Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson (left, standing) addresses the heated concerns of racing enthusiasts during a meeting between the Mohave County Fair Association and Cerbat Motosports. (Photo by Aaron Ricca)
KINGMAN – Short of louder F-bombs and a fistfight or two, racing enthusiasts faced off against the Mohave County Fair Association over the future of racing in Kingman.
Cerbat Motosports and BMX organizers, participants and family members heatedly expressed their concerns about the possibility of new lease and rental terms with the Mohave County Fair Association Wednesday night.
Between MCFA board members and racing fans, about 100 people showed up. The usual monthly meeting had to be moved from a small front office to one of the exhibit halls in order to accommodate the number of people trickling in and out throughout the night.
The meeting started at about 6:30 p.m. and lasted nearly two hours. There was no shortage of excitement.
“If we’re forced to move out, I’m done here,” said Joe Webber, Cerbat Motosports owner and organizer of nearly seven years. “It’s just not right. It’s bullcrap.”
That was one of the opening statements and the fury didn’t stop there.
An email sent April 4 by MCFA General Manager Tim Woods to Joe Webber (and reportedly High Desert 66 BMX) stated that there would be changes to lease agreements dictated by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. The county owns the property, which is in dispute as to where it should be moved and who should take ownership.
MCFA Chairman Ramona Auld pulled double duty as a voice of reason and a punching bag.
She calmly explained that under new county stipulations that vendors, especially for-profit event vendors, will have to comply to new rent, lease and insurance agreements enacted by county board of supervisors.
“This is just like a leasing property from anyone else,” she said. “It’s their property and their business.”
It was hard to hear her over angry shouts from the audience.
“There’s not enough for kids to do in this shit-hole town,” yelled one unidentified speaker who had already traded barbs with another person waiting to be heard. “You can’t take this away from us.”
MCFA Secretary Becky Fawson replied to that comment later in the meeting.
“I don’t appreciate that ‘shit-hole’ description,” she said. “I’ve spent a good portion of my life here trying to make things better for kids in Kingman.”
MCFA insists that they’re not trying to kill racing.
“We’re not kicking you out,” Auld said. “But we’re not going to store other people’s stuff.”
Webber and racing fans aren’t seeing it that way.
“You’re just trying to kick us out,” was the yell and grovel among many racing fans.
They were furious about having to consider the possibility of not being able to secure a long-term lease and/or having to move their property in and out on a regular basis.
Many of Webber’s comments were hard to hear. He stayed toward the back of the crowd for the meeting rather than take the stand and speak into a microphone as the MCFA board encouraged many to do.
Woods offered to buy (for ownership by the fairgrounds) the large concrete barriers on the race course, but rescinded the plan after costs proved too much.
The topic of insurance policies for gun shows and rodeos stirred the hive.
“Well what about guns shows and storing ammunition,” shouted an unidentified audience member. “Or the rodeo?”
“We’re not talking about gun shows or the rodeo,” Auld responded to an audience that erupted in fury.
Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson spoke to the crowd in order to bridge the misunderstandings between MCFA and racing fans regarding the county’s new contract.
“The fairgrounds board is not trying to move you,” he said. “It’s trying to warn you.”
Watson said four of five supervisors want to work to keep Cerbat Motosports and the fairgrounds alive in Kingman.
MCFA Vice Chairman Jason Millin was the ambassador.
“There are a lot of solutions in this room,” he said. “Let’s work together.”
He even offered to personally help move racing property should they have to find a new way to store it.
“I joined this board because I didn’t like the way things were going in the past,” Millin said. “I’m here to try to make things better.”
He suggested starting a racing subcommittee to join MCFA in order to better facilitate their concerns.
A separate meeting about this topic will be held 6 p.m. April 29 at the Mohave County Fairgrounds located at 2600 Fairgrounds Ave.
Spit-spats over insurance, possible short-term rentals and conflicts with other events continued throughout the rest of the meeting.
MCFA called for a recess to address the rest of their monthly agenda.
Many people went home. Others stayed. The atmosphere was still filled with irritation.
“I’m too pissed off to talk right now,” Webber said after an hour and a half of discussion. He wouldn’t answer any other questions.
Michael Burrow, 14, was at the meeting with his 23-year old brother Michael Napier. Both are scramble car racers, both were covered in grime and grease from working at their garage all day, and both were furious about the possibility of losing a place to play.
“I’d be pissed off if they took away the races,” Burrow said. He spent part of his day repairing the clutch to a race car.
His brother agreed.
“These events keep the kids away from drugs and alcohol,” Napier added. “If there’s one thing that keeps this community together, it’s racing.”
Auld maintained her composure throughout the meeting and was happy to see so many people show up to voice their concerns.
“There’s always two sides to a story,” she said. “When you get more, it turns into an angry mob. I’m glad to see the turnout. There’s always a solution.”
The topic is heavier than it looks. Check into Mohave County Rattler for updates.
Woods passed out print copies of the new lease and management agreement. The Mohave County Rattler will post a digital copy when it becomes available.
Audio of the April 10, 2019 Meeting.