EATON — For a grand finale on Saturday, Aug. 6, the Preble County Fair hosted its second demolition derby of the week. A full house in the stands watched four hours (eight heats) of vehicles in seven categories trying to demolish each other.
A total of 175 participants took part in turning operational vehicles into scrap heaps.
Some serious competition occurred in the demolition pit, but for the most part it was all in fun. Thankfully, no drivers were hurt in any of the heats. Many drivers are locals who are close friends.
One example — Nick Hibbard and Brenden Whisman — finished first and second in the Youth Lawn Mower demolition. “There isn’t much to tell really,” said Whisman after the event. “Me and my best friend, Nick, have done this for three years, and he finally won this time.”
“There’s some rivalry, but it’s all cool,” Hibbard said of the competition with his friend.
There were other winners who took their victory to heart. Junior Hull is a driver who has participated in demolition derbies for 34 years. This was his first win in many years.
“First time in a long time. I’m 52 years old, and it feels great. I plan on going for another 20 years at least. It’s not just a young man’s game.”
His granddaughter, Adora, was on hand with her grandfather. “I’m really super proud of my granddaddy!” she enthused.
Not only is the sport open to people of all ages, but to women as well.
Bobbie Jo Dalton is known in the region as one of the best demolition drivers. She won the first Stock Front Wheel Drive event.
“I’ve been doing this for 16 years,” she said. “First time in 10 years I ran in Ohio. My daddy used to do this — he can’t do it anymore, so I do it for him. I’ve been in 95 shows and have about 70-plus trophies. It’s not just another day in the park, because these younger drivers will give anyone a run for the money. But experience really counts.”
The feature event was the final show of the Modified Kicker Class. These are the biggest and fastest cars in the demolition event. The collisions were hard and the sounds were thunderous. When the dust cleared and the pieces stopped falling, Shannon Pugh emerged victorious in an awesome display of demolition and determination. Between him and the second place winner, Richard Davis, there were several instances where both vehicles stalled out and each was dangerously close of being disqualified. But both drivers managed to restart their cars several times to continue the contest until Davis’ vehicle couldn’t go on.
“We got lucky in kicking in the engines on that last stretch,” Pugh said. “But Richard and I are best friends. It’s all about smashing things up and shaking hands when it’s all over.”
Results for the derby included:
Youth lawn mower 11 entries
1st: Nick Hibbard
2nd: Brenden Whisman
3rd: Collin Garnett
Adult lawn mower 8 entries
1st: Shanon Rader
2nd: Lonnie Sims
3rd: Charlie Edward
Mild weld class 3 entries
1st: Matteau House
Compact 20 entries
1st: Junior Mull
2nd: David Tillery
3rd: Wade Butler
Stock front wheel drive #1/ 21 entries
1st: Bobbie Jo Dalton
2nd: Brad Sorrell
3rd: Mark Schaffer
Stock front wheel drive #2/ 21 entries
1st: Randy Hampton
2nd: Gary Noble
3rd: Dylan Hemp
Stock rear wheel drive 27 entries
1st: Jeremy Creech
2nd: Mike Hensley
3rd: Kalab Allen
Modified kicker class 13 entries
1st: Shannon Pugh
2nd: Richard Davis
3rd: Wes Monebrake
4th: Brett Petro
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH