OTTAWA — The modified Putnam County Fair ended Saturday night with the demolition derby.
For Kody Gerding of Ottawa, it was his first derby. It’s something he’s always wanted to try.
“Some of my family members that I knew did it, family friends, and I wanted to it the past couple years but never really got around to doing it,” Gerding said. “I went out and got this (1990 Oldsmobile 88) three days ago and built it, and here we are. I got about $300 in it, so we’re going to see what happens.”
Brandon Meyer, of Delphos, runs in the pro-stock division and has been involved in running in the demolition derby for around 15 years.
He comes out for the “adrenaline rush” and a “good time.”
“My buddy in high school did it, and we just kept doing it,” Meyer said.
Meyer’s ride was a 1968 Chrysler Imperial.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many fairs across the region, this is Meyer’s first demolition derby of the year. He also enters competitions in Williams and Defiance counties.
This year’s fair almost didn’t happen due to the pandemic. Putnam County Fair officials had to abide by state health department rules to even have a fair. There were no rides and few food vendors, but the animal shows were the main attraction of this year’s fair.
Looking back, fair board president Nathan Meyer had no regrets on how they went about putting on the fair.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I’m thinking nobody’s going to show up, but we really had decent crowds for the animal shows, and for the most part they respected the 6-foot, every-other-row seating in the bleachers. Last night for the truck and tractor pulls, they were spread out pretty good. We had no clue what kind of crowd to expect just because it’s the first time we’ve done this in 40 years,” Meyer said.
There was no admission at the gate, and only donations were taken for the modified fair.
“We averaged about $2,000 a day, and I went back and looked at our lowest in the last three years. Our lowest ticket day was $6,000. The $2,000 is going to pay some of the bills for sure,” Meyer said.
Meyer praised the donors who came forward to help pay for this year’s fair.
“We had a pretty large one for the pulls and that paid for that, then another donor took care of the hand sanitizer, stuff like that,” Meyer said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.