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Demolition Derby championship crashes into La Porte

September 13, 2018

La PORTE — The annual International Demolition Derby shakes, rattles and rolls back into the La Porte County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

The demolition derby already graced La Porte earlier this summer in a crescendo of screaming engines and shrieking metal set over three days during the La Porte County Fair. On Sept. 15, however, the stakes are higher as drivers from all over the state compete in the Indiana Championship, closing out the season.

“It’s a great time for the people,” said Dennis Nelson Sr. of Kingsbury, who runs the International Demolition Derby with his family.

“Eight or 80, young or old, everyone loves the demolition derby…People like seeing things get torn up,” he said.

As the final derby of the year, Nelson said the championship derby is a celebration and a thank you to both the fans and the drivers who continually make the derby possible.

“It’s easy to get the crowd, but it’s not easy to get the drivers. So when you have good ones you take care of them,” Nelson said.

The International Demolition Derby operates 21 derbies in five states over the course of a year. They have been performing during the La Porte County Fair for the past 20 years, Nelson said.

The championship will feature multiple classes: Figure eight racing, compact class, mid-size class, mini trucks/vans, full-sized trucks/vans, V8 stock class and V8 weld class. Before the main show begins, audiences will also get warm up events in the form of a Power Wheel demolition derby for kids and a garden tractor derby.

On Saturday, gates open at 1 p.m. with the derby set to begin at 3 p.m. With Nelson promising four to six hours of demolition derby action, derby goers can take advantage of food and drink vendors along with a beer garden during the event.

Tickets are $10 and children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased day of at the La Porte County Fairgrounds or in advance at the fairground’s office.

Tickets can also be purchased by calling (219) 324-4813.

Special at this year’s derby will be a car built for the La Porte City Police Department in order to help raise donations for the police department’s recently expanded K-9 division. The car will be sitting out front of the grandstands and will be available to sign for a donation of at least one dollar.

The money raised from signing the car will go toward the city’s new K-9 officers.

Nelson said the K-9 officers will also be performing a demonstration for the public prior to the start of the derby. Nelson hopes the two new dogs will be in attendance, allowing La Porte citizens their first glimpse of the four legged officers who will be helping crack down on drugs in La Porte.

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