In the final seconds, McIntosh came grill-to-grill with the last man standing, Trevor Gillett. In a crush of crumpling metal, McIntosh won.
“This is derby No. 10 and win No. 1,” said an ecstatic McIntosh standing beside his slightly crumpled 1967 Chrysler Imperial minutes after the final bout.
In the last moments it seemed the winner would be the guy whose car was still running. McIntosh’s Chrysler was able to limp from the field of battle.
“I had like no tranny fluid,” McIntosh said.
Family and friends were busy congratulating McIntosh in the pit after the race. He won the final bout, but he wasn’t the only winner.
Pit crew and drivers were scrambling to get their beaters rolling one more time in an effort to get even during the grudge match.
Aaron Wilk was prying the driver’s side front wheel well into some semblance of straight so his son, Alex Wilk, could have a go at the grudge match.
Aaron straightened the kinks from the drive line with a acetylene torch. “Turn the wheel,” he said.
Son Alex wrestled the wheel. He has been a part of the metal-crunching event for several years.
“My dad got me into the derby at age 4,” Alex said.
This is the third derby for Alex in his 1971 Dodge station wagon. Aaron delivers his trackside advice: “Hit hard!”
After slugging his way through heat after heat for 20 years, Aaron finally entered the final derby to see if he would come home with the biggest purse and bragging rights.
Aaron was no shrinking violet, as the boys in the arena or folks in the stands would agree after witnessing the derby.
“A lot of people fear me because I hit hard,” Aaron said.
Alex did not win the grudge and Aaron lost in the final clash, but it’s a pretty safe bet these take-no-prisoner contenders will be at it again next year.
Alex had a video recorder mounted on his helmet. Folks might want to check his Facebook page to see what he’s put up lately.
In the Herbie Derby the cars seem a bit more nimble than their colossal counterparts. Rusty Berchtold’s 1994 Ford Taurus whipped around the muddy field like a rock out of a catapult.
Berchtold has won the Herbie Derby, a race for smaller vehicles, two years in a row. He started running in the derbie five years ago and used to enter the fair’s figure eight race.
“It’s fun,” Berchtold said. “I’ve been addicted since that first time.”
The big boats in the regular derby are getting harder to find, but not smaller wheels.
“These Tauruses are all over the place,” Berchtold said.
These winners are going home with a few bucks in their pockets and plenty of fuel for boasting to their buddies. But others have taken home far bigger prizes over the years.
“I’d be totally blind if it wasn’t for them,” said Kevin Perrett, a Powell Lion and derby judge.
The money raised from derby proceeds is earmarked for glasses and other eye related healthcare. Thanks to the Lions, Perrett underwent cataract surgery to preserve his sight, he said. The event has been a success for him in the past, and the 2013 smash-em-up was also deemed a triumph.
“It was a great derby,” McIntosh said.
But he pays a price, he admits. McIntosh, like other drivers may be a little sore after bouncing around in their cars.
“Where’s that Ibuprofen and Gatorade?” he asked.
2013 Park County Fair Demo Derby winners
First: Tyler McIntosh, $1,500.
Second: Trevor Gillett, $1,000.
Third: Don Adams, $500.
Fourth: RJ Chouinard and Kyle McIntosh, $200.
Herbie Derby: Rusty Berchtold, $150.
Best appearance: Rory Smith, $50.
Powder Puff: Jessica Vertz, $20.
Heat No. 1: Terry Vaughn and Don Adams, $100 each.
Heat No. 2: Colton Parham and Dereck Hutzenbieler, $100 each.
Heat No. 3: Aaron Wilk and RJ Chouinard, $100 each.
Heat No. 4: Trevor Gillett and Alan Teppett, $100 each.
Grudge Match: Tyler McIntosh and Kyle McIntosh, $100 each.
Pin Winners: Kyle McIntosh (two), Josh Lovelady, Eric Parham, Mike Deglau, Josh Lovelady, Eric Parham, Rusty Berchtold, Andy Neff, Terry Vaughn and Daneca Carlson, $25 each.