Pam Dudding Contributing writer
It is said that kids need outlets to channel all of their energy. Craig County supplies the perfect avenue for many of them.
For decades, Craig has been known for its competitive demolition derby heats. Now, younger generations are having their turn.
Several years ago, Bubbie Ponton and a few friends got together to talk about their kids as they watched them drive their little power wheels around the yard. The next thing they knew, they had planned their first little tikes Power Wheels Derby.
On Saturday, July 27, they continued the annual tradition.
Many kids participated. The Power Wheels drivers were: Trevor Fisher (five-year-old) – #21, Hunter Ponton (eight) – 7, Chase Dunbar (four) – red jeep, Clabe Hicks Jr. (four) –# 01, Aubri Trivette (four) – #35, Jase Hypes (five) – #13, Charlie Owen (seven), Lily Richardson (six) with James Price riding shot gun (four)- #16, Willow Martin (six), Clayton Cassell (nine), Dalton Cassell (six) and Ethan Cassell (four).
One would think that little tots, ages four to nine, would just ride around in a Power Wheels Derby. Well, not in Craig County. When the go signal was given, most did not hesitate to hit, back up and go after each other in a friendly manner.
There were countless giggles, laughs and even waves given to one another as the action was taking place.
Several had to be ‘unhooked’ as they got tangled up with each other. The judges were quick to help.
Dunbar was the exception. Though just four, he showed the older kids that he could drive fast. Dunbar would speed around in the ring and the first opening he found, would drive out and speed around the outside of the roped-off area, all with a huge smile on his face. The judges would catch up with him and bring him back in, but he seldom stayed in. At the next opportunity, he was out again. Dunbar seemed to enjoy being chased by the judges. The spectators enjoyed his free spirit driving.
Each driver would make their hits. Some would turn and see who hit them, while others threw their vehicles in reverse and hit back.
A few stayed on the outside of the action, but every kid got hit and did a little ramming themselves before the horn blew.
When Owen started pushing Richardson around the area, she and Price started giggling.
As each drove out of the ring, they were awarded with a trophy by their sponsor Angie Guthrie Ponton of Guthrie Insurance.
Said Guthrie, “It’s been very rewarding seeing the smiles on those little ones faces getting to experience the ring and smashing into each other like the adults get to do.”
The newest derby added to the list is the Lawnmower Derby. D&C Excavating and Tim’s Small Engine Repair were the sponsors and organizers.
The drivers included: Erin Snider – 28 ‘Hey Shenequa,’ Will Huffman – 3 ‘Mean Green Derby Machine’, Holley Givens – ‘Cowabunga’, Dillon Crowder – 38, Robert Foutz – 38 ‘Batman’ and Carter Givens – ‘Sharkbite’.
As the crowd shouted out the countdown, the drivers of the lawnmowers gripped their steering wheels and prepared for the action.
Hits quickly came thereafter, and they weren’t little taps.
Holley rammed her own brother Carter, and Batman got a flat from another hit. Carter rammed Huffman and Snider knocked them loose.
After a few minutes, the red flag came out as Holley had hurt her hand. She was carried to the rescue crew to be checked. She bruised her hand and was ok, however, she did not re-enter the derby.
When the horn blew for them to restart, Carter and Foutz hit head on causing both to pop up a little off of their seats. Foutz seemed to have lost his steering after that.
Crowder then pushed Carter and Carter pushed back. The determination showed in both of their faces. Snider snuck around the outside and rammed Carter.
The sound of crunching metal shocked the spectators. “These kids are serious,” expressed several attendees. Foutz got stuck in a mud hole. Snider hit him and her mower climbed up on his tire.
Huffman and Snider went at it and then Snider rammed Carter.
Snider hit Givens again and again until they locked up. Carter’s front had a large hold in it from his hits. Tim Snider called the derby. Judges had been selected earlier.
Snider placed first, Carter placed second and Huffman placed third. The Mad Dog Winner went to Robert Foutz. All of the kids took home trophies. “I’m proud of every one of you. You did a good job,” Tim said.
Will Huffman added, “I really liked this one and I felt more-safe. It was more fun too.”
At the end of the Lawnmower Derby, someone handed Tim Snider $60 to give to the kids as awards. He divided it up amongst the six contestants.
Parents are encouraged to fix their child a power wheels or lawnmower and enter in the next derby scheduled for Craig County’s Fall Festival which will be on Saturday, October 12.