Demolition Derby hits Cassville Saturday

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Rusty Newman, of Cassville, describes his 1972 Ford Galaxy that he is going to drive in Saturday's demolition derby in Cassville. Jason Johnston

Rotary Club hosting event at Bill Hailey Rodeo Arena

The Cassville Rotary Club will host its 12th Annual Demolition Derby at the Bill Hailey Rodeo Arena, starting 7 p.m. Saturday, to raise money for college scholarships, water wells in third-world countries and the eradication of polio everywhere.

"It really helps the Rotary to be able to contribute to making other lives better," said Chad Yarnall, chairman for this year's demolition derby. "It's a lot of fun for families to get out and the kids to get out to just watch these people get rough and beat their cars up."

Adults attending the derby event will be admitted for $7 per person, and children ages 6-12 will be admitted for $4 each. Admission is free for children under the age of six. The Bill Hailey Rodeo Arena is located off of Business Highway 37 on Rodeo Road, north of Cassville.

Last year's derby had 30 drivers and the attendance was between 2,200 and 2,500 people, Yarnall said.

The derby will have four classes, said Regina McDermith, the owner of Mechanicsburg, Ill.-based Grandstand Attractions Inc. The Rotary Club hired her company to officiate and inspect the cars. McDermith will be the announcer at the derby.

Grandstand Attractions goes to other demolition derbies in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Missouri.

Rusty Newman, of Cassville, has drove in the Demolition Derby every year.

"It was just kind of one of those things that I seen it advertised and never done one before, and it looked fun," Newman said. "So, I did it once, and I was hooked."

On Saturday, he will a drive a 1972 Ford Galaxy in the modified class, a 1984 Chevy Caprice in the modified stock class and a 1983 Ford Mustang in the compact class, said Newman, who is also the branch president for Freedom Bank in Shell Knob and Golden. He has had two first-place finishes in the modified class and two first-place finishes in the modified stock class in Cassville. Newman drives about three regional derbies each year.

"In any of the classes, we are going to strip pretty much everything out of the inside of the car except for the driver seat," he said. "From there, we move the battery and the gas tank to the inside of the car. We put the battery in the passenger floor board and bolt it down there. And your field tank, we normally put that in the backseat area where the backseat used to be."

He knocks out all the windows, welds the doors shut and bolts down the trunk and the hood. He usually attaches a metal bar from the hood over the middle windshield area to keep the hood from flying up, and he puts a roll bar toward the middle of the roof.

"Not often do you roll over, but it does happen," Newman said.

On the outside of each car, he detaches the handles, the trim, the plastic, the grille and the light fixtures.

He takes everything out of the engine compartment that is not needed, such as the air conditioning and heating components, Newman said. From the inside of the car, he controls a fan that cools the radiator.

In each heat, every driver must hit another car within 60 seconds, he said. The last car remaining wins the heat. The goal for each driver is to put the other cars out of commission.

"You've got to build a car, and the car has to run the best that you can get it to run when you pull out on the track," Newman said. "You've got to drive smart. You try to avoid getting hit as much as possible. Of course, the hits that you give out, you want to make sure are smart hits.

"Don't do anything that is going to total your car out. You want to protect your car as much as you can."

During each derby, he said he will wear a helmet, a mouth piece, a neck brace, gloves and a fire proof jacket.

For more information about the derby, people may call 217-306-4025 or visit

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