annually. All money raised has been donated directly to Mile 60 Park. This event, along with other fundraising initiatives, helped the park committee complete many projects over the years, such as:
- New bathrooms built in 2010
- A campground with 6 electrical sites
- A permanent cooler at the pole shed
- A new fence at the pole shed
10 years of demolition derbies have attracted drivers from all over the province. It has also given locals a chance to exercise their building and engineering skills, while showcasing a unique set of driving skills required to pilot a demolition derby car. It has also given some locals the chance to experience the ultimate glory - winning the demolition derby in front of a sold out, home-town crowd.
"After 10 years, and thousands of combined volunteer hours, we’ve decided to take a step back. Unfortunately, 2018 will be the final year that St.Claude Autobody will host the demolition derby held at the St.Claude Celebration." Explains St Claude Autobody owner Norm Bruneau. "Between our business and growing family, my wife Monique and I won't be able to commit the time required to keep this event running strong moving forward."
Norm believes that he and his crew have laid the groundwork needed to organize this event, making it possible for someone to take it over. He hopes that another individual or organization will step forward and continue to host this annual event that the community has grown so fond of.
With all of that said – it's not done yet. Norm and his crew are getting ready to host their 10th Annual Demolition Derby coming up on June 2nd at the St.Claude Celebration, and want to make it the best one yet. They hope you come out and cheer on the drivers, including some locals who might be trying one last time to experience the ultimate glory!
- Tyler R Green