NEW ULM - In his 23rd year of demolition derby competition, Bill Pelzel thought he'd try something different Wednesday night at the Brown County Free Fair.
Instead of driving his full-size 1971 Chrysler, Pelzel put together a 1965 Ford F-250 pickup truck with a Chevrolet 350 engine, the same type engine he runs in the Chrysler.
Pelzel, of Sleepy Eye, and Marcus Seifert, in a slightly newer Ford, battled each other long and hard before Pelzel outlasted him.
The No. 30 car (left) driven by Mike Gebro collides with “Digger” Helget’s car during the Modified Heat of the Demolition Derby Wednesday at the Brown County Fair in New Ulm.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Seifert finished with a very mangled truck box, on two inflated tires, one of which came off a wheel.
"I'm hooked (on pickups) now. That's the most fun I've ever had in 23 years of derbies," Pelzel said as he and his pit crew loaded up the pickup on a trailer. "It's 10 times as rough in a pickup but they hold together so long. It's completely different than a car. I lost most of my steering after the first or second hit. Pickups can take a lot more hits. A car would have been all folded up."
Pelzel called demolition derby preparation and competition his "labor of love."
"I suppose most of the guys running here are young enough to be my kids, but it's still fun for me to build something and see how it does," Pelzel added.
Pelzel used General Motors and Chrysler parts in his Ford pickup.
Other than a steering problem, Pelzel's pickup seemed to be in good enough shape to run in Saturday night's demolition derby. If not, he'll run his 1971 Chrysler. He has also got a 1976 Chrysler and 1975 Chevrolet Impala ready to go.
Michael McDermott took third and Tom Braulick was fourth in the pickup event.
Another full-house crowd filled the grandstand before the derby began.
Colorful T-shirts included messages like "My life is a wreck" and "Talk derby to me."
New and Old Iron Modified competition included two men from North Dakota. Mike Gebro finished first, winning $1,000. "Digger" Helget was second, Taylor Moslowski of North Dakota was third and Randy Moslowski was fourth.
Raelynn Seitsema was first and Anne McDermott second in the Ladies of the 80s event.
Scott Scheid won Old Iron Stock. Following were Rob Engelking, Pat Klinkner and Kollin Lang.
Scott Kuehn won 80s and Newer Stock. He was followed by Jason Helget, Travis Schneider and Ryan Wieland.
Kyle Rewitzer won the Free-For-All (anything that runs at the end of the other events). Lang was second.
Earl Allen received a $100 best paint award.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com).