On the street
The demolition derby. It’s all about the derby - the mud flinging and the fires. You don’t want anyone to get hurt, but the element of danger makes it exciting.
Livestock, a world of entries, a carnival and a demolition derby - see the sights and hear the sounds of the 2008 Douglas County Fair.
Use your legs, throw it as hard as you can and hope for the best.
That's what Daniel Squires, 23, was thinking before he attempted to beat his personal best at Friday's bale throwing contest at the Douglas County Fair.
Last year he tossed an approximately 45-pound bale of hay 14 feet 5 inches above his head onto a platform mounted atop a forklift.
"Hopefully it sticks up there and it doesn't fall back down because it isn't fun to try to catch it," he said.
Squires and other older contenders made the obstacles of a heavy, scratchy bale, gravity and height seem less daunting than did the youngsters attempting to throw smaller bales.
"It kept getting higher and higher, and I was getting nervous," Jacquie Gerant, 10, from Topeka, said about the platform.
In the 26-year-old competition that draws an average of 65 contenders as young as 10 and over 50, experience on the farm and strength seem to equal out.
Squires said growing up on a farm in Overbook and part-time summer work throwing hay on the farm have helped him prepare.
"If you have a barn or a hayloft that you need to get the hay or straw up into, you throw it and it's like lifting weights, and when you put up square bales you've got to lift them out of the field, onto the trailer, from the trailer, and into the barn," said Jane Edmonds, a superintendent of the competition. "It's practical as well as exercise."
Gerant said Jazzercise helped her win the girls' 8- to 10-year-old competition this year with a height of 6 feet 5 inches.
The city girl has competed the past three years.
"I thought if I just tried and tried, I'd get it," she said of her decision to keep coming back to the fair to try the toss.
People in the crowd were cheering for everyone competing.
Edmonds said she likes to root for the little kids.
"It's just a fun thing to do," she said.
Overall winner: Cameron Schmidt, 13'3''
Men's winner: Eric Schmidt, 10'6''
Women's winner: Erin Damme, 9'5''
Kids 7 and under: Britten Coates, 5'9''