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Kirby Gerken fair demo derby winner PDF Print E-mail
Written by By KEVIN GORDON/Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:28
Although Kirby Gerken had the last car running in Monday’s Demolition Derby at the Wood County Fair, he almost didn’t win.
His 1975 Buick LeSabre was still running, even after receiving a big hit on the passenger side’s front end from Jeff Stallard as they battled for the championship.
Stallard’s engine and radiator then quit working, the result of the hit on Gerken. But under derby rules, the winner must make the last hit of the competition.
Although Gerken’s steering didn’t work, he could still shift the car into forward and reverse and move his car.
He finally managed to drive his car into one of the eight other cars near Stallard’s station wagon. The other eight cars had been eliminated from the competition.
Gerken’s car then ricocheted into Stallard’s vehicle for the victory.
Gerken had 60 seconds to hit Stallard or else Stallard would have been declared the winner because of his hit on Gerken. Javid Opp finished third.
Gerken and Stallard both received heavy damage to the back end of their cars during the competition.
“It’s great to win, but I wasn’t sure about it at the end,” Gerken said. “I was still running and I knew (Stallard) was done ... that was very frustrating,” Gerken said. “I couldn’t steer. I couldn’t do anything except hope.”
“I thought it was probably over at that point. I knew he made the last hit, but I was fortunate to bounce into him.”
The feature consisted of 10 cars, the last four cars running in each semifinal, and the last two cars running in a consolation heat.
Gerken, a resident of Archbold, has been competing in demolition derbies for about 12 years, averaging one or two events a year.
“This is just a hobby for me. I like building motors,” said Gerken, whose car had a Chevrolet 350 engine.
The cars basically are stripped to the bare essentials and compete in a large rectangle formed by concrete barriers. They drive on a dirt surface.
The strategy for most drivers is to protect the front end of their cars, stay away from the barriers and not allow their cars to get hit on the tires.
“I thought I had a decent shot to win, but there were a lot of tough cars out there, so I didn’t really know,” he said. “I knew if I could hold the car together, I had a shot.”
Bowling Green resident Blake Musser made his first demolition derby competition a memorable one as he won the truck division which had 13 pickups.
Shane Wansitler was second, while Shawn Anderson was third.
“I never expected to win. I’m very happy. I can’t believe it,” said the 24-year-old Musser, who works in the city’s street division. “I’ve come to these ever since I was little and thought it would be fun to drive in one, so I did.”
Musser and his 1984 Chevrolet Cheyenne skillfully dodged the competition and suffered little damage in the event that featured plenty of big hits.
He bought the truck and finally decided to enter it in the derby because the truck “would have needed too much work” to make it drivable.
“I really didn’t have any strategy, except to make sure I didn’t get caught up on the wall,” Musser said. “I just tried to make sure I didn’t put myself in any bad positions.
Melissa Schoenitz won the compact car division which had 13 entries, while Jason Wolfe was second and Gary Cole Jr. was third.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:28

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