CHAD WILSON, right, and his nephew Gavin Wilson take a break while getting a car ready for Mondays demolition derby at the Hancock County Fair. Participating in the annual event has become a family tradition for the Wilsons. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

By EILEEN MCCLORY
STAFF WRITER

There will be a lot of crashing and smashing at Monday’s demolition derby at the Hancock County Fair.

But there will also be bonds forged through months of preparation and generations of involvement with the derby.

Chad Wilson and his brother, Brian Wilson, got involved because their father, Ron Wilson, a mechanic, participated in demolition derbies.

At the derbies, modified cars smash into each other until only one car — the winner — is still moving.

Now, Brian Wilson’s son, Gavin Wilson, 18, and Chad Wilson’s sons, Kolton, 8, and Karder, 5, are getting involved in the derby.

The rest of the Wilson family also will be at the Hancock County Fairgrounds to watch the competition Monday, Chad Wilson said.

Chad and Brian Wilson own a local salvage yard, R&A Salvage, so they’re around cars a lot, Chad Wilson said.

They’re not the only family that competes in Hancock County. Casey Pilcher, the demolition derby promoter, has gotten all three of his kids — Maisi, 14, Caleb, 16, and Carson, 17 — involved with building demolition derby cars. Carson is getting ready to participate in the derby himself, Pilcher said.

Chad Wilson said getting cars ready for the derby can be a lot more complicated than people think. There’s all sorts of special parts for a demolition derby car, such as a special bumper and putting in a boat gasoline tank instead of the normal gas tank.

It can take three or four months for some modifications, he said, though he added that he competes at the more experienced level of the demolition derby.

“A lot of people think it’s go bust out the windows and go have fun, but it’s a lot,” Wilson said.

He said he puts about 100 pieces of metal in a derby car while modifying it, including metal to reinforce the car’s body.

“I don’t want the cars to cave in on the sides,” he said.

A more basic car, Pilcher said, can take just a few days to build. A competitor would just take out the windows of the car and change out the gas tank.

There will be people competing with those more basic cars at the fair, Pilcher said.

While he won’t be competing this year at the Hancock County Fair, Pilcher has previously competed at this fair and others in the area.

He said it’s a great stress reliever.

“It’s a little bit of getaway from reality,” Pilcher said. “You can smash someone’s door in, or their trunk in.”

McClory: 419-427-8497
Send an E-mail to Eileen McClory
Twitter: @CourierEileen

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