Maybe it was luck, or intervention by a greater power from above, but Paul Krueger placed first in the Demolition Derby on Saturday in his car dedicated to Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.
Krueger’s 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix was painted blue and yellow, similar to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron aircrafts. Kuss died a year ago in a jet accident in Tennessee while practicing with the Blue Angels.
“It is really cool to win. We got knocked out pretty early last year,” Krueger said. “Anything can go wrong here. You lose one wrong bolt and it’s over.”
Rowdy fans packed into the bleachers at the rodeo arena to watch the event, which is part of the annual La Plata County Fair.
Event organizer Lynn Dobbins said the metal carnage is what attracts so many people.
“Honestly, the crowd loves to see things get smashed up,” she said.
It is a timed process of elimination to see who can withstand the worst damage while hitting the most cars.
Ralph Brawley, a driver with Team 86, has been a contender in the derby for 10 years. He said it is good fun, and friendly competition.
“I love it. It is something fun to do. We build cars, wreck them and hopefully, everyone has a good time. We’ve been competing against each other for years,” Brawley said. “Last year, we flipped a vehicle. We had a blast.”
Sixteen cars and five pickups competed in this year’s event. The cars participate in three timed heats, a consolation round and the finale. The trucks have one timed heat.
Bill Sitton won $1,675 for placing first in the truck heat. Krueger won $2,030 for his victory, beating out six other cars in the final round.
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis story has been edited to correct the name of the Demolition Derby winner. His name is Paul Krueger.