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Archive for Saturday, August 7, 1999

DRIVERS TAKE CRASH COURSE AT FAIR

August 7, 1999

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Lawrence's biggest traffic tie-up Friday night wasn't on Massachusetts Street. The demolition derby muddied up the Douglas County Free Fair.

Beauty. Finesse. Grace. Quiet dignity.

None of these attributes was present at the Douglas County Free Fair's demolition derby.

But hey, there was plenty of mud.

The demolition derby was the main event Friday at the fair. Spectators packed the stands at the fairgrounds' rodeo arena to watch the five preliminary rounds, consolation round and final round of the annual event.

At the derby, brothers Bryan and Loren Stone took fourth and third places, respectively. Chris DeMarandille took second, while last year's winner Lee Torneden successfully defended his crown. All four top finishers drove Chevrolet Impalas.

Tonganoxie resident Chris Vananne made it to the final round. Before the derby began, he announced even bigger plans that did not quite come to fruition.

"I plan on winning," he said. "That's my intention."

He didn't enter the derby to win any popularity contests. The longtime Kansas State University fan painted his 1976 Chevrolet Caprice purple and silver. He thought that would be funny, "this being Lawrence and all."

Amid the festive atmosphere, a somber note was struck. Fair workers took up collections for demolition derby regular Tim Copp, who remains in the Kansas University Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns. Copp, who has no insurance, was using a blowtorch on his demolition derby car July 27 when a gasoline tank on the car exploded.

The fair concludes today. The 4-H awards ceremony takes place at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., the 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction will be held in the judging arena while the pony pull will be held in the rodeo arena.

-- Erik Petersen's voice message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is epetersen@ljworld.com.

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