Oswald claims his fourth Derby title


Last updated 6/14/2018 at Noon

FINAL THREE. In the last minutes of the 31st Annual Lind Combine Demolition Derby, three drivers remained locked in competition. The final three were (from left) Caleb Hannas, Josh Hernandez and Jim Oswald, with Oswald emerging victorious and earning the title. -Journal photo by Katelin Davidson

After 13 years of competing in the Lind Lions Club Arena, Prison Break driver Jim Oswald added another, and final notch, to his record of Lind Combine Demolition Derby winner.

Oswald began competing in the Derby in 2005, and prior to Saturday’s victory, had earned one solo title and shared two additional titles with fellow drivers.

The 2018 event marked Oswald’s retirement from competition, and he left the arena filled with excitement, surrounded by his family and friends.

Joining Oswald in celebration was newcomer Josh Hernandez, and returning driver Caleb Hannas. Hernandez and Hannas tied for second place at the Derby.

Twelve combine drivers came to Lind on June 9 to compete in the 31st Annual Lind Combine Demolition Derby. In the final heat, one more combine joined the crowd with a rookie driver, who had an equal chance to earn the title and the award money.

For the second year, the Lind Lions Club hosted a raffle drawing with the winner receiving the opportunity to drive a combine in the finale. After nearly selling out of the 500 tickets, the winners were announced after the first two heats of competition.

The winner was Brian Baumann, who received $500 as he was not present to compete. The second place winner, Alan Field, received $250, and third place went to Jeff Witt, who earned $100.

Since Baumann was unavailable to drive, Lions Club members decided to auction off the opportunity to drive the combine.

Erin Morse had the winning bid of $550, and received a driving tutorial from Grant Miller before rolling into the arena to compete in the finals.

An unfortunate hit detached the header from Morse’s combine midway through the finals, which eliminated her from competition.

Morse had a front row seat in the center of the arena to watch the remainder of the event.

The other drivers competing in the Derby were Alexis Guizar, Cody Bennett, Josh Knodel, Tyran Doyle, Matt Miller, Branden Aby, Cody Kulm, Eric Labes and Palmer Phillips.

Oswald, Miller and Doyle advanced to the consolation round from the first heats of the day, with Miller and Oswald moving on to compete in the final heat. Phillips, Bennett, Labes, Morse and Hannas joined them in the finale.

Miller and Knodel, longtime drivers of Jaws, kicked off the annual event with a big hit in front of the announcers’ booth. This was the first time the lifelong friends had competed against each other in the arena.

The 31st year of the Derby continued to garner the attention of an estimated 5,000 spectators on Saturday afternoon. The Lind Lions Club has continually added bleachers to the arena each year, but they have now reached capacity on where the bleachers can be located.

The Lions Club is already gearing up for next year’s excitement, and are working to ensure the success of the event continues in the upcoming years.


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