JERSEYVILLE - Heat didn't stop fans from filling the grandstand at the Jersey County Fair Sunday as the week wrapped up with a demolition derby.
Fair board president, Phil Ringhausen, said it's a great way to end the festivities because everyone gets excited for the derby.
"We've been real fortunate this week," Ringhausen said. "Even with the heat we've had a huge crowd out here at the fair all week. We're going to be at full capacity. It's a great feeling."
Driver Brandon Taylor of Carrollton said he's been involved with demo derbies for about 10 years. His interest was sparked when he was a kid at the fair and has been interested ever since.
"Watching them when I was a little kid just kind of sparked my interest," Taylor said. "When I got old enough I started doing them on my own. I've built three cars, this will be my fourth this year already. We're usually in the shop every night after work and all weekend long. It's pretty much a 365-day-a-year hobby."
Adrenaline filled the air as the cars took to the course for the first stage of the event. With so many drivers signed up to participate the derby had two compact car stages and one stock class.
"I've got about 20 to 22 compact cars," Ringhausen said. "So then you gotta get to stock class. Pretty good size demo derby."
The crowd was in for in an intense show as tires spun and dirt was flung as the cars were slowly eliminated from the competition. But in the end only one participant, Paul Novosel, drove away with the prize.
Novosel said he's been hooked on derbies since he was 14 years old after helping his neighbor work on a winning car, and competes an average of about 3-5 times a year. He said it felt great to drive away victorious after having his sights set on winning at the Jersey County Fair for quite some time.
"It took me 20 years to win this county fair," Novosel said. "It's always been one of the harder ones. This is my first win since 2013."
Novosel said he sometimes spends months on a car to prepare it for only a few minutes of competition but that doesn't stop him getting behind the wheel and full of energy.
"You got all the energy in the world until that red flag flies and then you don't have nothing," Novosel said. "I would like to thank each and every one of friends, my brother and my mom and dad because for helping me put this together because if they didn't do it there's no way this would be done."