10/07/12 — Beautiful disasters: Ugly is in Saturday

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Beautiful disasters: Ugly is in Saturday

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 7, 2012 1:50 AM

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Scott Epperson, dressed as Barney Fife, peers into Rusty Smith's 1977 C-10 Chevrolet pickup truck with Queen of the Fair Sarah Richards. Smith's pickup was judged to be the ugliest truck during the Ugliest Truck competition.

DUDLEY -- The dashboard was peppered with signs of deterioration -- thick cracks running along sun-bleached material; dust and debris lining the windshield.

Cobwebs had formed in the many places along the body that had, over the course of three decades, rusted through.

There were random wires hanging down from the undercarriage -- and bungee cords holding various parts together.

And the bed housed a collection of trash that ranged from decaying wood and soda bottles to what can only be described as something that looked like a volleyball.

But Rusty Smith wasn't embarrassed to take his family's 1977 Chevrolet for a spin at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Saturday afternoon.

He even brought his girlfriend along for the ride.

You see, for one day a year, ugly is in.

And during the 2012 Ugly Truck Contest, Rusty's 1977 Silverado was king.

Six local residents played to the crowd Saturday with vehicles that bounced and sputtered -- honking horns that didn't sound much like horns and banging on rusted roofs.

And two-time champions Baynard and Micah Woodard felt like they were driving the front-runner.

But their 1967 Ford 100, despite the rust, illegible bumper stickers and ripped up interior, didn't make an impression with the judges.

Nor did Ricky Merritt's 1981 Chevrolet Scottsdale 10 -- a reddish brown "beauty" covered in rust rot that featured a chipped cinder block in its bed.

"I've been wanting to put this one in for a long time," Merritt said, moments before the judges made their pick.

He will have to wait another year for a shot at first place.

But even though he didn't walk away a winner, now that he has his first competition under his belt, he has a few ideas idea about how to bring home the title in 2013.

"Next year, I'm gonna have some spit cups and dirty diapers in here," he said.

His 7-year-old son, Paul, laughed.

"Yeah," the boy said. "We need more trash."