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Father to take honorary lap to honor son at upcoming demo derby

Derby car to be raffled, funds given to teen daughter

The Schave family of Richville will be at this year's Turkey Days Demo Derby on Sunday, July 31. After their son, Scott, died, his friends purchased his last demo derby car, rebuilt it and asked his dad to drive a lap in honor of Scott. The car will then be raffled off and the money given to Scott's 14-year-old daughter. Pictured are (from left) Scott's mom, Mona, 78, his daughter, Jasmine, 14, and his father, Noel, 80.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — When the mud spits from tires at this year’s Turkey Days Demolition Derby, it will be in honor of a local man who lived fully and died tragically.

Scott Schave was a 2000 Frazee High School graduate. With more than 20 years competing in demolition derbies, he has owned 16 cars and had an affinity for the number 99.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The late Scott Schave was known in the demo derby circuit the past 20-plus years. His last derby car was a Cutlass. After his untimely death this past December, the car was sold. It was rebuilt with the idea of letting Scott’s father drive a lap or two in memoriam of the 2000 Frazee High School graduate.

When the car was derby ready, Frazee resident Brian Totland called Scott’s father, Noel Schave, and explained the car deserved one more ride with a Schave in the driver’s seat.

“After he takes a couple of laps, the derby car will be raffled off and 100% of the funds will be donated to Scott’s daughter,” Totland said.

The mere mention of the upcoming derby to the Schave family sent them speeding down memory lane.


“In the Perham derby he ended up on top of another car,” Scott’s mother, Mona Schave, recalled. “I could see him. He was smiling ear to ear.”

His dad recalled buying a wire feed gas welder after he had wired a corresponding outlet in his son’s shop.

“That was a mistake,” Noel said. “The welder ended up there. He was a fantastic welder.”

Jasmine, Scott’s 14-year-old daughter, recalled joining her father at derbies as a toddler. Those moments by his side as he built a car, or as she vicariously relived the chaos of the crashing metal with her father after the derby, were a part of their life together — as natural as coffee in the morning.

“One day, I want to enter mudding competitions and derbies,” she said.

Thirty days changed everything

Scott Schave was the quintessential Midwestern man — raised with character and often serving as a go-to when assistance was needed.

“That was Scotty; if someone needed help, he was right there,” Mona said.

Scott brought the same dedication and pride in his work in quality control at Kit Masters in Perham. Through his hard work, he was starting to see the fruits of his labor. He had purchased a property in rural Richville and planned to remodel the house.


“We had plans,” Noel said. “We’re getting too old for steps and we were all going to live there. He always wanted us to be together as a family.”

“He even wanted to make us supper every night,” Mona added.

The trajectory of achieving his dream came to an abrupt halt when Scott unexpectedly entered the hospital late last fall. He was 39.

“It was on Nov. 15,” Mona recalled. “He was having a hard time breathing.”

His daughter went to stay with her grandparents. At the time, Noel and Mona lived in Frazee. It was supposed to be a short stay, while Scott recovered.

“Three days after we brought him to Perham Health he was moved to Fargo,” Mona said, noting he needed specialized care for COVID-19. “One of the last things he told me was, he said, ‘Mom, I’m scared.’”

A short time later, due to the damage the virus was doing to Scott’s body, the doctors recommended he be placed in an induced coma.

“His lungs had crystallized,” Mona explained. With heartbreak in her voice, her eyes fell to her hands, which twisted together as if she were trying to wring away the pain. “He didn’t wake up again.”


Mona and Noel were in Vergas having breakfast when Mona’s cell phone rang. Scott’s doctor was on the other end of the call.

“It was Dec. 8,” she said. “He said, it was time. There was no chance for recovery.”

A social media post for prayers went out. The response was strong enough to help the parents rise from their seats and begin the long trek to Fargo to say goodbye to their son.

“Our pastor had read it, and he called,” Noel said. “He came with us. That was very helpful.”

Mona and Noel held Scott’s hands as the machines that were keeping him alive were removed.

“I put my forehead on his,” Mona said. “I heard him take his last breath.”

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