On the outskirts of the food booths, games and animals, flames, dirt, smoke and the roar of the crowd highlighted Tuesday night at the Jackson County Fair.

A total of 26 full-sized cars, 16 mini cars and two vans battled it out at the annual demolition derby at the Brownstown Speedway.

Matthew Weston, who founded BuckWild Motorsports in 2010, was a major force, with his crew, in organizing the event.

“We want to put on a show and bring it back to what it used to be,” Weston said. “It was a bunch of cars. We had a promoter change, and we wanted to get the car count back up.”

Weston, a Vallonia native, said that junk cars dropped in price this year, which allowed more cars to be purchased.

Before the larger-scaled derby with the cars and vans began, around 10 kids took to the track. The youngsters, driving battery-powered cars, put on a derby of their own.

The Power Wheels derby has turned into a fan-favorite event.

“They had quite a few kids turn out last year,” Adam Hanner of Brownstown said. “All the kids get a trophy and have fun with it. It’s something for the fans to see. The more kids that are involved, the more fans get involved.”

This year, the show featured more cars than ever before.

Three hours before the event, the cars were lined up outside, with operators working on last-minute bugs.

“(Weston) is the big guy behind this,” Hanner said. “I started four years ago. In the minicar class, it was just me and Matt. Now we’ve have gotten our buddies involved. This year was the biggest show we’ve had with mini cars.”

In an effort to further localize the event, nearly all the racers in the derby were from Jackson County.

Brandon Davidson, from Medora, competed in the derby for the first time this past week. He said that he hadn’t thought of competing until meeting Weston.

“I started working with Matthew Weston last summer, and he told me about the derby cars,” Davidson said. “I figured I would go over and see what all the fuss was about. I went over and bought one and have gotten in the swing of things this past year.

“I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve done motorsports before, but nothing like this.”

It takes a large chunk of time to organize the event and get the cars ready for competition. Most of the cars need a lot of fine tuning to run properly.

In the past, the derby would have a heat run prior to the grand show.

Hanner said the cars usually get demolished in about 20 minutes, so they no longer stage that part of the event.

“The easy thing is to buy the cars,” Hanner said. “The hardest part is putting them back together and finding drivers for them. All of our drivers (from BuckWild Motorsports) are from Jackson County. There are a bunch from Vallonia, a couple from Seymour and Medora, and a few from Brownstown.”

Prior to the race, Hanner had one goal once he entered the field.

“The best result you can ask for is walking out of the car in one piece. That’s the best you can ask for,” Hanner said with a smile. “I don’t care if I win or lose, I just want to put a good show on for the fans.”

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