Blair truck, tractor pulls cancelled



Blair Cheese Fest Committee President Dave Mattison didn’t want to place blame on anyone, but the end result of the cancellation of the annual truck and tractor pulls was undeniable. 

“It’s a very, very sad day here,” Mattison said after a decision had been made on Thursday of this week. “But it will be fine. We’ll get through it and we’ll be back next year.”

Road construction on Broadway St. where the pull was set to be held was the primary reason why the pull had to be canceled. While a layer of pavement had been laid, there were still potential liability concerns. Enough concern that the city was requiring the committee to sign a waiver that would make it responsible for any damage, injuries or deaths that may occur during the pull. 

Mattison indicated the committee held off on the decision as long as it could, but the track needed to be prepared and pullers had already started dropping out. Because of the roadwork, the track had to be shortened, which, led to some of the truck pullers opting not to participate, Mattison said. 

While Mattison did not want to blame anyone, committee members protested the waiver at the Blair city council meeting on Aug. 7. 

The council and committee discussed the situation in July when it was decided that a waiver would be required. Committee members attended the August meeting, however, and said the waiver was not what they expected. 

Specifically, committee members argued that they had discussed being responsible for damage to the new pavement that has been laid on Broadway St., however, the waiver that was drafted would leave the committee responsible for any damage to any city property while the pulls are being held. The waiver does not specifically mention Broadway or Pearl streets, but says the committee would be responsible for any property damage, injuries or deaths “arising out of participation in the aforementioned activities on city of Blair property and/or activities incidental thereto, whenever or however they occur..” 

Committee members told the council in August that their legal counsel had advised them not to sign the waiver. Committee members asked the council to negotiate the waiver, but city council members were unwilling to budge. 

City council members again backed the waiver drafted by the city attorney at a meeting last Thursday. Mayor John Rawson said requiring the committee to sign the waiver was “in the best interest of the city.” 

While the council did not act on potentially changing the waiver in two previous meetings, the subject was supposed to be discussed again at a meeting Thursday evening. However, it was determined that even if the city had approved a modified waiver, there would not have been enough time to set up the track. 

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