It was 1988 and the Lind Lions Club were making plans to add an extra event to the annual rodeo as the Centennial celebration was about to begin. Their participation event was decided after Ruben Fode, local Lions member and farmer had recently watched a combine demolition derby in a neighboring town. With old combines in the area and looking for something new and different, the Lions took the idea, expanded on it, and were soon off and running. With the annual rodeo and the Centennial Celebration fast approaching, they decided to implement a derby during their Centennial rodeo's intermission. Bill Loomis, local implement dealer, just happened to have the combines for such an event and was more than willing to put them to good use!
Just like that, 1988 became the birth of the Combine Demolition Derby. So, on June 9, 1988, and during the last event of the Centennial Celebration, 9 old combines (thanks to a grave yard at Loomis T & T) entered the rodeo arena during intermission and "all hell broke loose". The crowds went wild! It was beyond comprehension that those massive 10,000+ lb. machines could cause so much havoc, could entice so much spectator enthusiasm, and could deliver the high decibels of metal hitting metal. The sounds reverberated throughout the arena for hours, and those leaving the arena were in shock. Just what had they witnessed? How could they become a driver? What would it take to find an old combine? The crowd was appreciative, and over and over you heard, "I've never seen anything like it!"
The rest of this story is history. In fact, it's soon to be 32 years of history. Thanks go to the Lind Lions club who did just what they do best: Succeed! Their plans for the following year were being formulated with a bigger and better derby as one of their yearly goals. Rules were made and remade, a rodeo arena was evolving into a state of the art facility, and the advertisement was going out through local papers, radio waves and mostly by word of mouth. It didn't take long and the combines were the main attraction of the weekend celebration and interest and enthusiasm grew throughout the United States. The Lions Club welcomed drivers from as far away as Australia, they've had celebrity drivers, women drivers, and drivers who have never been on a combine. (They learned quickly how to maneuver the massive machine!) They've had up to 26 combines in one weekend. The derby's been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, honored in a 5 page article in the 50th edition of Play Boy Magazine, been featured on many television programs, and KHQ in Spokane was awarded an Emmy for their fantastic DVD feature of the derby. They've been headlined in many newspapers, and have the interest of many Lions clubs who want to know, "How do you do it?"
The drivers are well paid, coming from towns throughout the United States. They earn money for having the best decorated combine, winning heats, and for being the last combine running at the end of the day. The crowds have their favorites and are loyal to those returning year after year. They're a great group of drivers who put on a very entertaining show, and they all have the respect of a grateful Lions Club and loyal community.
Join the group. You just might love it and it's a fact that you'll enjoy the camaraderie of a fine group of men. In 2018, the Lions celebrated their 31st derby, and as long as they can find the combines, they see no end to this amazing event.