A higher number of participants competed in the Marion County Fair demolition derby Saturday night.
According to fair manager Jena Terrell, more than 50 cars participated in the multi-class event.
“It was the biggest derby we’ve had in awhile,” she said. “We just had car after car pulling in. Besides the two-man teams, nobody had pre-registered, so we had no idea on what to expect, and we were happily surprised.”
Terrell said organizers made adjustments to accommodate the increase.
“We did two classes, the compacts and the bone stock instead of just doing one semi-mod,” she said. “Because we had so many cars come, we were actually able to do an extra class that we hadn’t prepared for.”
In all, the derby included six classes.
Five children participated in the power wheels derby, Terrell said, while Tharren Wagoner won the lawn mower derby among a field of six competitors. Both events were introduced for the first time last year.
Chad Markley, with the Midwest Championship Demolition Derby Association, said concerns about lawn mowers tipping were addressed this year.
“We made a smoother surface for the mowers when we ran them, and we wetted it down so they could slide instead of tip,” he said. “Even though we still had two of them that did tip, it wasn’t near as bad as last year.”
Andrew Meier won the Bone Stock derby, an event which included seven cars.
Zach Anderson won the Figure 8 race among a field of eight cars, while Leon Rumsey finished first among 12 competitors in the compact car derby.
New this year in the evening’s grand finale was a two-man super stock team derby, as opposed to last year’s three-man team format.
Topping the five-team field was the team of Nick Peterson and Josh Peterson from Abilene.
Markley said limiting teams to two cars allowed more teams to participate.
“It was too hard for a lot of them to get three competitors put together, so they wanted to go with two,” he said.
Markley said the derby was received well.
“We’ve got a few issues to work on and to specialize the rules for the area, but other than that, I think it was a very good show (with) a lot of local participants,” he said.
“That really helps and gets the crowd there.”
He expressed thanks on behalf of the CDDA.
“We would like to thank the fair board and all of the local participants for taking a part in the derby again this year,” he said. “Very good group of people to work with down there. We put shows on in multiple states, and we’ve got about 13 or 14 shows in Kansas, and this is one of our better shows. We hope to keep that going.”
Terrell said an idea is being considered of having another derby in the fall.
“We’re even considering doing an October derby for some of the cars to come back,” she said. “They call it a cleanup derby where they can come back and re-run those cars that aren’t completely trashed. We’re going to have a meeting about it. We haven’t decided 100 percent, but we talked about it.”