Jon Huff | The Gazette
MEDINA — The smell of frying elephant ears and car exhaust drifted over the Medina County Fair on Wednesday night as the Rough Truck competition took place at the main grandstand.
Competitors raced their vehicles around a track of turns, bumps, a mud pit and a jump, maneuvering to stay on course and avoid time-penalty cones. In total, 16 modified vehicles and 51 stock vehicles took to the track.
Bulldozers built up mounds of dirt for final track adjustments as spectators filled the stands. Racers walked the track 15 minutes before the start, talking strategy and mentally preparing for the drive.
Once racers returned to the pits, a water truck sprayed down the dirt for good measure.
Starting with the modified division, racers took the track one at a time.
It wasn’t long before parts started flying. Hoods, tires and mufflers bounced and tore loose as the vehicles rattled over bumps.
The crowd responded with applause and the stomping of feet. The more damage, the louder the cheers.
Even the racers found the damage appealing.
After years of participating in 4-H, Kayleigh Keller of Valley City viewed Rough Truck as a way to stay involved in the fair.
“I wanted to ruin something not terribly expensive,” she said.
Keller described the course as “the rocky road to Dublin.”
“There were a lot more bends and turns,” the third-year participant said. “It was more jostling.”
Chad Hennie of Lodi raced for the sixth year. His S-10 truck looked battered, but ran well enough to finish fourth in the stock division.
“A couple turns went slow,” Hennie said. “I really didn’t want to get DQ’ed this year.”
After the timed runs, competitors could enter the long jump, a Dukes of Hazzard-style launch off the final ramp.
Adam Henslee took first in the stock division timed event, with Isaac Albrecht claiming top spot in the stock division long jump. Adam Blankenhorn won both events in the modified division.
Nick Anderson was second in the modified timed class, followed by Dan Shaw, Aaron Higgins and Kurt Mundl.
In the stock timed division, Jon Stachler was second, followed by Danny Snyder, Hennie and Jordan Bryson.
Contact Jon Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org.