June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

The Rough Truck Contest tests drivers’ mettle

There’s a special bond between a man and his truck. But when that vehicle reaches the end of its road, there’s often nothing anyone can do but send it off to the junkyard in style.

For some guys, that means running it in the Medina County Fair Rough Truck Contest, which takes place July 30 at the Grandstand.

“The Rough Truck competition is for people to bring pickup trucks, some even bring cars that compete in it” said Rough Truck Contest Entertainment Chairman Bob Bauman. “We build a track kind of similar to motocross. We do that entirely in front of the grandstand.

“There are humps and large jumps and stuff like that, where most of these vehicles when they’re done with this event are heading for the scrap yard. It pretty much destroys them. It is a timed event and of course the person with the best time is the winner.”

The track also includes frame twisters, ramped round curves, mini-jumps, mini-ramps and even a fan favorite mud pit. The slippery impediment often gets trucks stuck.

“You never know what’s going to happen next,” Bauman said. “You can have the brakes go out, run into a concrete barrier, roll over. The very last thing they do is a large jump where the ramp is six feet in the air. All the trucks pretty much land on their wheels but we don’t know how many parts they’re going to leave.”

Despite the perceived dangers, Bauman said the Rough Truck Contest is a safe event with a fair inspection crew looking over each of the anywhere from 50 to 75 entered vehicles. The trucks must have the gas tank relocated, while drivers must wear a seatbelt harness, helmet, safety glasses and a long sleeved shirt.

The event includes two different classes, a modified group, which are specially made vehicles that compete every week, and the stock class. The latter represents basically anything deemed safe that anyone drives into the fairgrounds.

While the Rough Truck Contest began roughly a decade ago, Bauman said it’s grown in attendance every year to the point now the grandstand is packed with upwards of 5,000 people.

“The good thing is almost every competitor in the stock class is a Medina County resident,” Bauman said.

So will Bauman be participating in this year’s Rough Truck Contest?

He laughed, “No. I’m 60 years old.”

The Rough Truck Contest takes place at 7 p.m. July 30 at the Medina Fair Grandstand. Tickets are $7 to $8. Visit medina-fair.com.