Powder puff Andi Ennis prepares for battle. James Snell/The Free Press

Demolition derby makes impact for charity

By James Snell

reporter@thefreepress.ca

The 45th annual Fernie Demolition Derby was a screaming success on Sunday. The event, organized by the Lions Club, was a fundraiser for local charities. Approximately 2000 people attended.

Under a hot September sun, the derby was a celebration of fossil fuel culture, tough men, and even tougher women – hell-bent on vehicular carnage and adrenaline.

Adjacent to the trout-filled river and serene alpine meadows, men with beards and cutting torches got to work between rounds, ripping apart crumpled body panels and scabbing-in radiators. The smell of exhaust, spray-paint, burning plastic, and beer rose like incense to the God of mountain culture.

The only indications of progressivismwere a bright pink Saturn Coupe, and an unrecognizable car called the Rainbow Warrior, piloted by “powder puff” Andi Ennis.

“I’ve had all the right friends for the last ten years,” she explained. “Forty-eight hours ago they said I could drive. I’m nervous because there are some big cars out there with big exhausts.”

Ted Shoesmith, President of Fernie Lions Club, was both event organizer and on-site referee.

Clad in a hardhat, reflective vest, and radio, he said, “This has been a charity event running in the valley since the sixties. I’ve been handling it since 2006-2007. I inherited this from my father.”

Shoesmith said that all the funds raised are directed to local charities, “to the needy and people who are hard-up.”

He added later, “This was our best year for fund raising.”

Joan Hedrich had a special reason for attending the derby.

“My son, Rick, passed away July 1 of this year. He had a stroke and was 45 years old,” she said. “He ran in the derby for around 20 years. He had anywhere from two to five vehicles entered. I miss him a lot, so we are here to remember him. His son in-law, Cody, has a truck here, number 89, in his memory.”

Piloting a twenty-foot vintage black Lincoln Continental stripped-down and armoured, Tara Sanders, Branch Manager at Lordco Auto Parts, was ecstatic about making it to the final round of the demolition derby.

“This is the first time I’ve been to the finals,” she said with smile. “We broke a ball-joint.”

Sanders was grateful for all the help she received.

“My boyfriend has done all the work on my car because I’m busy working.”

Sitting in the announcer booth was senior Lions Club member Rick Ganter.

“This derby means the people of Fernie are giving back a lot of money towards charity,” he explained.

“It goes to senior citizens and to kids…kids that need operations.”

Results:

Main Event first place – Cody Walker. Second place – Steve Charlton. Third place – Lyndon franzreb

Most aggressive – Clayton Wheeldon

Small car winner – Brendan Mcauley

Small car destruction award – Brendan Mcauley

Best dressed – Ryan Baufford

Truck winner – Derek Fedechko

Powder puff – Donna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fernie SAR responds to two calls this weekend

The calls reported an injured mountain biker and an abandoned kayak

The Fernie Academy hosts virtual art show

The school’s annual Mother’s Day Art Show went online through The Arts Station

Funding available for Elk Valley charities coping with COVID-19

Almost $110,000 is set aside to be distributed by the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies

Elk Valley businesses reopen after months of closures

Opening with restrictions, local services keep health and safety a priority

Mental health and COVID-19: going forward

Dr. Tyla Charbonneau offers some mental health advice for moving into our new normal

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read