Demolition derby, ugly truck contests draw large crowds
By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 10, 2010 1:50 AM
Bayard Woodard stands with his truck and his trophy after winning the Ugly Truck Contest.
The sound of revving engines and the smell of exhaust filled the air Saturday afternoon at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Demolition Derby.
More than 40 drivers competed in the annual competition, which consisted of three heats, a consolation round for the drivers who didn't automatically qualify in their heat, and the feature heat, which was comprised of the top four finishers in each heat and the top two finishers in the consolation round.
The drivers showed no mercy as they batted each other around the Grandstand arena and sprayed mud into the packed stands. Shortly into the feature round, the bumper on the No. 22 car, driven by Donnie McCullen, became partially detached and was dragged around the arena before completely falling off.
In the end, though, that bumper falling off turned out to be a the difference maker when McCullen's last competitor, Chris Lane, got stuck on the bumper, making McCullen the winner.
McCullen, 29, of Grantham, said this was the first time he's won the fair's demolition derby and the third time he's competed at the fair.
"It was a lot of hard work," he said.
McCullen began working on his 1974 Buick Electra two weeks ago in preparation for the derby. He said he's been interested in the competing in a demolition derby from ever since watching one when he was younger. His secret to success is simple.
"I drive hard," he said.
McCullen said he's already looking forward to next year's competition and his favorite part of the action.
"The hits, they're the best," he said. "Hitting other people."
Chris Lane, 27, of Grantham, was the second place finisher at the derby. Lane drove the No. 707 car, a 1976 Chevrolet Impala wagon.
"Those cars are the best, but you just can't find them anymore," he said.
Lane's car was the only wagon in the competition, but it definitely wasn't overlooked. Lane, who might have been one of the fastest drivers in the final round, got the crowd cheering several times as he slammed into fellow drivers, over and over again.
Lane said he was driving in memory of Jackie Potter, a fellow driver who died two years ago.
"He was just my best friend," Lane said.
Pam Aycock, fair committee member, said she liked that Lane was driving in memory of Potter.
"Jackie was a friend to all the drivers," she said. "He always had a smile."
Ms. Aycock added that this year's derby was one of the best ever.
"It was fantastic. We've had more (contestants) than we've had in a long time," she said. "They came from Kinston, Snow Hill, Farmville and Sampson County. I saw drivers drive out here like I've never seen them drive before."
She said that they are already the fair committee is receiving entries for next year's demolition derby.
Shortly before the demolition derby was the Ugly Truck Show which five people competed in, proudly driving their rusty, dented and bumper-less trucks around the Grandstand arena.
Upholstery was hard to come by, with the foam stuffing being the primary interior, and tape, jumper cables and straps holding up bumpers and keeping in headlights.
In the end, it was Bayard Woodard who took home the trophy for ugliest truck. His 1967 Ford F-100 appeared to once be blue, but rust was now the predominant color. More than once his truck got stuck making its way around the track, but Woodard hinted that it might have been exaggerated.
"I thought a little showmanship wouldn't hurt," he said.
Woodard is proud of his truck, which has won the competition before.
"I think to still be running at 43 years old, she's doing pretty good," he said.
He said at one point they were going to restore the truck, which belongs to his son, but once it won the contest in 2008, they decided against it.
"The first year we get beat, I guess we'll restore it," he said.
Other top finishers include Tyler Kornegay in a 1977 Chevrolet Silverado who placed second, and Phillip Smith in a 1977 Chevrolet who placed third.