The Saint-Chrysostome Derby has been around for quite a while, but due to the pandemic it has been shut down for the past few years. The Derby has historically been run with the help of the Knights of Columbus and a large group of volunteers; but it has been difficult to get the event started up again. That is, until this year.
Cynthia Hébert is part of a team that is bringing the Derby back this summer. The team also consists of Jamie Pouliot and Alexandre Monière. Hébert is the president of Club Kilowatt, an ice-racing club. Because there are no projects for her during the summer, she decided this would be an exciting way to spend her time. She approached the Knights of Columbus, and they were in full support of her team taking over the Derby, offering to help in any way they could.
Hébert explains that her team is well-equipped to put on the event. Her experience with Club Kilowatt means that she understands the organization side of things, as well as what it feels like to be a spectator. Both Pouliot and Monière have competed in the Derby, so they understand what it feels like from the perspective of a participant. “We kind of put all of our ideas together,” she says.
This year, the full Derby will take place on the same day, as opposed to the two-day event that it used to be. It will take place on July 22; doors will open at 10 a.m., and the competitions start around 1 p.m. Hébert suspects that the races will go until about 7 p.m. Since everything is happening on the same day, the finals will also take place that day. Tickets can be purchased at the door and the cost is 15$. Children under 10 enter for free.
Right now, it’s crunch time as the day gets closer and closer. “From now until the Derby, it’s the stress of if the weather is going to be nice, are we missing anything, or do we need help with anything? It’s a big process,” Hébert says. Starting the Derby back up is no small endeavor, and it also comes with a huge price tag. “It takes $30,000 to start it well. That’s to pay off insurance, [and] we need to pay off the beer, we need to pay off the bleachers. There’s a lot of expenses to it,” she explains. The team has secured many local sponsors to help cover these costs, and it is always open to more.
For Hébert, events like this are extremely important as a contribution to the local economy. They bring people in and bring them together for a common goal. In light of this, they are donating some of the profits to two local causes. “For each entry, there’s $1 going towards the elementary school in Saint-Chrysostome: they have renovations to do,” explains Hébert. They will also be raising money for Les Aidants Naturels.
If you’d like to sign up to participate in the Derby, the best way to do so is through the Facebook page, “Derby Saint Chrysostome.” This is also the place to send a message if you would like to become a sponsor for the event and encourage it to continue for years to come.