Fourth of July Celebration Ends with a Roar

The loud engines and the adrenaline is what has kept 17-year-demo derby driver Shane Becher coming back for more.

"It's a lot of fun," Becher said. "It's a legal road rage."

Becher was one of 30 drivers who crashed at the Wausau Fourth of July Celebration's annual demo derby Sunday to win one of the largest cash prizes in the state for demos: $3,500.

He said when he gets behind the wheel of his 1997 Ford car from Tennessee, he's always got a game plan.

"If you don't have any tires, you ain't going to steer very well," Becher said. "If you don't have back tires, you ain't going to have any traction you won't be able to move."

Racers traveled from as far as De Pere, Wis., to crash in the show.

"They (the drivers) spend a lot of time working on these cars, Dale Sternhagen, Wis. demo derby promoter of 43 years, said. "I'm going to guess that some of these guys spend every night for two three weeks ahead of time for four five hours a night working on them."

Sternhagen organizes the derbies and makes sure his crew inspects each car to keep the drivers safe.

"You an come out with a nice cash prize or you can go home and lick your wounds," Sternhagen said.

Even though Becher had to pay $40 to race and about $1,400 for his car along with enduring the sting of each collision, he said the investment is worth it as long as he wins.

"I have too much adrenaline going (during the race)," Becher said. "It'll (my body) hurt tomorrow maybe. It depends on how aggressive the show was."

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