Demolition derby exciting for all

Cathy Decker

 There's something about a good car crash that brings out the gawkers and any demo derby is a good excuse to gawk. Mercer County's version had 76 vehicles and drivers and more than a few co-pilots chomping at the bit to get their adrenaline pumping.

 With many vehicles towed all the way from Cambridge it was a pretty good three plus hour show.

 Previous demo derbies have had more than these 76 cars, according to Saturday night's emcee Junior Kinsey, (Kinsey & Dobbels Racing Promotion). Mercer County had a pretty good showing. 

 "There have been a number of county fairs that had only 20 to 30 cars," he told the crowd of more than 3,000 viewing Saturday's July 18 event. There was more than $4,000 in prize money given out for the features.

 "Mercer County brought in some money paying them and they're bringing in the cars," said Kinsey.

 The show started off with 18 potential "best car" entries, with the audience picking its favorite. Donnie Hedger of Millersburg had the best crowd reaction. His black small car entry was proclaimed "Twilight" with a sub head of "Bite Like a Vampire."

Rookies

 The first feature was for rookies with first place taking home $300 and a large trophy. Second place won $200 and third place $100, with respectively smaller trophies. There were only six rookie entries, which gave the drivers pretty good odds. One car scratched, raising the odds for the rookies even higher. The winner was Blake Smith, 18, of Altona. Second place went to Kaitlyn Winkler of Alexis and Josh Armstrong of Matherville came in third.

Small car features

 There were two small car feature events, each with 21 cars pitted against each other. The first three places took home cash, with 100 percent payback of the $20 entry fees split accordingly.

That money, along with three respectable trophies and $250, $150 and $75 for the first three places, became the hottest events with the most cars. There were even some rookie cars that re-entered the small car features, if their cars were still running. 

 Compact 1 competitors worked their way down to the top five entries on both the east and west side of the pit. Trevor Fransene of Cambridge was the last survivor on the west side of the pit and had to make his way through a center mess of disabled vehicles to reconnect with the remaining competitors. Class 1 small car winners were: First, Brad Beam, Cambridge in car #54; second, C.J. Pravel, Monmouth, in car #20 and third, Trevor Fransene, Cambridge, in car #006.

 In the second small car feature event, which also had 21 cars entered, there were fires, a car driving over another, a car removed due to a gas line breakage and a few action stops to clear off debris. Winners were first, Jacob Abrahamson, Orion, in car #97x; second, Jessica Palmer of Eliza in car #96 and third, Jason Olsen of Galva in car #137.

Wire

 Wire feature paid out $975 to five places with 18 cars entered. Winners were first, Eric Olsen of Alexis, car #216; second, Ronnie Carey of Cambridge, car #37; third, Ed Tarr, Seaton, car #75; fourth, Travis Anderson, Aledo. Car #5-28, and fifth, Robert Grant, Cambridge, car #62.

Weld  

 The weld class payout was $1,200 to the top 10 places. There were 14 entries in the weld class. Winners were, first, Josh Hutchinson, Cambridge, in car #124; second, Jacob Abrahamson, Orion, in car #97x, third, Josh Vyncke, Viola, in car #143; fourth, Barry Cooper, Aledo, in car #97 and fifth, Dean Anderson, Viola.