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HONESDALE, PA — The grand stand was sold out for the ever-popular demolition derby on Friday night, August 2 during the 157th Annual Wayne County Fair, co-sponsored by the Wayne County Cooperative Agricultural Society.
The demo derby, which featured 76 cars in various divisions, was presented by Spinning Wheels Productions, a demolition derby promotional group helmed by head-tech and owner Jeremy Gulley, co-owner Josh Bueand and co-owner and announcer Josh Decker.
Driving a six-banger Chevy, Gulley started racing demolition derbies in 1994, and has been a full-time promoter for nearly five years.
“It’s adrenaline, there’s nothing else like it in life. I just can’t find that rush with anything else,” he said.
His daughter, 17-year-old Kylie, graduated with honors from Sullivan West High School last year, and was on hand to help out with T-shirt sales and work the pits.
Echoing her father’s feelings about the rush of adrenaline, she added of the thrill of demo derby, “It gives the crowd something to look forward to... Demolition a way for us to show them we care for the community.”
In addition to the eight heats, this year’s demo derby featured special races, including one set up for young drivers. Of course, adults rode shotgun to assist the young drivers through handling a demo car in the heat of clashing chrome and dented steel.
Mike Smith of Honesdale was there with his daughter, six-year-old Raelyn, who posed for photos next to her dad’s car that read “In Memory or Reaper.” They were among the scores who turned out to stand proudly during the singing of the national anthem.
The economy-compact, two-man team winners were Jaime Rake and Keith Krull, with Krull being the last man running. The bone stock V-8 winner was Austin Chrisler. Garrett Quick lived up to his name by winning the bone-stock compact event, and champion of the youth event was Kylie Chrisler.
The recorded history of demolition derbies is somewhat cloudy, as one source recounts that Don Basile created the first contest at Carrell Speedway in 1947, while another states a stock-car racer named Larry Mendelsohn came up with the idea 11 years later in 1958 at Islip Speedway.
But whoever originated the concept of folks getting their kicks watching cars crash into each other, until one driver emerges victorious from the smoking hulks of twisted metal, they might have gotten the idea from the 1928 short film “Two Tars” staring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
The short version of the legendary silent flick has Laurel and Hardy in the guise of a couple of sailors on shore leave pick up a pair of lasses, who encourage the boys to take revenge on other motorists after their car gets bumped in a traffic jam, leading to a hilarious series of adventures.
Demolition Derby is scheduled to return to the 2019 Wayne County Fair on Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m.
The Wayne County Fairgrounds are located along Route 191 North, just outside Honesdale, PA. For information about the 157th Wayne County Fair that runs until August 10, call 570/253-2943 or visit www.waynecountyfair.com.