With a roar, the big cars careened across the field looking for a steel victim. Kovach’s 1973 Pontiac stalked the muddy arena like a hungry shark. Scrunched cars limped on wheels bent and wobbly while transmissions bled fluid like hydraulic blood, but they fought until engines seized up or wheels fell off. Finally, Kovach took the win and spun victory cookies in a spume of dirt clouds and exhaust.
This is Kovach’s fourth derby win in Powell, he said minutes after the competition.
“It’s a blast,” Kovach said. “It’s the biggest adrenaline rush I have had.”
Kovach won $1,500. Terry Vaughn was second for a $1,000 purse. Trevor Gillett grabbed third for $500 and Eric Parham pounded his way to fourth for $200.
In the heats leading to the final showdown, Kovach took the first heat along with Jeremy Adams. Heat No. 2 went to Terry Vaughn and Clint McIntosh. Heat No. 3 went to Kyle McIntosh and Eric Parham.
Both winners in each heat left the arena with $100 and qualified for the final match.
Austin Curtis and Trevor Gillett left with $150 each for winning the grudge match. It should be noted Curtis also bagged another 50 smackers for his stately heap, winning best appearance.
Josh Lovelady, Torrey Hansen, Freddy Zier, Mike Deglau, Trevor Gillett, Torrey Hansen, Andy Neff, Brad Lauk, Terry Vaughn, Doni Lauk and Erin Lovelady all nailed pins for $25 each.
Erin Lovelady earned $20 for winning the Powder Puff. Only two women competed but they gave it their all.
“Let’s hear it for the ladies,” derby announcer John Muller said to the audience.
Andy Neff won the Herbie Derby for a cool $150.
Neff’s opponent, Brad Lauk, was not so fortunate. However, he said he isn’t a sore loser and just might take a shot next year.
Herbie Derby wheels are far smaller than the cars used in other heats.
Lauk’s was a 1991 Toyota Camry, just a bit worse for wear after the car bash.
“Honestly, I think it’s got some more life in it,” Lauk said admiring his slightly mangled Toyota.
Art Schatz, derby official and Powell Lions Club president, thanked Fry Construction for building the derby arena with earth-moving equipment.
“He’s (Fry) done a good job in the last few years,” Schatz said.
The Lions Club sponsors the derby each year. Ticket sales help those in need, particularly for eyeglasses and eye surgery.