Crash for cash

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 2015


Ever just needed to let out some frustration? For the first time ever, the Covington County fair will offer a demolition derby Sat., Oct. 17th, and a chance to unleash that frustration.

Frank Roberts, of Stoney Roberts Promotions, has been promoting demolition derbies for the past 52 years all over the country, and said that it is a fun experience that requires no previous skills.

“Anyone can do it as long as they are at least 16 years old,” Roberts said. “It’s a lot of fun for those involved, and it doesn’t require any skills to participate. It also gives you chance to let out some frustrations.”

The demolition derby will be a new feature to the Covington County fair with hopes that sticks for years to come, said Roberts.

“We were looking for something to increase the excitement at the fair,” said Rex Jones. “There will not be an additional charge to watch the demolition derby. All you have to do is pay to get into the fair.”

The derby will be held inside the Covington Center Arena at 6:30 p.m. on the final Sat., of the Covington County fair.

Roberts said that he has done demolition derbies all over the country, and has been putting on a show at the National Peanut Festival for the past 10 years.

“We usually do about 60 or 70 of these each year,” Roberts said. “It gives people a chance to crash their way into stardom. If all goes as planned, this will be an anchor program at the Covington County fair for years to come.”

Individuals interested in entering must supply their own car for the derby, and pay a $30 registration fee.

Cars must meet certain requirements in order to enter the derby. No trucks, jeeps, hearses, limos, ambulances, convertibles, SUVs, rear engine autos, 4x4s, Camaros, Firebirds, El Caminos, Chrysler Imperials or Imperial sub frames will be allowed.

All glass and chrome trim and anything that could become embedded in the track must be removed from the car. All airbags must also be removed along with activation charges.

“Anything that could become a projectile should be removed from the vehicle,” Roberts said. “You can take anything off the car that you want, but you can’t add anything to it to make it heavier.”

Roberts said that reinforcements to the car are also not allowed, with the exception of the driver’s side door.

“It’s a tough man or woman contest on wheels,” Roberts said, “It’s a legal way to unleash your frustration on that person that might have stolen your parking spot at Wal-Mart.”

There will be three different categories that make up the three initial heats; four cylinder, six cylinder and eight cylinder vehicles.

“We will run three heats first and then take the winners from each heat to compete for the top prize,” Roberts said. “The last car remaining will win a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy.”

There will also be cash prizes and trophies for the heat winners as well.

Once the car is up to code and the derby begins, there are rules that must be followed on the track or the driver will face disqualification.

“You must make contact with some one at least once every 60 seconds,” Roberts said. “You cannot hit a the anyone’s driver’s side door under any condition. The drivers door is the most sacred thing on a demolition derby car.”

Along with no driver’s door hits, there can also be no deliberate head-on collisions. Both will lead to the driver being disqualified.

Roberts said that cars can be found all over the county, and can usually be purchased for $200 or less.

“People would be surprised where they can find a car to enter,” Roberts said. “They should look for fixer-upper type cars at impounds, Craigslist and surplus sales. You can usually find one pretty cheap and then put $50 to $100 into it to get it running. In some places we go every year, there are people that rent cars out for about $100 and you just take it back to them when it’s done. They will rent them out several times before they have been crashed too much, and then they just sell it for scrap weight.”

Anyone interested in entering must be at least 16 years old with a valid drivers license. For those under 18 years old, a notarized parental medical statement is required.

For any additional questions on the rules and regulations, contact Roberts at 1-865-607-3301.