DOWN AND DIRTY at the demo derby


Cars zipped toward inevitable crashes Sunday in the Lorain County Fair’s demolition derby, with two of the youngest competitors in the junior division standing tall among the bent steel and mud splatters.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Watson of Wellington and his Chevrolet Lumina narrowly outlasted the rest of the crowded pit to take home first place.

“My brother races cars and he’s been talking about the derby for a long time,” said the victor. “Last year was my first derby and I came in fourth, so I wanted to do come out this year and win it.”

Racers between 12 and 16 years old compete in the junior division.

When asked about other motivations to get into the demolition derby, Watson said he just likes smashing things.

“It’s fun when you’re out there and get hyped up,” he said. “You just kind of go with it once you’re out there. You don’t really know what’s going on. At the end you know, but not most of the time.”

Ben’s 19-year-old brother, Dylan Watson, rode with him in the derby and later competed in the compact car division. He can regularly be found at the Sandusky Speedway racing sprint cars and front-wheel drives.

“This kid never ceases to amaze,” said Dylan. “This feels better than when I win. Ben makes me so proud it’s not even funny. Seeing my brother follow the same passion as me and kind of follow in my footsteps makes me so happy. It just makes me proud.”

Jaeda Dotson, 14, of Medina, drove a Chevrolet Beretta and secured second place.

Like Watson, she said watching her brother compete in the derby made her want to give it a try.

“I asked my dad if I could do it and then we worked on the Beretta all summer long,” she said. “It was three months of non-stop work, and then we ran.”

Dotson said getting used to the hits is the hardest part of getting into derby competition.

“Sometimes the hits hurt a lot, especially the front hits,” she said. “Just have fun when you get out here. That might be the most generic thing you can say but it’s true. Just have fun.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

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Driver Ben Watson, 13, is embraced by his older brother Dylan after winning the junior division demolition derby Sunday at the Lorain County Fair.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0279.jpgDriver Ben Watson, 13, is embraced by his older brother Dylan after winning the junior division demolition derby Sunday at the Lorain County Fair.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Dylan and Ben Watson stand tall alongside the first place trophy.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0293.jpgDylan and Ben Watson stand tall alongside the first place trophy.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Jaeda Dotson, 14, of Media, takes a breath after taking home second place.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0288.jpgJaeda Dotson, 14, of Media, takes a breath after taking home second place.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

A junior division competitor makes their way through the mud.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0272.jpgA junior division competitor makes their way through the mud.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Dotson is congratulated by family members.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0285.jpgDotson is congratulated by family members.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Smoke begins pouring out of an adult competitor’s car.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0307.jpgSmoke begins pouring out of an adult competitor’s car.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

The smell of smoke and coolant was strong after the derby was completed.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0277.jpgThe smell of smoke and coolant was strong after the derby was completed.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Adult competitors collide as they attempt to pass each other.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0297.jpgAdult competitors collide as they attempt to pass each other.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

Compact car drivers await their turn to derby.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/08/web1_IMG_0314.jpgCompact car drivers await their turn to derby.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | AIM Media Midwest

By Jonathan Delozier

jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com