The weather was perfect, the cars sufficiently noisy and the action right on target at the 2012 Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce Demolition Derby.
With over $6,000 in prize money sitting on the table, as well as several two foot tall trophies for bragging rights, the cars appeared.
For Duane Ducker of Broken Bow, this year marks his 32nd running of the Broken Bow Derby at the Custer County Fairgrounds, and his last. He can feel the hits in his back, he said following the end of the Hobo Class. He was passing the keys to his son Preston.
The 1975 Impala they ran in this year’s Derby once belonged to Philip Gardner.
“It used to be brown,” said Duane of the now black vehicle.
Getting into the sport was easy.
“I’ve always liked working on cars,” he added.
To get a car ready for its first competition takes 60 hours, he said with confidence of someone who has done it a time or two. “we strip it out and then start welding.”
His goal, he added, was simple, “to survive.”
Justin Potter of Merna had similar goals. Saturday ran a 1974 Mercury.
“It’s an adrenaline rush and the cars are fun to build,” Justin added.
This is the second year for their Derby car. Last year, he said they spent around two-three months in preparation. this year, around 10 hours.
Their time was a little more limited. The Downey family had just returned from Fort Leonard Wood where son Jeff Downey just graduated from basic training.
They got home around midnight Friday, pulled the cars out of storage and went to work. Jeff Downey drove an 1985 Oldsmobile Tornado from the Sierks Ranch up near Dunning. At one point in its past life it was Justin Potter’s (Jeff’s brother-in-law’s) school car.
We knocked out the windows and had to fix the front end with some new tires and work on the carburator, but that was about it, said Jeff
Building Derby cars is something the family has enjoyed working on as a family.
“They let me help ‘cause I have all the tools,” laughed Dave.
Dan Zoerb of Mason City is a Broken Bow Demolition Derby past winner. He was hoping for another win Saturday ‘so he could afford the wedding’ but came up with a fifth place finish.
He drove a 1973 chevy Impala he found at Elm Creek. as part of the preparation process he put in a different motor. He says he runs the Hobo Class because the cars don’t require the welding that the Iron Side division allows.
Rowdy Woodward of Broken Bow said the 1974 Ford LTD he was driving was found in the weeds in Oconto and it still ran.
“Minimal rust is a big thing on the Derby Cars,” he said. “We stripped everything off and then welded it shut.”
He says the hits are what makes a derby fun.
Their car was dedicated to Marge and Candy Jones. Kevin fielder and Jeff Pflaster rounded out his team.
The Derby was a huge success, down a little in attendance from last year, but still a huge success, said Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce Director Denise Russell.
She was grateful for the many, many volunteers, and for the Emergency Response crews from Broken Bow and Merna on hand should anything go wrong.
Thankfully their services were not needed.
Demo Derby results are as follows:
1. Matt Benker, Gibbon
2. Scott Benker, Gibbon
3. Seth Shiers, Kearney
Old Iron -
1. Lucas Evans, Bertrand
2. Justin Nitsch, Lexington
3. Ed Thiel, Comstock
4. Jay Fuller, Kearney
5. Matt Choplin, Gibbon
6. Dustin Bailey, Kearney
7. Brian Gru, Kearney
1. Chris Paider, Arcadia
2. Brian Bratchewsky, Kearney
3. Jackson Gregory, Rockville
4. Dustin Bailey, Kearney
5. Dan Zoerb, Mason City