Demo Derby

Adrenaline rush fuels drivers
in Carroll County Demo Derbys

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (June 2003) – The sound of revving engines, crashing metal and cheering fans gets Chuck Roby’s adrenaline pumping. He recently participated in one of several Demolition Derby events scheduled for the Carroll County Fairgrounds.
Eight years ago, Roby used to be part of the crowd, watching from the stands. Then he was asked to be in one of the derbies. From that point on, he was addicted. He said he even tried to get out of derby racing but instead wound up buying two cars to race.

Chuck Roby

Chuck Roby of Oldham County
competes in area demolition derbies.

Roby, an Oldham County, Ky., resident, is a familiar face among the demolition derby drivers in Carrollton. Jason Darnold, secretary of the fair board, called Roby “one who dominates” the sport.
Darnold said there have been many northern Kentucky entrants in the Carrollton derbies. Great crowds packed the grandstands last year, capping off the season with the Fall Brawl, he said.
The 2003 season kicked off May 3 with what organizer Renee Coghill called “wonderful, the best we’ve ever had.” Coghill, her husband, Jason, and father-in-law, Larry Coghill, all preside on the Carroll County Fair Board and strive to put together a derby season fans will enjoy. In all, 56 cars and drivers competed to get the season off to a good start.
Roby has a shop in La Grange, Ky., in which he builds his own jalopies, sometimes with the help of friends. His vehicle of choice is an Impala, in a sport he said was “a lot of good fun.”
He has won quite a few derbies, including a 1999 demo derby in Maysville, Ky. Roby has raced in Ohio, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana. His winning strategy for having the last car running is simple: “Watch what you’re doing and be careful.”
He takes his own advice to heart. He came out of a derby last year in Carrollton with his car intact enough to race again immediately, no repairs needed.
Larry Coghill also gets an adrenaline rush while in the ring. Just the excitement of being in the lineup, until he gets that first hit, kept him racing for 22 years.
Coghill said he was raised around cars and was hooked after his first derby in Carrollton. He, like Roby, has built his own cars. Coghill got his son, Jason, interested in demo derbies. Jason entered his first derby at age 17 in Henry County.
Father and son have even raced against one another. As they battled it out in one particular competition, Coghill said they had friends in the same derby, which “were in the heat with us.” As they neared the end of the derby and the friends were eliminated, Jason finally won out over his father.
Several derby dates have been set to coincide with the Carroll County Fair, which runs June 6-15. The first event will be on Saturday, June 7, with 1978 or newer, compact and truck derbies. Also on that date, the first Moonlight Madness Derby will be held. Track lights will be turned out and the last driver with lights will be the winner. The Coghills got this idea after seeing it done at the Louisville Motor Speedway.
On Wednesday, June 11, a Surrounding Counties Derby is scheduled. Only drivers from the Kentucky counties of Carroll, Trimble, Owen, Gallatin, Henry and Jefferson and Switzerland counties can compete. This is an old iron, 1978 or newer, and compact derby.
Friday, June 13, will be open to old iron and compact cars. A first for the organizers will be a blindfold, tag-team race. In this derby, the driver is blindfolded and has a partner in the car with him. The partner directs the driver, trying to score points.
All races begin at 8 p.m., and price is included in fair admission. Two more tentative dates have been set for later in the year, Aug. 9 and Oct. 4, with details to be announced. Prizes will be awarded in the form of money and trophies.

For more information, call Renee or Jason Coghill at (502) 732-0699.

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