Competitors smash into each other at the 2021 edition of the demolition derby.
Competitors smash into each other at the 2021 edition of the demolition derby.
Those choosing to brave the weather that clouded over the 105th edition of the Kosciusko County Fair Friday were treated to the headliner that has been coming to town for longer than those involved can remember.

The goal of the demolition derby is simple: be the last car standing. As drivers circle the slicked track with the goal of doing as much damage as possible, fans are left guessing as to what’s going to happen next.

“A car could catch on fire, it could roll over, its about as exciting as it gets,” the derby’s promoter Todd Sorensen said.

After driving for over 25 years, Sorenson now runs a derby promotion that holds 43 shows a year and travels from the upper peninsula of Michigan all the way down to Kentucky.

“I’ve been around this since I was three years old, and it’s in my blood,” Sorensen said. “Some guys’ favorite sport is football, mine is the demolition derby.”

With the risks that come with crashing heavy machinery together, the drivers are protected with both rules and the technology of the vehicle. Drivers are not allowed to intentionally strike another car on the driver’s side door, and drivers are allowed to fit their car with cages that allow for maximum protection.

“With the track all muddy, you can’t go fast enough to really hit somebody. To be honest, you’re having so much fun in that car that you’re not even thinking about it,” Chris Cage said.

Promotions director for the radio station Willie 103.5, Cage competed in the race for the fourth time. After taking the last couple of years off Cage was excited to get back in the car, seeing it as an adrenaline rush like no other.

“It’s like bumper cars on steroids,” Cage said. “You take some good hits but when you can hear the crowd over the sound of your engine after a big hit it just makes you want to go that much harder.”

Several years back, the radio station gave Cage an opportunity to compete in the derby as a way to promote the race. He finished in second place, and fell in love with the sport.

“Rivalries are quick to be developed,” Cage laughed. “A guy might clip you a few times and in your head you’re thinking, ‘it’s on.’”

Sorensen hasn’t competed in some time, but has gotten his itch back. He’s not ruling out making an appearance in the future.

“My kids got me back into it, and I drove a car last year in Kentucky. It’s all I’ve been thinking about since,” Sorensen said. “I watch these races as a promoter and I think about all of the things I could be doing differently.”

The Kosciusko County Fair wraps up Saturday.