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WHAM, BAM, SLAM: Cars face off at Demolition Derby

Car pileups and crumpled vehicles were the star attraction at Sunday’s event

Cars smashed, wheels spun and dirt flew at the Fernie Lion’s 49th annual Demolition Derby on Sept. 3.

Skilled drivers brought their strongest and toughest vehicles to the event, with the goal of taking out as much competition as possible. They met fender to fender with opposing cars in an attempt to be the last one standing.

“There’s really a lot of strategy and canniness that goes into it. It’s not just about building the car, it’s about how they drive it. The preferred hit is to back into somebody because then you’re protecting your engine and of course, they build the cars in such a way so that it crumples in around the engine without stopping the engine and without impeding the driver,” said Lion’s president Ted Shoesmith.

Lyndon Franzreb emerged victorious as the full size car winner, while Lucas Van Wijk claimed first place in the small car category, and Derek Fedechko brought home gold with his truck.

Steve Charlton from Raymond, Alberta claimed an award for most aggressive driver and Sequoia Nanninga won in the small car destruction category. Tara Sanders and Chad Temple were the champions of Grudge Match.

Best Dressed went to Rick Mitchell and Powder Puff to Toni Walker.

There were more than a few suspenseful moments, including a stand-off between three cars that almost resulted in total destruction.

“In the small car heat, we wound up with the three cars in a big smash pileup in the corner by the beer gardens. Everybody thought it was going to be dead and then a triple seven in the middle fired up and started smashing back and forth …. Those three cars went forever because they were the best built cars,” Shoesmith recalled.

A pickup truck narrowly avoided losing its box.

“In the final heat there was back-to-back collision and it lifted the box right up vertical. It was awesome. The crowd loved that.”

One driver managed to cruise around the ring for five minutes after losing the wheels on his car.

“It was amazing. The energy from the crowd was just excellent … People were so excited. They were jumping up and down and cheering.”

Shoesmith said the event was the best derby they had ever hosted. The Lions saw record attendance, with approximately 3,000 to 4,000 attendees from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. They raised more money than ever before. The final amount has not been publicly released, but Shoesmith said proceeds from the event will go towards community causes and funding next year’s derby.

The event wouldn’t have run without its community sponsors. Trico Homes, Welco Expediting Ltd., Cameron Enterprises, Mitchell Excavating Ltd, Shoesmith Construction, Fernie Elks and Twin Meadows Animal Rescue Society were among the many businesses who lent support.


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About the Author: Gillian Francis

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