By Pam Dudding
When people drive by the Craig County Fairgrounds on a Demolition Derby Night, they know that it is a true derby. The intense sounds of crushed metal and spinning wheels can always be heard.
The Big Car Heat this hot summer night, on August 14, did not disappoint.
The Craig County High School Cheerleaders sponsored a 50/50 drawing to raise funds for their squad. Chris Anderson was the winner and took home $372.50.
Members of the Craig Valley VFW Post 4491 were selling chances on a big screen TV to help support local Veterans. (Tickets can still be purchased, as the drawing will be October 9 at the Fall Festival. For more information, contact Billy Lee or VFW Veterans.)
Sammy Huffman, who served as the event emcee, shouted out, “It’s a one and done heat y’all! This should be a good show.”
The four judges, BJ Oliver, Jesse Bradford, Paul Welch and Mike Ashley, were positioned around the ring.
As Huffman announced each driver, the filled bleachers and ring side areas cheered the participants on. Big car drivers spun into the ring, all wanting to take home the big win.
Eight drivers participated in the event: Jeff Crosby (#716), Braedon Morrison (#69), Joey Minter (#94), P.J Welch (#56), Nathan Lindsey (#97), Matt Flinchum (#36), Corie Trivett (#35) and Donnie Fisher (#21).
Said Huffman as he led everyone in the countdown, “Ok boys, let’s see what you can do tonight.”
Here’s just a sample of the fun that was seen, per driver numbers. There was too much demo’ing to report on!
The horn blew and cars crunched. Immediately, the derby was on.
Car no. 69 hit both #94 and #716 into the wall. Car no. 56 then went for #35. Mud slung high and covered a few people early in the heat.
Within five minutes, #35’s engine was popping like firecrackers. Car no. 69 drove backwards pushing #21 as #94 turned a circle as he pushed #35 around. Car no. 716 and #56 came in and broke it up and on the other side of the ring, #69 and #94 had a good time. Car no. 94 went after #35 who returned the favor, hitting #94.
There was a loud crunch when #21 and #716 both hit #69. Car no. 94 proceeded to ram #21 as #716 spun around in the middle.
Full of action, the entire ring was full of drivers hitting each other fast and hard.
At this time, #21 came for #69 and missed but hit #35. Number 21 then goes for #94 and #35. Next, #716 and #56 rams #69. 94 pushes 35 into #69 and #97 hits #56, and then #94 comes back and hits #716, goes forward and shoots for #21 and rams him right in the door.
Car no. 97 gave #716 a huge rear-end lift with a big hit. More hits continued as #94 rammed the front end of #35 and smoke billowed. Car no. 24 rammed #94 into #69.
No driver held anything back. Not one!
Continuing the action, #97 pushes #69 into the wall but #69 comes right back out with no hesitation into the rear of #21. Car no. 716 gets pushed up on his side by #56 and #35 hits #94 in the side crunching it in badly. So, #94 comes back at #35. Car no. 716 rammed into both #94 and #69. Then #56 and #94 hit #69 and #21 on the wall.
“It’s a true demolition derby y’all,” Huffman shouted out as the crowd cheered louder and louder.
Car no. 716 then came in and played with several hits. Both #69 and #35 did a little hitting on each other. Then #97 pushed #56 and #94 before processing to push #35 and #94 around.
Car no. 21 and #94 hooked up as #97 came in for a hit. Mud slung everywhere as cars tried diligently to get unhooked. Car no. 69 went in for a hard hit on #94 as #56 backed up for a hit on #94.
Car no. 716 spun in the mud, getting stuck.
Everyone started spinning a little more as tires began to wear down.
Car no. 21 revved his engine high and rammed #69 into #716. After this, #69 came back out and hit #21 again. Taking advantage of the hits and smacks was #56 who smacked #716 and took a little of the rear of his car. Car no. 69 then pushed #56 who proceeded to swipe #21.
Several car pieces were falling off and being jammed into the cars. “It’s a good thing these guys know how to build a derby car,” someone shouted from the stands.
Car no. 94 was pushed in on every side and while the tires were all-flat, he still kept going.
Car no. 94 pushed #716 into the mud hole causing a little damage to the tires.
Car no. 21 came around and rammed #69, driving back and hit 56.
Engines started to slightly sputter, and it became more difficult for drivers to hit, as the vehicles became more difficult to steer with radiators spewing, smoke billowing and tires flattened, cocked the wrong way or metal pushed against them.
Car no. 69 backed into both #21 and #56. It’s a free for all!
Car no. 21 backs up and hits #69 before #56 backs up and tries to go forward and hits 21.
A few bumpers are now laying around the ring.
Car no. 56 and #69 collide as #21 hit the rear of #69. After this, #56 came in for a hard hit and they started facing off.
Then #56 and #69 start again and the radiator busted. Number 69 was pushed up on the wall by #21.
Even as the crowd was calling out their favs, you could still hear loud “Ooohs” as big hits were made.
Number 56 comes in from behind and pushes #21 up against #69 then #21 decides to push back. Number 56 pushes back too. This is certainly derby fun.
Then they hit hard.
Number 21 pushed #56 and goes up for a hard hit but got stuck. Number 56 got out and aimed straight for #21 though his right rear tire was sideways. Number 21 then went forward with #56 on his tail. Number 21 then pushed back. Number 56 turns, backs up and sneaks up, hitting 21 from the side, backs up again and went in for another hit.
Number 56 went back again for yet another hit, but not hard. Number 21 was stuck and 56 tapped him and #21 got out. It seemed like #56 was looking for a fair win. Both #21 and #56 had spewing radiators before the event concluded.
Number 56 backs up and goes in for a hit on #21. He then backs up and hits #21 again and again, this time raising #21 up off the ground. Number 56 then backs up all the way across the ring for another hit but the horn blew.
The judges called the heat as #56 took the win!
When it was all over, it looked like a bunch of ugly metal looking creatures were in the ring.
The overall winners were as followed: PJ Welch (first), Donnie Wayne (second), Braedon Morrison (third). Donnie Wayne Fisher took home the infamous Mad Dog Award.
The next derby for all will be the day of Craig County’s Fall Festival, October 9. Drivers are encouraged to get their vehicles ready as it’s always a “hard hitting” demolition time at the fall derby as well.