Archive for Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Family affair

Demolition derby organizers mark 10th year at LCF

August 18, 2004

Finding an empty seat was no simple task Saturday at the Leavenworth County Rodeo Arena.

Fans swarmed to Tonganoxie to watch cars demolish one another until only one mangled vehicle remained with its engine running.

Welcome to the demolition derby at the Leavenworth County Fair.

The event, which was the 10th consecutive for organizers Barney and Jackie Farr, was the best so far for the Leavenworth couple. Jackie said Monday that she estimated a crowd of roughly 4,000 based on gate receipts. At one point, the event became a sellout and only standing room was available.

"Supposedly that was the largest they ever had for the derby," Jackie said.

The Farrs have been in the demolition derby business for many years. Barney has been involved in the sport for 25 years, while Jackie has been working with derbies for about 20.

The couple used to travel to Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska for derbies, but after they started a family, they stayed closer to home.

"That got a little too busy with the summer and the kids," Jackie said.

One son, however, now is old enough to carry on the family tradition.

Colton Farr, who is 16, placed second in the compact derby Saturday.

A cousin, Marcus Farr of Platte City, Mo., placed third in the feature division.

Leavenworth's Dusty Little took home first place in the feature, while another Leavenworth product, Lloyd Yontz, won the compact title.

"It was a successful derby -- good crowd, good drivers out there," Jackie said. "It started out a little slow. Our track was a little too wet but we got it where it needed to be."

The Farrs organize demolition derbies each summer in McLouth and Tonganoxie. Barney oversees the derbies and officiates. His officiating crew consists of Ron Harding, Johnni Phelps, Mark Little and Kenny O' Dell.

Jackie, meanwhile, is in charge of paperwork and grandstand work as she "keeps track of everybody."

"We try to keep a peaceful derby and do the best we can do," Jackie said.

That seemed to be accomplished before a huge crowd this year in Tonganoxie.

The next demolition derby for the Farrs will be Aug. 28 at the threshing bee grounds in McLouth.

That derby will begin at 7 p.m.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.