Mercer Fair crowd gives Night of Destruction two thumbs up

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Perhaps the best way to picture the Night of Destruction at the Mercer County Fair is to think of dirt-track racing on steroids.

A crowd that would eventually fill the grandstand at the fairgrounds began filing in an hour before the show, despite the chilly 58-degree weather.

If you weren't there, the bus race featured four school buses, a panel truck and a large, all-black fuel truck _ labeled "Rob's Party Bus, Seaton" _ and featured much more than NASCAR's version of trading paint. By time the checkered flag waved, the front end of most of the vehicle's was gone and smoke was pouring out of the radiators of many others. Rob's Party Bus, which looked like a refugee from a Mad Max movie, sat unmoving on the far turn, done in by the banging and smashing from its smaller competitors.

Before the race, Harold "Spike" Heck of Aledo, and his wife, Nancy, talked about what to expect. Spike attended last year's Night of Destruction, the first held at the Mercer County Fair. It was Nancy's first trip to the event, as she was recovering from surgery at the time of last year's fair.

"It was probably one of the most fun things I have seen at the fairgrounds," Spike said. "And, I've been coming to the fair forever."

Rick Martin of New Boston said he comes partly to watch people he knows race. He said he's taken part in about 300 demolition derbies over the years.

"I've actually been a derby guy for several years. Honestly, I liked the school buses,"

he said of last year's event.

By the end of the race, it was more about attrition than speed. Not only was the Party Bus done in, the number 413 panel truck was only running in fits and starts. Two of the four buses sat motionless, hooked together by impact, until one broke free.

The Hecks said the fair board tried many Wednesday grandstand events over the years in an attempt to find one that would draw in a crowd. Unlike Rob's Party Bus, it was apparent the Night of Destruction is a winner.

Rob's Party Bus chases a school bus around the first turn at Wednesday's Night of Destruction at the Mercer County Fair.

The race is on