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Derby truck is for Hawley fire victim

Matt Pederson, right, plans to paint his derby truck white this weekend and have it in various locations for people to give a donation in honor of Rylie Efterfield, who died in a Hawley house fire a couple weeks ago, and then sign their names to the truck. The money will then go to the family who lost everything in the fire. He will then drive the truck in the Becker County Fair demo derby Friday night. PIPPI MAYFIELD/RECORD

Though Matt Pederson hadn’t ever met Rylie Efterfield, he decided to honor her memory at the Becker County Fair this weekend.

Efterfield died in a Hawley house fire a couple weeks ago. She was 15.

“I’ve never had a chance to meet the family, but hopefully they’d do the same thing for us,” Pederson said of neighbors helping neighbors in a time of need.

This is Pederson’s first demo derby.

He said a friend of his talked him into participating and figured he’d give it a try.

“I’ve got race cars. I run dirt track and I’ve always thought it would be fun to go out in a demo derby and smash a truck,” he said.

His plan was to build the truck, park it in Lake Park where he lives and let the kids in town sign it “and maybe put their lucky number on it.”

And then the Hawley fire happened.

“I thought, what better way to try and help the family make a little money,” he said.

So now he will have the derby truck on display in a couple locations — including the Buffalo River Race Park today (Sunday) — and people can leave a donation for the family and sign the truck and leave a message for Rylie.

“I’ve never met the girl that passed away, but all my friends on Facebook knew her and I threw it out there … and everybody was all for it,” he said of getting the car set up and donations made to Rylie’s family.

“Donate what you want and then sign your name on the truck. If you want to write something on there, that’s fine.”

He will also have the truck parked in Hawley from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday and from 7 to 9 in Ulen that evening.

He will have it in Lake Park from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday before the fair, and then at the Becker County Fairgrounds from 4:30 until he competes that evening.

Pederson’s cousin, Natasha Thompson, will also be helping the family by donating all proceeds from her haircuts at Hair It Is in Lake Park on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.

She said she also didn’t know Rylie personally, but younger family and friends did know her, and Thompson just wants to help. Call 218-238-5872 to make an appointment.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.