Fair Association has city approval to stage four demolition derbies for ‘Heavy Hitters’ TV show

Dave Marner

Owensville aldermen on Monday held an emergency closed session and agreed by consensus to negotiate with Gasconade County Fair Association directors and a television production company which wants to use the city’s lower Memorial Park pulling arena to stage four demolition derbies for a new series.

Tom Lahmeyer, chairman of the Fair Association’s lower field committee, told the Board of Aldermen this was a “major production” and the outfit was “not a fly-by-night production.”

Pilgrim Media Group, producers of popular reality-style television shows including “Wicked Tuna” and “Street Outlaws” has asked to use the arena to shoot four demolition derby competitions between two teams for a program Lahmeyer said was called “Heavy Hitters.”

The production is also intending to shoot footage during the fair’s demolition derby  in late July. The other four dates will be scheduled starting two weeks after this year’s Gasconade County Fair ends on July 28.

Mayor John Kamler had called for the special closed session at 2 p.m. Monday and cited “subsection 12” of the Missouri Sunshine Law which allows for closed discussions for negotiating contracts until one is executed or rejected. Kamler told the audience the city’s attorney had approved the request to hold the “emergency” closed session for “contract matters.”

Kamler explained that Lahmeyer had contacted him about the proposal from the production firm and the issue was time sensitive. “They want to lock the venue up or approach another town,” Lahmeyer told the board.

“They want the city involved as much as possible,” Kamler told the board. “You’ll see the numbers. It’s a big shot in the arm.”

“They will ride our coattails,” said Lahmeyer about plans for hosting the demolition derby shows which will feature area contestants competing as teams.

The four extra competitions will be complete with fire and medical personnel providing their services, food stands, security, lights —just like at the fair. 

“They like our facilities,” said Lahmeyer. “They’re not going to make us look like hoosiers. They promised us that.”

“Hopefully this will be a big shot in the arm for us — for our fair, for our parks, for our town,” said Kamler.

The Fair Association is scheduled to meet on Thursday to continue the discussion. Lahmeyer sat in with aldermen during their 40-minute closed session at the invitation of the mayor.


Lahmeyer introduced area resident Josh Wagner as a “cast member.” He said could not comment. An audience member asked if there was a “promise to air” the show once it was shot and produced. “Yes,” was all Wagner could say. Lahmeyer called this an “exciting opportunity.” No votes were reported from closed session.