A smashing tradition

MARSHALL – It’s not hard to find the excitement in the roar of engines and the crunch of bumpers. That’s what brought together drivers from around the region, and a grandstand’s worth of fans at the Lyon County Fair on Saturday evening, at the demolition derby. But for some of the competing drivers, taking part in demolition derbies is something of a family tradition, too.

The scene before the start of the derby was a busy one, with drivers making final adjustments to their cars and pickups before lining up to enter the track. Sparks were flying from gas torches, and driver Bryce Lanoue even brought out a roll of duct tape along with other tools as he prepared for the derby.

“We’ll see how it goes, I guess,” he said. Lanoue, a Marshall resident, said this was only his second year driving in demolition derbies. But he said his dad, Randy Lanoue, had almost 40 years of experience.

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Lanoue said, but it was fun to try. There aren’t many other places where you can out some aggression by hitting other cars, he said.

Among the people intently working on their vehicles before the start of the derby were Kevin Lanners and Kyle Lanners. Kevin’s wife Chris Lanners said Kevin has been taking part in demolition derbies for almost 28 years. It was a passion that spanned to their sons, too, once they were old enough to drive, she said.

Both Kevin and Kyle Lanners would go on to face each other in the same division of the derby, with family members in the stands cheering them on. The group’s matching T-shirts, with the slogan “More Than Just A Hobby,” likely summed up the feelings of many devoted derby fans.