By Roberta Olson, Correspondent
There is a lot of pre-bending, welding, and demolishing going on in the Bueckers’ shop these days. And it’s all for a good cause.
Brothers Corey, Kyle, Eric and sister, Tiffany, are getting their entries ready for the Stearns County Fair Demolition Derby, July 27-28-29.
As they gather in the shop, between cars in various stages of readiness, the siblings tease each other about their past entries and expected challenges this year.
Each of the Bueckers began entering the demo derby when they reached driving age. Dad and Mom, Ervin Bueckers Jr. and Ginny Sauer, signed on the dotted line to give their permission.
Corey, the eldest, began his demo career at 17. He’s been at it 13 years. Kyle followed four years later, then Eric, who has five years in. Tiffany is the newcomer, starting in 2016 with her black Chevron with the driver’s door painted pink.
That pink door lasted just one event. “I painted it blue for the next derby,” she said. “I didn’t want to be a target anymore!”
Corey’s demo cars have a short life expectancy. “Each car lasts for the most part, one year — unless there is something left of it,” he laughed. “Depends on what you can do to it. If you get hung up you can take it to a different derby.”
He counts running about 20 different cars over the years.
Corey will enter two events this year at the Stearns County Fair, the new Firemen’s Class and chain trucks.
Kyle runs a 1988 Chevy Lumina in the light modifieds class. He has run in the derby for eight years.
Eric, who also helps Tiffany, has run the same vehicle for two years in eight demo events in different towns, which is a feat in itself. He has a more relaxed attitude about getting the car ready, his brothers tease.
“Eric usually starts the last day,” Corey joked.
Preparing the car takes some work. “You have to take all the interior out, the seats, basically take as many electronics as you can off the motor, or switch the motor to a different car,” Corey said.
“You have to take all the loose stuff on the outside of the car off,” Eric said.
Then comes pre-bending. “You take a sledge hammer and bend the back so it goes up,” Corey said, pointing at a nearby almost ready demo candidate.
The gas tank and the battery are relocated inside the roll cage. The cage is so “if you get hit in the wrong spot, you won’t get hurt,” Kyle said. “The halo protects you so the roof can’t crush on you.”
Digger tires, which are mud tires, or skid loader tires are also needed, Eric said.
The Bueckers have ample access to car parts, which they admittedly sometimes glean off any of the vehicles located at Bueckers recycling between Freeport and Melrose. But NAPA is also a good source, along with their individual sponsors.
The four derby competitors are usually in different classes, but their ambition is to have a Bueckers-only event at the Demo Derby. “Nobody but us,” they said.
Last year they brought home some trophies and some cash. Corey took first in Pure Stock. Kyle took third in Light Might. Eric took two second places in compacts along with two Mad Dog trophies, the hardest hitting of the classes.
As a second fantasy, they admit to considering taking all their cars to the Bueckers property, and having their own mini-derby.
Money won in the derbies is put back into the cars. Except one year, Corey donated the $700 proceeds to breast cancer research.
Corey, a 2005 graduate of Melrose High School, is the owner of Bueckers Septic Service. He is married to Cheryl Doll-Bueckers.
Kyle graduated from Sauk Centre High School in 2009. He is married to Kayla, and is a truck driver.
Eric is a 2013 Sauk Centre grad, and is a welder for Louis Industries.
Tiffany is a 2017 Sauk Centre grad, and milks cows for Meyer’s Dairy in Sauk Centre.
Why do they do demo derbies? “It’s mainly to have a good time, and put on a good show,” said Eric. Corey added, “To make people happy that they came.”