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Shenandoah County Fair: Love of demolition derby spans generations

James Pitcock, 27, of Star Tannery, jumps out of his Dodge Intrepid after a fire erupted under his engine during the Nationwide Demolition Derby on Monday night. Pitcock, who escaped injury, vowed to be at it again tonight for another round of derby action. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Kencie Miller, 6, of Edinburg, dozes off during the Nationwide Demolition Derby on Monday night at the Shenandoah County Fair. Rich Cooley/Daily

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A car leaps over the back end of another competitor during the Nationwide Demolition Derby Rich Cooley/Daily

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By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK -- For Rusty Lineweaver and his father, Marshall, participating in the Shenandoah County Fair's demolition derby is a family tradition.

"It's kind of like passed down from generation to generation," Rusty Lineweaver said.

Although the two Edinburg residents have competed in multiple derbies over the years, they were helping serve In the pit crew Monday night.

As members of the pit crew, the Lineweavers helped prepare cars for the derby by wiring down hoods and battery boxes as well as fixing up cars between heats.

Marshall Lineweaver has seen the sport evolve quite a bit over the past four decades.

"It's a lot safer than it was when I did it," he said, gesturing toward one of the cars. "You see where they got that steering wheel taped, see all the dash tore out? We never did none of that. Only thing we did was take the lights out of it and the glass out...we never even painted it."

He said another major change has been the quality of the cars in the derby.

"The older the car, the better metal they got, naturally, because newer cars don't have the steel in them that the old ones had," he said. "But you can't hardly find any old cars anymore so you have to go with these newer models."

Despite these changes, one thing evidently has stayed the same: the ability for a demolition derby to get rid of pent-up stress and anger.

"You get in there and just ram and beat and knock and when you come out you feel good," he added. "After a hard day of work, you come here, and man, you let out a lot of frustration."

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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