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Water carnival's demolition derby brings thrills, chills and big crowds

A favorite of Northwest Water Carnival attendees, Saturday's Demolition Derby nearly filled the stands at the Becker County Fairgrounds for some contentious competition.

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The mud was flying through the air for the final, "old iron" round of the Northwest Water Carnival's Demolition Derby on Saturday, July 9, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — The Northwest Water Carnival's Demolition Derby typically draws a crowd, and while the grandstand wasn't completely packed, there were still hundreds of fans of the sport gathered at the Becker County Fairgrounds Saturday to watch some contentious battles between drivers.

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Some of the drivers, like No. 15X Josh Wurst, put on quite a show at Saturday night's Northwest Water Carnival Demolition Derby, kicking up plenty of mud as they flew around the arena at the Becker County Fairgrounds on July 9, 2022 in Detroit Lakes.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"We were happy with the attendance, on both sides — drivers and audience," said 2022 Northwest Water Carnival Co-Admiral Andrew Lessin, who was in charge of the derby.

Five heats were held, for compact and full-size cars; compact and full size trucks; and a final, "old iron" category for all vehicles whose drivers chose to participate.

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The mud — and smoke — flew off the cars competing in the Northwest Water Carnival's Demolition Derby on Saturday, July 9, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"Those guys do know how to put on a show," said Lessin of the drivers. "It's always good."

All five categories were hotly contested, with one, the full-size cars, lasting the longest despite the fact that only two drivers were in it: Dawson Kellogg took first in that division, followed very closely by Daniel Wurst.

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C.J. Zacarias took first place in the compact car category, followed by Josh Wurst, while in the compact trucks competition Casey Nunn took first, followed by Ryan Leegard and Thomas Frederick.

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The cars and trucks competing in the demolition derby at the Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes looked pretty clean and un-dented as they lined up for judging in the "best paint job" category. The derby was held at the Becker County Fairgrounds on July 9, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Aaron Schwartz took first in the full-size truck category, with Josh Wurst again taking second place and Payne Hensel coming in third.

For the final category, five competitors stepped up, including Zacarias, Kellogg, Hensel, and both Collin and Josh Wurst.

First place went to Collin Wurst, followed by Hensel in second and Zacarias in third.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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