It has been said that some derby drivers don’t care to compete against the ‘Craig County Boys.’ This past derby proved to be true because after the heats, many had to be towed out of the ring after being smashed.
The Craig County Demolition Derby has proven year after year to be one of the most attended events in the county. On May 18, there was standing room only. B.J. Oliver even pulled in a flatbed for people to stand on so they could see all of the action.
“The ringside parking passes were sold out before they went on sale,” emcee Sammy Huffman said before adding that 30 ringside tickets were to be sold, starting at 7 p.m. on the Friday night prior to the derby. The line started before 5 p.m. and was so long that many started going home before 6 p.m. “We got there at 6 p.m., thinking we were early,” said one lady.
The derby also had Power Wheels back for children and added a new derby, the Lawnmower for teens.
After Huffman welcomed everyone, the little tikes got to have their Third Power Kids Derby. Entries have almost quadrupled since they started the event over a year ago.
Bubbie Ponton, along with several dads, moms and family members of the children continue to help make this event a great success. “It’s derby drivers in the making,” one person yelled with a grin. Said another with a laugh, “And it’s more girls too.” Angie Ponton of Guthrie Insurance was the sponsor, providing trophies for every driver. Many of the kids faces lit up when they were presented with their first trophy.
The Derby Committee continues to bring in surprises such as a lawn mower derby for teenagers. “They were the only ones left out,” Timmy Snider said. Snider, the owner of Tim’s Small Engine Repair, along with Daniel Givens, owner of D & C Excavating, decided to give the teens a chance to display their talents at the derby event.
Givens’ daughter, Holly, took first place and Erin, Snider’s daughter, placed second with Carter Givens and Will Huffman placing third and fourth, respectively.
Danielle, Erin’s mother, shared that Erin’s John Deere was like her ‘first motorized toy’ and she and her dad worked diligently to get it ready for the derby.
Hundreds attended the derby’s demolition. “There’s no more room in the inn,” one participant said as many had to park on the outside and down the streets.
There were four judges for the heats: B.J. Oliver, Jimmy Williams, Jesse Bradford and Bubbie Ponton. “They have a tough job,” Huffman said. “We want to run a fair derby, and these are some of the best.”
The first heat included the small cars (only in size, not in hit capability), which were; Charlie Foutz (Bustin Loose – 38), Paul Welch (GetRDone – 55), Cole Dudley (Dirty Harry – 22), Seth Smith (30), Brad Britt (Roscoe – 10), Richard Brown (51), Ethan Brown (15), Jesse Hibbitts and Elijah Hedge (Old Red).
There was so much joyful chatter going on, but when Huffman announced the first heat was ready to start, a hush filled the air, until Huffman shouted, “Start your engines.” The audience then joined Huffman in the countdown and the first hits were made, which were strong, within seconds.
Crunched metal sounds filled the atmosphere as people cheered the drivers on. It only quieted when the judges had to stop the heat from picking up car parts so that no one would get hurt. It didn’t take long before the hits started back up and the crowd joined in on the fun.
Britt lost his front end after it got jammed up. Brown was determined to push Welch up against the wall as far as he could, and that’s when Welch’s car started smoking.
Brown, Foutz and Hedge seemed like they were battling with some dancing in the ring. Brown earned first place honors while Hedge placed second and Foutz placed third.
There were so many small cars that entered, they had to have two heats. The second round included: Matt Huffman (Hurricane -88), Aaron Bostic (Rebel- 88), Greg Alger (1X), Patrick Greenway (77), Mason Smith (02), Courtney Price (5-0), Corey Trivette (35) and Jason McAlwee (40).
Smith started strong, hitting Greenway, doing a 360 dance. Greenway hit Alger against the wall. Smith hit McAlwee and the bumper fell off. Smith got stuck in the mud hole corner as well as Bostic.
The hits came hard and fast. Smith hit McAlwee and he hit back. McAlwee rammed Smith all the way down the side of his car and both kept going. Huffman, Bostin and Greenway gladly joined in.
Though Price’s car caught on fire, he placed in the top three, along with Smith and McAlwee. “That’s a great heat,” one man shouted from the stand.
When it was time for the first-time truck derby to start, drivers Austin Underwood (75), Kaleb Breeden (3) and Brandon Haymore (67) were ready. Underwood had written on his car, “Last minute,” while Haymore wrote, “I got this.”
First place honors went to Haymore while second and third place honors went to Underwood and Breeden, respectively. All three said they had a great time. “That was short, sweet and powerful,” said one man who overheard them.
The Small Car Consolation Heat brought out Charlie Foutz, Mike Smith, Richard Brown, Jason McAlwee and Ethan Brown. Many of the others were too ‘demolished’ to continue.
Though all of the cars did not look like they could go another heat, when the countdown hit one, every driver gave it all they had.
Hard hits were made and taken. Ethan (third-place) rammed McAlwee who hit Richard (first place). Foutz (second place) gave McAlwee a couple good hits but his car sounded like a giant popcorn popper.
Smith came across the ring and rammed Foutz and Richard at the same time, pushing them into the wall. Richard kept rocking back and forth until he made it out and came back at Smith, pushing him across the ring and into the other wall, taking him out.
Richard started overheating, so the judges called a stop and five seconds later, ‘boom!’, his radiator blew.
The last heat of the evening was the Big Car Heat with drivers: Donnie Wayne Fisher (21), PJ Welch (56), Dustin Price (50 – Boss Hog), Jeremiah Law (17), Jay Law (38 – The old man), Daniel Givens (Widowmaker), Jimmy Owens (09) and Josh Meadows (38).
Engines revved as drivers were ready for the horn to blow and when it did, parts and mud went everywhere.
The big mudhole in the corner didn’t seem to bother any of these drivers, as many were pushed into it but came out without hesitation and with vigor, with drivers hitting two cars at a time.
Fisher hit Price, Price hit Jeremiah and Owens rammed Jay into the wall. Fisher and Price seemed to have a stand-off until a radiator blew and a front end was practically gone.
Fisher appeared to be on a mission, hitting one after another. Jeremiah seemed to be stuck on the wall but surprised everyone coming back out to play – hard.
Givens car spewed out flames. He jumped out until the Fire Department who did their job in a quick response. He then jumped back in, ready to go.
It didn’t take Fisher long to zoom in on Givens as they battled it out, but Fisher managed to ram Givens until the rear of his car was over the side of the ring.
Huffman ended the derby by thanking everyone who made it possible and the Fairground Association announced the drawing of the 50/50 winner. Who was that individual? Pam Dudding.
Beautiful trophies were presented, as well as the money for the top three drivers in each heat.
The next derby will be held on Saturday, October 12. “Y’all make sure you come see us again at the Fall Festival Derby,” Huffman said.