By John Bombatch
XENIA — It’s a sure bet there’s a few area junk yards with some spray painted and pretty much unrecognizable new occupants, thanks to the mayhem that took place at Monday’s Smash It Demolition Derby event at the Greene County Fair.
Whether it was massive V-8 powered machines built and modified expressly for bashing the heck out of their opponents, or souped up lawn mowers, each machine left the Chip Noble horse racing track’s infield with a few less parts than they had began the evening. Even 10 brave young kids (actually 11, because one of the machines had a co-pilot) got into the act, crashing and bashing their battery operated toy riding cars.
The kids each won trophies for their efforts.
The big kids took home cash for their top-3 finishes.
In perhaps the quickest demolition outcome of the evening, St. Paris driver Stan Johnson won the riding mower stock competition with fellow St. Parisian Ryan Rune placing second.
Tayler Meyers of Lebanon powered his Grape Ape modified riding mower to a win by upending Xenia’s Dalton Rodgers. The two combatants hugged it out and had a good laugh together after the race.
Then the automobile classes came out to entertain the near-capacity crowd, and they didn’t seem to disappoint.
Clarksburg’s Roger Colter piloted the last machine running in the Mini Compact division. He took home $1,000 for his efforts with runner up R.J. Shiltz of Washington Courthouse leaving with $200, and third-place Scott Stone of Sedalia earning $100.
In the Mini Stock battle, Springfield’s Jeremy Chaney took the win and $500 over Jason Cook of Wilmington, who won $100. Kindell Keeton’s machine brought out the first major stoppage of destruction, as his metallic blue no. 58 experienced an engine fire. Keeton escaped the carnage unharmed, and actually finished third to go home with $50.
That brought out Monday night’s main event — the Smash It class. These cars are large four-door sedans with powerful V-8 engines. They weigh nearly twice as much as the tiny compact cars, and the drivers and their crewmen have their cars modified to do battle.
With large reinforced bumpers, the cars angled high in the front to protect the engine, with very low battering ram-style bumpers in the back. They’re designed to inflict damage. Despite just a four-car field of entries, they didn’t disappoint.
Lindsay Jenkins of Dayton claimed the win when the engine of Xenia’s mangled John Wylie-driven machine expired. Jenkins earned $1,000 for the win, Wylie went home with $200 and John Caleb of Garelton limped back to the Toledo/Bowling Green area with $100.
The largest field of mangled sheet metal locked bumpers in the final event of the night. Eleven cars took part in the Street Stock event, which began shortly after 10 p.m. Monday night.
Surrounded by massive concrete road construction blocks, the 11 cars couldn’t help but hit each other in the small confined space of metal mashing. And when everyone’s engines had either boiled over or had just plain quit, or if their cars’ wheels just fell off from the many inflicted hits, it was 16-year-old Tyler Collins of New Vienna who was declared the winner.
Collins, runner up Jordan Pryor of Sabina, and Xenia’s Matthew Reed wound up with all three of their machine’s bumpers locked together when the event ended. Collins was awarded the win and $1,000 prize money as the driver who levied the final hit of the event. Pryor earned $200 and Reed $100.
Firefighters and EMS technicians from the New Jasper and Xenia Township Fire Departments were on hand to ensure the drivers’ and fans’ safety.
John Bombatch safely left the Greene County Fairgrounds parking lot without hitting anything. He can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.