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Demolition derby marks end of Lawrence County Fair

Jul. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

PROCTORVILLE -- When everything is said and done at the end of 2013, the crew with Smash It Demolition Derbies will have organized 40 derbies from Lawrence County, Ohio, to Cleveland, Ohio, said Jeff Clark, the head track official for the company.

However, one derby, the Bash on the River Demolition Derby at the Lawrence County Fair, which took place Saturday night, stands out for about 10,000 reasons.

"You don't see a prize purse of $10,000 at a county fair, period," said Clark. "That's going to make a huge difference in the crowd, and it's going to make a huge difference with the drivers. You'll have people in the stands coming to watch the local guys, but there will be drivers who will travel two or three hours for that kind of prize money."

In fact, one driver in the derby Saturday drove from Illinois to participate in the event. said Clark. He said most county fairs only offer up to $2,000 for the winner of their derbies. In last night's derby, the second-place finisher received $2,500, and third-place earned a cool $1,000.

It was the perfect ending to a little more than a week's worth of entertainment at the Lawrence County Fair, which had a smooth run despite severe storms and rain showers for the first six days of the event, said Mindy Clark, the secretary and treasurer of the Lawrence County Agricultural Society.

The rides were shut down multiple times while storms blew over during the week, but they never were closed for more than 30 minutes, said Clark. A Wednesday evening performance from country singer David Lee Murphy was delayed about two hours due to a storm, but the show ultimately went on, said Clark.

While Mother Nature wasn't as cooperative as fair organizers would have hoped, Clark said the 2013 fair still was a success.

"The weather hurt us some, but we still had good crowds out here every day," said Clark. "Overall, it went really well, especially considering we made a lot of changes to this year's fair with things like the armbands."

Clark said fair organizers worked out a lot of kinks in the system this year, and things should run more efficiently during the 2014 fair. The armbands were a recommendation by auditors in order for officials to better keep track of fair attendance and income.

In the grand scheme of things, Clark said she is looking forward to next year's fair.

"We're just glad fair guests and volunteers have been patient while we worked out the bugs with these new things we incorporated this year," said Clark. "This night, derby night, is typically our biggest night, and that seems to be the case this year. We're just excited to be a part of it."

Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.

Upcoming county fairs

Cabell County

When: July 22-27

Where: Pumpkin Park, Milton

More information: Go online at www.cabellcountyfair.org.

Putnam County

When: July 13-20

Where: Ernest Page Jr. Fairgrounds, Putnam County Park, Rt. 62, Eleanor, W.Va.

More information: Go online at www.putnamcountyfairwv.com.

Boyd County

When: July 23-27

Where: Boyd County Fairgrounds, Coalton, Ky.

More information: Go online at www.boydcountyfair.com or call 606-928-7190.

Wayne County

When: Aug. 6-9

Where: Camden Park, 5000 Waverly Road, Huntington

More information: Go online at www.waynecountyfair-wv.com

Mason County

When: Aug. 5-10

Where: Mason County Fairgrounds, Point Pleasant

More information: Go online at www.masoncountyfairwv.com or call 304-675-5463.

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