By RACHAL PINKERTON
LIND — Imagine several 10,000-pound combines banging against each other while a crowd screams with delight. This is what fans and attendees of the Lind Combine Demolition Derby experience each year.
The Lind Combine Demolition Derby began in 1988 when the Lind Lions Club wanted to add a special participation event to their annual rodeo, according to derby’s website. That same year, Lind was celebrating its centennial anniversary.
Local farmer Ruben Fode, also a member of the Lions Club, suggested a combine demolition derby. He had recently watched one in a neighboring town. The group ran with the idea, placing it during intermission at the rodeo.
The derby took place on June 9, with nine old combines, thanks to local implement dealer Bill Loomis. The crowd loved the event.
“It was something special when it initially started,” said Mike Doyle, a Lions Club member who has been at every derby. “We are on our 32nd year.”
Over the years, the derby has grown. It had gotten attention from several television programs, including CBS Sunday Morning. They also received five pages in Playboy Magazine’s 50th edition. Drivers have come from as far away as Australia.
“It’s cool to see for-the-first-time people,” Doyle said. “Some people really enjoy it. They come back year after year.”
Today the derby is a three-day affair with a car derby, car, pickup and grain truck races, coaster car races for the children, a Sunday morning breakfast and church service, two parades and a community barbecue. This year, 15 combines are slated to attend.
“About 50 percent are from the Lind area,” said Doyle. “Spectator-wise, the derby is growing and growing. Some years, we are down in combines. Some we are up. This year, we are up. Last year, we had 12.”
The most combines the derby has had is 23.
“On our 25th year, we made 23,” Doyle said. “I wanted 25 for our 25 years, but only made 23.”
For the last couple of years, the Lions Club has raffled off a chance for attendees to race one of the combines.
“The Lions put together their own derby combine,” said Lions Club member Mike Gering. “We have a raffle. If you win, you get to race it. There are only 500 tickets.”
The rodeo, which was originally the main attraction, was held for 60 year before it ended in the early 2000s. Over the years, a car derby, as well as car, pickup and grain truck races have been added.
“It’s a wild time,” said Gering. “For the pickups, cars and grain trucks, when they show up, we know how many people are there (to race). Every year, we are getting more and more and more.”
A soap box coaster car derby has even been added for the children.
“On Sunday, they have a soap box coaster car race in town,” Gering said. “It is put on by the Community Church. The kids get together and build little soap box cars. They go up the hill and let them loose. They race a couple of hours.”
The coaster car derby is held on E Street, on what is known as Smart’s Hill. The street is closed down for the event.
The proceeds from the Lind Demolition Combine Derby go directly to the Lind Lions Club.
“It carries us through the year,” said Doyle. “We use it to put back into the community. We give a decent donation to the senior center and we help out different organizations at the school.”
This year’s derby is June 7-9 in Lind. To learn more about the Lind Combine Demolition Derby, visit lindwa.com.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.