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Demo derby draws crowd

Demo derby draws crowd
Demo derby draws crowd
An entrant in Monday night’s lawn-mower derby at the Harrison County Fair gets flipped on his side as contestants battle to take home the top prize of $240. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Isaac Gleitz, Contributing Writer

At the Harrison County Fairgrounds Monday night, attendees welcomed a foreign yet familiar sight: a nearly full grandstand of fans cheering for the demolition derby.

Most of last year’s fair events were canceled due to the risk posed by COVID-19, but signs from this year’s demolition derby spell hope for the future of Harrison County’s annual fair. One attendee, Zach Redden, said virus is not much of a factor at this year’s fair.

“I think everyone that’s here is psychologically past it. They’re either vaccinated, or they don’t care,” Redden said.

A Corydon native, Redden now lives in Sellersburg, but he has been coming to the fair consistently since he was a kid. He is proud that 2021 marks the 162nd consecutive year for the agricultural fair. This year, he brought his young daughter and cousins for the midway rides while he and his wife enjoy the derby. He is glad the fair is back in action and said it’s good news for the community.

“All of these people are coming here and spending money,” he said. “That’s great for the county and area.”

Likewise, the prizes for the Lawnmower Derby, Mini-Car Derby and Gut-and-Go Derby were likely welcomed by drivers. The Lawn Mower Derby drew a large crowd and tilled up the earth in front of the grandstand. The event’s winner was paid $240, followed by $200 and $100 for second and third place, respectively.

Soon thereafter, a sprayer truck watered the dirt in preparation for the mini cars. Each driver revved his engine as he entered the arena, evoking cheers from spectators. The money on the line, as well as the decibel level of the engines, increased as the night progressed. The Mini-Car Derby winner took home $1,200, while second- and third-place contestants earned $500 and $200, respectively.

Six cars participated in the final event of the evening: the Gut-and-Go Derby. When the green flags waved, drivers reversed their vehicles casually, but they soon began to collide with each other not so casually.

Shaun Wiseman took a hard hit early on, and red flags temporarily paused the competition. Firefighters and EMS professionals ran to his car to ensure his well-being, and the event continued a few minutes later.

Toward the end, the three drivers remaining in the contest tried to get the edge on their opponents. Eventually, an unencumbered Nick Garloch pinned the competing cars against the cement barriers, and he was declared the winner. He pocketed $1,500. The second-place driver claimed $500, and the third-place finisher received $200.

Despite the concluding skirmish, attendee Renee Carter said the show was mediocre because it lacked action.

“I was a little disappointed” she said. “I like to see a lot more harder hits.”

Long-time fan Bradly Albin felt differently.

“I come every year, and it’s always a good show,” he said.

Monday’s events were part one of the demolition series. Additional demo derby events are scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

Here are the results from Monday’s demolition events:

Mini cars — Andrew Logsdon, first; Patrick Rankin, second; Mark Rosenbarger, third; Tanner Davis, Mad Dog.

Gut and Go — Nick Garloch, first; Devin Gilstrap, second and Mad Dog; Brandon White, third.

Lawn mowers — Aaron Nevil, first; Justin Mattingly, second; Kenith Hunt, third; Elliot Grub, Mad Dog.