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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Demo derby raises $7,000 for Kaiden Schroeder

  • On the track, the competition is as fierce as it can be.
    Every man participating in the McPherson County Fair demolition derby wants the prize money and bragging rights for the next year. Friendships are put on hold. Drivers crash together with enough force to total the cars they spend countless hours preparing for the race.
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  • CANTON — On the track, the competition is as fierce as it can be.
    Every man participating in the McPherson County Fair demolition derby wants the prize money and bragging rights for the next year. Friendships are put on hold. Drivers crash together with enough force to total the cars they spend countless hours preparing for the race.
    Off the track, however, the drivers and pit crews who make up the demolition derby field consider themselves to be a family of sorts. For this reason, a number of the competitors came together in support of one of their own for the 31st McPherson County Fair demolition derby Sunday at Tom Miller Arena.
    Jason Hamm, of Hillsboro, decided to organize his fellow drivers to help raise funds for the family of Kaiden Schroeder, the 8-year-old McPherson boy who is battling cancer. Hamm decided to help out a fellow driver after hearing about Kaiden’s fight this past winter.
    “I’ve known Chris [Schroeder] for quite a few years,” Hamm said. “I saw that his son was going to have bone marrow transplant from his sister again, and I though the best way I could help was to get a bunch of guys together and build a raffle car and donate the money to the Schroeder family.”
    In addition to the drivers, a number of businesses came together to help sponsor the car. Those interested could purchase a ticket that would give them the opportunity to drive the purple derby car in the final heat Sunday night. If the winner of the raffle didn’t want to drive in the derby, he or she could nominate a driver instead.
    The raffle winner, Jennifer Conner, wasted no time in nominating a proxy in Chris Schroeder.
    “When I heard I was running in it, the emotions hit,” Schroeder, who had been a long-time driver in the demolition derby prior to his son’s illness, said. “I was ready to go.”
    In addition to the raffle, T-shirts from Khaos Apparel were available for purchase. All told, the fundraiser raised about $7,000, with more donations still filtering in as of Monday afternoon, Andrea Potter, demolition derby co-chairwoman, said.
    “This means more to [the Schroeder family] than I can even express in words,” Potter said. “I am blessed to be a part of this.”
    Schroeder finished fifth in the feature heat, with Kent Boesker of Canton taking first. Scott Schultz of Lehigh took second, followed by Andrew Vanderwig, Newton, and Jake Koehn, Canton.
    For Schroeder, the opportunity to compete and the outpouring of support from the McPherson County community Sunday meant a lot.
    “Everybody in the stands, out here in the pit, every body,” Schroeder said. “Words just can’t explain it.”
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