Othello Demo Derby: Drive 'em fast, hit 'em hard


The Othello Outlook of Othello, Washington

Just because the rodeo starts Friday doesn't mean the rodeo grounds are empty until then during fair week. Each year, drivers from around the region gather with their creations to battle it out for pride and a cash prize in the Othello Rodeo Arena.

This year, 60 cars and around 70 drivers signed up to participate in the races and destruction of the evening. Crowds were welcomed with the roars of straight-piped engines and the showers of dirt launched from the tires and drivers careened their way around the circuit to set their lap times.

With the time trials complete, drivers were split into their divisions for heat races. Taking home first prize in their heat races were Sid White in heat one, Sean Fink-beir in heat two, Blain Gonzalez in heat three, Luke Carter in heat four, Turrel Smith in heat five, Tanner Pugh in heat six, Cameron Smith in heat seven, heat eight went to James Cole in his No. 42 car and heat nine was won by Nicholas Lobe.

Powderpuff racers also proved they know how to sling the mud, as they jockeyed around the tractor tires for the first-place prizes. In the first heat of Powderpuff racing, Morgan Marchand took home the first-place prize in her No. 80 car. The second heat went to the driver of the No. 28 car. The third heat went to Andi Merrill after she grabbed second place in the second heat.

After heat races came the Australian pursuit heats, with drivers gunning to be the last man standing.

Drivers played rough as they tried to wrestle past their opponents to eliminate them from the round and to avoid being eliminated themselves.

In the first round of Australian Pursuit, James Cole was able to pull a solo victory and avoided splitting the pot. In the second heat, Sid White and Brian Melbye tied for the win and split the $70 cash prize. The third heat saw one driver taking home the prize with Austin Cox passing all of the challengers in his heat. Heat four saw another tie with Jordan Cobb and James Mcindoe hanging on until the time ran out. Shawn Flausen and Nick Moore won the final Australian Pursuit race.

Finally, it was time for the main event, the wanton destruction that is the demolition derby. Cars lined up back to back before they were given the signal to start their rampaging. Right out of the gates, Christopher Weber in his No. 25 car whipped around and set his sights on Josh Black in his relatively unscathed car.

Weber hit the skinny pedal on the right and slammed the nose of his car squarely into the side of Black's, causing his opponent to roll completely over and the judges to pause the melee to check if Black was all right.

After righting the vehicle, he was given a chance to restart the engine to see if they could keep running but, unfortunately, it would not fire, making Black the first driver to break off his marker as he was eliminated from the destruction.

Once restarted, cars began dropping in short order and eventually, only Ken Dockins remained driving in his multi-colored chariot.

Dockins took home the first-place prize of $1,000 with Cody Vandeweghe taking home second prize of $600 and Mike Bise taking home the third-place prize of $400.

With the Wednesday night event out of the way, everyone hightailed it back home to prepare for another day of excitement at the fair.

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