Controversial finish caps popular derby
The grandstands filled with various sounds of displeasure on Saturday when the Park County Fair’s Demolition Derby ended with a driver being called out by officials.
In an attempt to set up a head-on collision with fellow finalist Chad Dietz, Brett Atkinson failed to make contact for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. That resulted in Atkinson being called out.
Officials ran into the arena waving their flags while the last two drivers continued to make contact.
“It’s not exactly how we wanted to see it end, but it was the rule,” Brock Ninker, derby promoter, said. “We gave Atkinson at least an additional 30 seconds to make a hit.”
Atkinson’s failure to make contact gave Dietz — formerly of Powell but currently living in North Dakota — the $3,000 grand prize. Dietz also won the Most Agressive Driver award, netting him an additional $250. The aggressive driver award is voted on prior to the finals. Dietz made an arena shot — crossing the full length of the track for a massive crowd-pleasing hit to seal the vote.
Ninker said the organization will be looking into new rules to ensure future finishes don’t end on a sour note.
“When I was a driver I did it for the adrenaline, but now as a promoter I do it for the crowd,” Ninker said. Fireworks were added to the start of the finals to bring the cars into the arena, getting a roar of approval from the sold-out crowd.
Wyatt Ramsey, of Riverton, won the ’80s Class event (cars in the class are 1979 or newer).
Ramsey said he didn’t need any major repairs for his run in the finals and was looking for some heavier action mixing with the old iron in the limited-weld class.
“My goal is to finish off my car. It’s been in three derbies now and I want a new one,” he said before the finals.
He got his wish, failing to make the final six in the finals.
More derby action is set for this fall: Smashtoberfest is scheduled at 5 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the Park County Fairgrounds.
1. Chad Dietz
2. Brett Atkinson
3. Zack Larson
4. Trevor Gillett
5. Ryan Stewart
6. Travis Kovach
’80s Class winners
1. Wyatt Ramsey
2. Dereck Hutzenbieler
3. Rory Smith
Most Aggressive Driver: