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Ramming Speed

At the Jaycees Demolition Derby


Eric Seidle

The Jaycees Demolition Derby and Bump 'N' Run was bigger and better this year at the Great Northern Fair in Havre Sunday.

Twenty-one full-sized derby cars and four herby cars took part in this year's show put on by the Havre Jaycees and all but one of them were moving at the end of the event.

The engines roared in the muddy pit in front of over 1,400 fans and rammed into each other until their opponents or themselves were unable to continue.

The bump 'n' run was a new addition to the derby this year and brought cars built for the track rather than the arena to take laps around the Great Northern Fairgrounds arena, taking jumps and spinning out in the tight S-curves.

In the four regular and two consolation derby heats, three bump 'n' run heats, the herby derby heat and the finals, vehicles were slammed, mangled and busted until they were unable to start, move or were centered on the dirt wall around the track.

Mindy Held, the Montana Jaycees state president, said many chapters of the Jaycees around Montana have demolition derbies and drivers travel and take part in them as a circuit.

Held travels to various demolition derbies around the state to help out her fellow Jaycees and said that the Havre derby was a success.

"It was pretty close to selling out," Held said. "The bleachers are more full than they were at the rodeo."

Held said she thinks that the bump 'n' run is a good addition to the Havre derby.

"I think it's going to work," Held said. "I think people really like it."

Held said that bump 'n' runs are very popular in eastern Montana, and she thinks that the event will spread.

Chelby Gooch, the Havre Jaycees Chapter president, said that she thought the show was a success as well.

"It was awesome - great turnout," Gooch said.

Gooch said the derby has picked up a bit since falling off in recent years.

"We had more cars this year than we've have for the last three years," she said.

The Jaycees sold 1,409 tickets to the show at $10 per person, but they were still unsure as to how much they made in net profit, after expenses, Wednesday.

Gooch said the derby has been held at the Great Northern Fair for as long as she can remember, definitely at least 20 years.

The derby began at 5 p.m. Sunday and lasted until around 9:30 and the bleachers were fairly packed the entirety of the show.

This year's winner of the demolition derby was Austin Moore, 18, of Havre in the 454 car. He was awarded the $2,000 grand prize for first place. Winston Powell took $1,500 as second-place winner and Jimmy Albertson, the third-place winner, took $1,000.

The winner of the herby derby was Ben Mader, 29, of Havre in the 01 car.

Herby derby cars are smaller vehicles than the ones used for the regular derby.

Eric Seidle

In the bump 'n' run there were two divisions of vehicles: stock and modified cars.

Dustin McKinney of Great Falls took first place in stock and Scott Hamilton of Havre took first in the modified division.

Gooch said the year is not done for the bump 'n' run races. She and the Jaycees are going to try to run a couple more races before next year's Great Northern Fair.

For next year's demolition derby, the Jaycees are looking into adding more competitions to the derby. A truck heat and combine derby competition are being considered for the event.

All-in-all, the derby was a success for the Jaycees and a few of the competitors, and it was a great show for Havreites, Hi-Liners and fairgoers in general.


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