DERBY: Action from the Nelson Trolley Derby on Collingwood St. The annual derby will not be happening this year. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

Trolley derby finished?


It has been a rite of passage for countless parents, children and spectators, even inspiring its very own feature film, but the Nelson Trolley Derby seems to have stalled with no sponsors or organisers willing to step up to make the iconic event happen.

Organiser Tim Bayley, who helped form the Trolley Club which revived the derby in 2002, says it was disappointing that it had come to this.

“No one has come on board to run it and no one has come on board to finance it. There was a lack of interest last year from corporates, they all just faded away.”

Tim has organised it for many years but says the event “takes its toll” and it was time for him to step down. It needs about $15,000 to run the event which goes towards safety gear, haybales, resource consent, radios and announcing equipment for the day.

“It’s not a simple, cheap little thing.”

It has had several sponsors in recent history, but all have moved on.

“Finding someone else is that hard thing. We have a committee, but everyone is really busy these days. Most have their own companies and kids.”

Tim says it’s a “rite of passage for kids and parents”.

“A lot are already disappointed but no one has stepped up to do it.”

Tim says the club was looking at holding an event in Richmond to celebrate the opening of Queen St but that had been pushed back.

“It would have been good; Queen St is not very steep but it would be just for kids and a bit of fun.”

But by the time Queen St is fully open it will be heading into winter.

The event has its origins in the 1970s and came and went a few times over the years before having an unbroken run of 16 years since 2002.

It also inspired the film Kiwi Flyer with Nelson-born director Tony Simpson basing his tale of a family’s triumph and tribulations around the event. The movie was shot in Nelson, too.

Tim hopes that the Collingwood St event hasn’t been counted out completely.

“It really need a pro organiser who wants to do it for free, which is a big ask as it’s a lot of work.”