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Seamann, Kendrick win Maxwell demo derbyTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Wood, at left, and Seamann fight it out
Photo by Joe Chitwood
No. 87 hung up on a cement bunker
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Justin Wood, at left, and Matt Seamann

A crowd of 2,300 watched Saturday as driver Matt Seamann won the full-size demolition derby and Mike Kendrick from Gothenburg took first in the compact division at the Maxwell Heritage Days.

A total of 26 cars in the two classes competed in the ninth annual Heritage Days Demolition Derby, sponsored by the Maxwell Fire and Rescue Department.

In the full-size cars competition, three heats of six cars crashed and collided to gain a spot in the finals. Drivers worked hard to avoid big hits and keep their cars intact.

The three top finishers in each heat advanced to the finals. And after each heat, two trucks hauled losers back to the pits,. where crews worked to put them together for a consolation round and a chance to get back in the finals.


Twelve cars in the final round put the pedals to the metal to the delight and cheers of the fans, and the field gradually narrowed to Matt Seamann in car No. 36 and Justin Wood in No. 29, who pounded away at each other. They slammed time and again. After 10 minutes of collisions, Wood's car lost the right rear tire and Seamann's right front tire was flat. 

Finally, Wood's car died and would not start. 

Seamann was declared the winner.

“This was a great race, we had a lot of fun out there," Seamann said.



In the eight-car compact field, just one race was held to determine the champ. With no heat races to worry about, drivers hit the course at full speed. 

The battle for first came down to two Gothenburg drivers. Mike Kendrick in No. 8B outlasted the No. 4 Ford Tempo driven by Dick Earll. 

With the victory, Kendrick took home the trophy and Earll received runner up.

“This was a great derby,” Kendrick said. “I put this car together in 24 hours and it held up nicely.”


Power wheels

Before the final races began, an intermission was held and the crowd was treated to a new event -- the Power Wheels division featuring kids ages 4-8 in toy electric cars. Each racer wore a helmet and seat belts. The race was held in front of the bleachers. When the green flag dropped, fans cheered and clapped for the six young drivers. 

After 10 minutes of bumps and crashes, the race ended and the kids were lined up and each driver was presented a medal.


Powder puff

The ninth annual powder puff race was held after the main division championships.

Four cars competed.  Stephanie Marta knocked out the competition to take home the trophy.

The race was sponsored by the Feeney family of Maxwell in memory of Amber Feeney Robirds. 



Maxwell Volunteer Fire Chief Jason Sommer coordinated the derby. The proceeds of admissions and concessions were donated to the fire department for equipment and supplies.

“We have raised around $8,000 the last 2-3 years,” Sommer said. “It has been a great thing to help us offset expenses needed to keep our department going.”

Sommer expressed gratitude to the sponsors.

"There are too many to name and I would probably miss some, but I want them all to know we appreciate every one of them," he said. “Without their support the event would never happen.”

The derby started with a Calcutta auction. The cars were parked on the track and fans bid to own the rights to the car they hoped would win. After the races, most of the proceeds of the auction were divided between first and second place. Another 15 percent of the pot went to the fire department. Auctioneer Randy Stubbs took bids on the cars, which totaled $1,495.


Seamann wins overall

At the derby's conclusion, point championship trophies were awarded to the top four drivers in the summer demolition derby series -- two in North Platte, one in Stockville and one in Maxwell.

Points were accumulated by drivers that participated in the two North Platte, Stockville and the Maxwell derbies.

Matt Seamann placed first, Josh Schultz was second Paul Niles was third and Adam Schultz, fourth.


After a Brodeo and truck tug of war, teen and adult dances were held to cap the Saturday night celebration. Heritage Days officially ended Sunday morning with a church service and luncheon in the park.



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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/18/2014
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