Youth group's derby entry falls despite best effort
By Ben Orcutt -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENSON -- Like most of the estimated crowd of 2,500 who attended the demolition derby at the Frederick County Fair on Thursday night, members of the Round Hill United Methodist Church youth group also enjoyed the beating and banging.
The youth group sponsored the No. 7 Green Machine, a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice driven by 40-year-old church member Chris Boyce.
"The youth group built the car, prepared the car, painted the car, did everything to get the car ready," Boyce said prior to the derby, which featured 24 entries.
Boyce said his strategy would be to "just keep it moving."
Unfortunately, like a NASCAR driver, his night was done when he blew his right rear tire.
"Yeah, we felt like we were doing pretty well up to that point," Boyce said. "I'm sure somebody got a piece of sharp metal from another car up into it. We were in at least a good five or six minutes I think before we got knocked out. We did way better than [Wednesday] night. We learned a lot [Wednesday] night. We did a lot better tonight and we've learned a lot from the other guys around, things to improve for next year."
Kennedy Boyce, 14, was proud of the way her dad handled the Green Machine on Thursday, after having bowed out of Wednesday's competition with a mechanical malfunction.
"I think we did really well, especially because there was something simple that broke," she said. "I mean a tire, that can happen to anybody."
David Wilkins, 15, of Stephens City, also is a member of the youth group and helped to work on the car, including installing a four-barrel carburetor.
"Well, all I can say is, we done our best," Wilkins said. "We tried our best and if it just wouldn't have been for that tire, we'd of probably stayed in there and we'd of probably been going into the championship."
Daniel Boyce, 59, the driver's father, said blowing the tire reminded him of when the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt blew a tire on the last lap of a race.
"We hadn't of lost a tire, we'd of been in the feature," said the elder Boyce, who dyed his hair bright green for Thursday's event.
Round Hill United Methodist Church was well represented with many fans in the stands sporting green T-shirts. Youth pastor Jed Markwood, 29, said some church members thought entering the demolition derby would be a good way to involve adults with the youth group.
The Green Machine had referenced 1 Peter 5:10 on the side of the car, which Markwood said is appropriate for a demolition derby.
"There's a Scripture in 1 Peter, Chapter 5 that talks about being restored after you've suffered a little while," he said. "How to be strong, firm and steadfast."
Mark Wolfe, 36, of Woodstock, most lived up to the Scripture, capturing first place in the derby and walking away with $250 and a trophy about 9 feet tall.
"You've got to hit the other car in the right place at the right time," said event chairman Gary Bohnenkamp, who was joined by his two children, Allen, 7, and Leah, 5.
"I like watching 'em wreck," said Allen.
He wasn't alone.