By JOHN GREEN, Contributing Writer
MALONE — For Jamie St. Mary, the demolition derby is much more than a hobby — it’s in his blood.
“My family has been doing it since 1969,” the Malone man said. “My grandfather (Leonard St. Mary) originally started around 1969. He did it for six (or) eight years, and then it moved on to my old man.
“He did it for like 25 years, and then my brother (Joey) and I and a bunch of our friends picked it up from there.”
This year marks the 17th that St. Mary, 32, has been participating in demolition derbies across the state, as well as in Canada, Vermont and Pennsylvania.
That includes the event at the Franklin County Fair in Malone, where Demolition Derby Finals are at 6 p.m. Monday.
Over the years, Jamie has made a lot of great memories, but none are more special than the times he spent with his father, Carl St. Mary, who died a few years ago.
“My old man was a big pusher for me to run (in) the sport,” he said. “Tons of memories … just an awesome time with everybody that derbies with me — but the biggest one is my old man.”
For Jamie, the process of getting ready for a derby event is extensive and requires a lot of time and effort. Sometimes, the search for the right car has even taken him on the road.
He bought seven vehicles in Columbia, S.C., last October.
“Then, I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach and picked up another one,” he said.
“It ranges as far as going to Ohio, so we travel.”
Once Jamie arrives home with the cars, the real work begins for him and his friends.
He and the rest of his Power Team crew got started on his derby entries for the Franklin County Fair in May.
“We bust our rear ends day in and day out. We’ve worked in the shop until 2 o’clock in the morning,” he said. “It’s crazy. You’re running around like your head’s cut off, and you still don’t get everything done … you always say you want to start early so you’ll be done, but that’s not the case.
“It never ends. You’re always working on a car somewhere.”
But it’s all worth it, he said.
“I’m kind of an adrenaline junky when it comes to running a derby car,” Jamie said. “It’s more or less for the excitement (and) the building of the cars to see who can build the best car and to see who the best driver is.”
This year, the fair altered the derby rules to allow contestants to build their cars rather than strictly using stock cars.
For that reason, Jamie figured that the competition this year would be better than ever. So he hoped to see many people in the grandstand.
However, he hopes that the crowd doesn’t get too rowdy and realizes that it’s just a competition.
“We have people that like us, and we have people that hate us,” he said.
“For the people that like us, ‘thank you,’ and for the people that don’t, I wish they understood the time and the money that we invest to put a show on for them,” he said.
“I understand that they might have relatives out there or a brother or a cousin. If I run into them or one of my guys run into them, I understand they get upset at that.
“It’s a competition, and everyone wants to win.”
Email John Green: firstname.lastname@example.org
AT THE FAIR
Here is today's schedule for the Franklin County Fair, where admission is $10 today:
8 a.m.: Poultry Show, open class.
8 a.m.: 4-H Horse Show, riding and gymkhana.
8 a.m.: Franklin County Dairy Goat Show, inside arena.
10 a.m.: Poultry Show.
11 a.m.: Rooster Crowing Contest.
2 p.m.: Annual Truck and Tractor Pull.
4 p.m.: 4-H Beef Show.
6 to 8 p.m.: Franklin County Has Talent contest eliminations, inside arena.