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FLYING MUD, SQUEALING TIRES: Annual demolition derby is a hit with fans

Stacey Offerdahl, at left, plows what's left of her pink car into her last opponent Sunday to win the compact division derby. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 2
The muddy and tear-stained face of victory: Stacey Offerdahl exhalts in her win. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 2

The Hubbard County Fair's demolition derby Sunday had more drama than a soap opera, one that could play out another chapter in the future.

The compact division

Talk about lady drivers!

Stacey Offerdahl spit out her opponents Sunday like the proverbial watermelon-spitting champ spraying seeds all over.

The crowd favorite, and perennial contender, won the compact class demolition derby in a pink and green Chevy Corsica that was anything but demure.

"Watermelon Racing" had a legion of theme-shirted fans, called the "Spit Crew," throughout the stands at the Hubbard County Fair's signature event.

Stacey had a slight wardrobe malfunction just before the race, not the kind you see at a Super Bowl game.

"My ponytail broke!" she exclaimed, trying to corral her hair back together while holding a broken rubber band.

An emergency call went out for a scrunchie and she was back in business.

She mowed down six opponents in the compact class, often waving to family as she tore by, spraying a sea of mud.

She nearly broke down as the audience cheered wildly.

The big car division

This year Andrew Carmichael was not the bridesmaid.

He won the $1,000 top prize.

For people who knew his story, most of the crowd felt this was his year.

Two years ago he ceded the event and let a 13-year-old Lucas Pritchett taste his first victory. The teen was running in his first derby, entering the adult division.

Andrew literally ran defense in 2010 so Lucas could prevail, an act of generosity and sportsmanship the 2012 crowd didn't forget.

Sunday, Andrew won by ramming Lucas' dad, Lance, up the dirt retaining wall, where the elder Pritchett stalled and came in second.

A brief torrential rainfall interrupted the action in his race, making the arena even more muddy and slippery.

Andrew, like Stacey, got a huge round of applause. But like all good soap opera plots, intrigue lingers on the horizon. Some in the crowd wondered if Lance had returned the favor.

Stay tuned.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364
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