Sterling woman on a roll at Ogle County Fair demo derby
By Earleen Hinton
OREGON – A Sterling woman went on a flippin’ wild ride Saturday at the Ogle County Fair, and she’s more than ready to do it again.
“I guess I caught the wrong way and flipped. I thought, ‘Holy crap, I am upside down’,” Dezirae Montiel, 22, of Sterling, said shortly after her Open Wire Compacts race. “I was kind of shaken up. I’ve never flipped over before. I mean, it does happen.”
Montiel had put the pedal to the metal on the black Toyota Camry and was headed east across the dirt track among 15 other cars when the Camry’s right front end caught the back end of another car, tipped, and slowly rolled onto its side.
Action immediately was stopped and the capacity crowd first cheered, then became quiet, hoping all were safe.
With help from derby workers and firefighters from Stillman Valley, Montiel and her passenger, Michaela Lebarron, 21, of Rock Falls, climbed out of the Camry and stepped away from the car, which was rolled upright by three derby officials. With a tweak to a gas line, it fired back up, and Montiel and Lebarron climbed back in and went right back to crashin’ and bashin’.
“I thought we were done because there was gas burning everywhere, but it turned out to just be a return gas line that was leaking. They taped it up and we went back in,” Montiel said.
Lebarron also was surprised when the car flipped onto its side.
“We were both like, whoa,” she said.
Lebarron has been a passenger in a demolition car several times and a driver once.
“I’m fine,” Montiel said. “I got back in and there and I took second place.”
Saturday night’s run was Montiel’s sixth derby. So far, she has had one first-place finish. “I got first last year, but I think this is the best I’ve done,” Montiel said. “I’m pretty sore, but it was worth it. It’s fun.”
It took Montiel only about a week to transform the Camry it into her demo derby ride.She was the second Sterling woman to do well Saturday night on the Harlan Holm Memorial Track.
Shaleigh Smith, 24, and her passenger, Dakota Cantu, 20, took first place in the Open Wire Young Gun/Women event.
Smith’s 2002 Buick LeSabre beat three other entries to win the $1,500 first prize.
“We bought it for $300,” said Smith, who has been driving since 2016.
“We had a bumper and metal, so I’d say we put about 50 bucks in it,” Cantu said.
The couple, along with Cantu’s 16-year-old brother, Phoenix, took just 3 days to get the car prepped for the race – minus all the labor, of course.
In another crowd-pleasing division, the Open Wire Truck, Chris Cade of Chana used his pickup truck to pin the Chevy Suburban of Branden Albano of Polo against the cement barrier until it stopped running.
Ten entries also battled in the minivan/SUV derby to wild cheers from the crowd.