During the annual Harvey County Fair Demolition Derby public address announcer Chip Westfall made an impassioned plea to the crowd — and not one about the safety of a driver. It was one for the future of the event.
"If any of you have a car you would consider donating to a driver, please contact the derby organizers," Westfall said.
Long-time driver Chet Hartman, who is nearly 90 years old, told The Kansan he did not race because he could not find a car to enter. He pointed to a car in the weld division that has been rebuilt for derbies more than a dozen times.
Sunday night the traditional derby played to a packed house — and it was a fairly short show. Only 21 cars registered for the event. For the welded division, what Westfall called "the big boys," only nine were registered. There was only one race for that division, won by driver Chad Hamm who took home $1,000.
For the bolt and chain division, there were not enough cars to run a consolation race. That race was scrapped, and the program went straight to the division championship. Nine cars entered the final, with Shane Shafer taking home the $1,200 purse behind the wheel of a 1978 Ford LTD.
"This is the fewest we have ever had," Westfall said.
The races started at 6:30 p.m., and there was an about a half hour delay to clean up a fuel spill in the arena following initial races. Once racing resumed, there were only two more races on the card and the derby ended at about 8:30 p.m.