Heat didn't burn out the excitement at the Madison Activity Complex

Fans started gathering early for prime bleacher seating in the shade on a blistering evening.

With the temperature hovering the mid-90s with almost no wind, more than 600 people filed into the newly renovated Madison Activity Complex on Saturday, June 9, for Madison Demolition Derby, sponsored by the Madison Business Association.

The Madison Area Business Association has staged a demolition derby for more than 25 years. It was originally held at the Threlkeld Area, which is now a part of the Madison C-3 School property.

The event is a fundraiser for the organization, with profits used to assist people in a time of need, support various organizations at the school, give two scholarships each year to a graduating senior, assist area residents in a time of need and other projects. Association members hang Christmas decorations in the downtown and U.S. Highway 24 area of Madison; and hold an Easter egg hunt each year for area children.

Around the track were dozens of volunteers, and a host of public safety representatives – more than a dozen firefighters from the Madison and Paris Fire Departments, several Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and race officials.

The derby, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., finally got underway just after 7:30, following several calls for a meeting of drivers.

After getting the rules, the first cars started to enter the track for the compact car class. The actual make of the cars could be recognized loosely from their profiles, but not much else resembled a street car. Engines were exposed and cars were badly damaged, with often garish paint jobs.

As the first race of the evening got underway with a six-car field, a quick battle developed between the No. 25 car of Shawn Hutchasan and the No. 5 car of Chris Gallagan. After meeting the middle for clash of cars, Hutchasan and Galligan played a cat-and-mouse game, shoving each other around the track, churning up mud that flew into the stands, and even up to the top of the announcer’s tower.

Eventually, neither won the heat, though they provided an energetic and entraining competition for the fans.