After two decades, St. Jean's derby days has become a huge drawing card for the community, becoming the largest ATV and UTV derby in Canada. The twentieth annual St. Jean Derby was held on Friday and Saturday.
Not only has it grown to become the largest derby in Canada, but organizer Jason Jablonski says it's also a substantial fundraiser for the St. Jean and Montcalm areas. Jablonski says the impact has come to the point where there are certain parts of town that wouldn't operate at the same level it does without this ATV derby.
"When we're talking gross sales, we're looking at $100,000 in net, obviously less than that after expenses," noted Jablonski. "But you know, it really fuels the local arena, it fuels our splash pad, it fuels our parks and rec association, various hockey teams, and the local church. Everyone seems to get a little piece of the pie here and it's just something that we don't want to do without." He added there's not really a part of town that isn't positively impacted by the derby, and the overall generous support for the event.
Jablonski added there's not really a part of town that isn't positively impacted by the derby, and the overall generous support for the event.
He estimates, since 2003, the derby has raised at least $750,000 for the St. Jean and Montcalm areas.
Jablonski says every year the derby is getting better, getting bigger, and more organized.
"Obviously, our community is a very strong one together on derby day," said Jablonski. "We have over 100 volunteers that come together and it's been like that since we've really been expanding it, and the whole town looks forward to it."
Jablonski described it as "pretty cool" to have people coming from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the United States to participate in the derby. He said many participants have made it a priority to return year after year, rain or shine.
- With files from Chris Sumner -