The best mechanics and drivers at demolition derbies always seem to find a way to keep their cars running and competing, even when they look like they’ve crossed the muddy rodeo grounds for the last time.
The principal owners and organizers of Stirrin’ Dirt Racing have similarly found a way to revive and keep running demolition derbies in Cache Valley.
Earlier this year the Cache County Sheriff’s office announced it would no longer be sponsoring its annual demolition derby at the Cache County Fairgrounds. Johnny Gullo, who operates Northern Utah-based Stirrin’ Dirt Racing, is excited to keep the excitement going for demolition derbies in Logan.
“We think that we can hopefully fire this show up to what it used to be,” says Gullo, “and bring in Stirrin’ Dirt’s reputation and skills of running demolition derbies, because that’s all we do. We hope to resurrect this and make it a great family event the way it used to be and the way Cache Valley residents want to see it be.”
Gullo says Stirrin’ Dirt Racing has had a lot of experience in Cache Valley before (assisting the Cache County Mounted Posse with the event) and will continue to make the event family-friendly. He hopes to make it even more exciting than ever before by attracting a higher level of participants.
“We sat back years ago when me and my partner formed the company,” Gullo explains, “and decided, ‘Who puts on the show? The drivers do, of course.’ Therefore, we need to take care of the drivers. We kind of geared our shows to take care of the drivers and make sure it’s worth their while.”
Payouts for the July 14th Cache Carnage show will be significantly higher than they have been previously: $4,000 for first place (compared to $1,000 previously), $2,000 for second, $1,000 for third and $500 for the fourth place finish. Gullo says there will also be $1,000 handed out to the Mad Dog.
“The guy that goes out there not to win but to put on a show, that’s who we’re looking for.”
Another reason Gullo wants to have a higher payout for the drivers, is because it is getting more and more expensive to build the cars.
“The technology of what is going in the car has severely changed,” Gullo explains. “I don’t know if we’ll ever get over the stigma that we’re a bunch of rednecks that smash the glass, drink beer and crash cars.
“It has gone to such an extent, some of the largest shows in the country – in which we’re a part of – there are companies that are making a living from making derby parts: rear ends that cost $4,000-$6000, motors that cost $5,000-$20,000, transmissions that are anywhere between $1,000-$5,000, then all the parts that go with it from shifters, gas tanks, to battery boxes, all the way down to spindles. You name it they manufacture it for demolition derby.”
Another addition to this summer’s derby, which Gullo says has never been done in Logan before, is a Passenger Heat.
“The Passenger Heat is very interesting, it will be a female driver who has the brake and the steering wheel. A male passenger has the gas pedal. If you’re interested in that, it’s fun and it’s a riot to watch.”
Gullo says if people want to register for either show, they can register online or contact him through the company’s Facebook page. Gullo says 12 drivers have already signed up for the main event and about twice that can participate. He says they are only looking for five or six cars for the Passenger Heat.
Tickets for the event have not been made available yet, but Gullo anticipates ticket partners will be made soon. He also says the organization is looking for charities to get involved, assisting with things like security and concessions.