Besides the usual dirt and exhaust, there was love in the air at this year’s demolition derby at the Kenosha County Fair on Sunday.
Before the event, friends, relatives and the really early people in the grandstand witnessed the wedding of Jesse and Deb (Sekich) Aker. As part of the celebration, the bride and groom would participate in the truck heat, against each other. The bride and her pickup truck wore white, the rest of the bridal party, including the groom’s pickup truck, wore black. The bride and bridesmaids wore cowboy boots, walking down the aisle to Thunderstruck (ACDC), although the other music was a bit more subdued. A flatbed lowboy was on the track for friends and family to stand on. They wrote their own vows, reflecting their personal history and love, with some humor. From the ceremony, they went straight to the Ferris wheel and took a ride on it before returning to the track to change and wait for their heat in the demolition derby. Before the start of their heat, Deb attempted to throw her bouquet into the stands. The bouquet came undone and the flowers fell freely to the ground.
The competitive tone set by the groom during the vows did not prepare you for what happened during the competition. The heat proceeded until Deb was up against the barrier and a truck that was leaking gas. Her truck was picked up and relocated and the other truck was removed. While the gas spilled was cleaned up, Deb’s truck wouldn’t start. Jesse left his truck and was on the hood of hers, trying to get it to start. He couldn’t get it going. The announcer said that if he were a good husband he’d give up his truck and give it to his wife. The announcer was asking the man who had won this heat the last three years to walk away.
Deb cheered and so did the crowd. She crawled in and he gave her some instructions. The heat was restarted. As the competition continued and other competitors dropped out, it was down to two. After a number of tense minutes of Deb only being able to go backwards because her front wheels were inoperable, and some hard hits, she won.
They were not the only couple expressing love on the mud. Ted Caldara asked his girlfriend, Martha Gonzales to come out on the course before his heat. He dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. He had the ring and put it on her finger. She said yes.