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Rain dampens demolition derby in Inuvik

3108dem52 Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo The Navy Road pit sits empty of derby cars on the morning of Aug. 26, after the demolition derby was cancelled due to rainy weather and wind that damaged organizers' equipment. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017

Rainy weather and chilly winds on Saturday threw a wrench in this year's demolition derby, forcing organizers to cancel the event before drivers could start their engines.

“We woke up and found all our efforts of last night destroyed by wind,” Melinda Gillis, fundraising co-ordinator with the Iron Horse Klub, said Saturday morning from the soggy grounds of the Navy Road pit.

Kurt Wainman, president of the Iron Horse Klub, directs people in cleaning up the derby site Saturday morning, after the event was cancelled. Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

She and other organizers had set up about eight tents for the day, including one at the entrance for volunteers, another for sound equipment and an MC, as well as a large wedding tent spanning 20 to 30 feet long.

“That just got crumpled. It got crushed,” said Gillis.

Meanwhile, two of the 10 vehicles registered for this year's derby experienced mechanical issues and had to back out last minute. A third wasn't ready in time for the event.

In the past, the derby has drawn between 20 to 30 vehicles, she said, although it's been a number of years since the last derby was held.

“We had to make a call,” said Gillis. “Wind is a different factor. It's huge. It's cold, it's wet and people aren't going to stand there.”

She hopes delaying the event to next spring will draw more people out and give participants who had already signed up a chance to enter another vehicle if they choose.

“Even this year, the ones that were registered to go in, when I contacted them they were really cool about it,” Gillis said of the cancellation.

Everyone who purchased tickets for the event will be reimbursed, she added.

During the demolition derby, old cars that have been suited up again for the event are smashed around in the mud pit, with the last car running in the end being dubbed the winner.

Kurt Wainman, president of the Iron Horse Klub, said he organized the first derby in 1997 – one he still has photos of to this day.

Last year, a group of people got together to form the club and take mudbogs, the demo derby and other motorsport events under their wings.

“In the past, there was only really two of us organizing it and it was a little strenuous,” Wainman said.

“As we keep doing events with the Iron Horse Klub, as in our mudbogs and our demolition derbies and our snowmobile rallies, we're trying to be more creative and have more fun for the community.”

Although volunteers and participants were disappointed by this year's cancellation, Gillis said, they remained positive.

“We're a brand new club, our very first year,” Gillis said. “We're just going to get better and I think we're going to become a really solid asset for this community.”