‘Follow in his footsteps’: Demolition derby tradition for Columbiana Co. family

Local News

Randy Swanson has competed in close to 200 demolition derbies and won about 30 of them

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Cars crashing into each other may not sound like something you want to do on a Sunday evening but for people at the Columbiana County Fair, it’s part of who they are.

“It’s a rush. It’s just fun,” said Randy Swanson, of Hanoverton.

Swanson has competed in close to 200 demolition derbies and won about 30 of them.

He said it’s become a family tradition.

“I grew up around it. My dad did it, my older brothers did it and it’s something we’ve always enjoyed doing.”

Swanson competed in a 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis. He said it doesn’t take too much to keep yourself safe in this car.

“Cage, steering wheel is nice and big. You’re not going to get your hands hurt. Neck brace, seat belt, helmet. That’s all you need.”

These cars must go through inspection before they compete.

“Oh, you see it all the time, where people put stuff inside their cars and on their frames that they’re not supposed to and they try to hide it the best they can,” said Smash It Demolition Derbies President Tim Clark.

Some things people might add include steel plates or concrete.

It’s not just the adults smashing cars. The kids can do it, too.

There’s a Power Wheel division where kids around the ages of 4 to 9 can drive the electronic plastic toy cars into each other.

If you’re between the ages of 12 and 16 with no license or driver’s permit, you can compete with a licensed driver.

That’s what Swanson’s 11-year-old son will do next year.

“Since he’s done it before, I figured I want to follow in his footsteps and be as great as him,” Wyatt Swanson said.

Wyatt said he really loves his dad.

“I want to be as great a person as he is. I want to be as great a driver as he is.”

Swanson has his son’s name on his car. He’s also racing for friends and family he’s lost to cancer.

“I lost my dad, my uncle, my grandpa and one of our very good friends to cancer,” Swanson said. “Cancer is the devil. Nobody deserves to go through that.”

Swanson brought home the derby win Sunday night.

If you missed your chance to see the derby at the Columbiana County Fair, don’t worry. The Canfield Fair has one planned for Friday, August 30.

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