Crunch time

Drivers compete in the 2018 Lind combine demolition derby in Lind, Wash.

LIND, Wash. — Good news for those people who've always wanted to drive a combine in Lind's annual demolition derby: You've got another year to practice.

"There's really not a lot of practice you can do for crashing combines," said Josh Knodel, a longtime driver and wheat farmer.

Knodel is a board member of the Lind Lions Club, which sponsors on the event. 

The demolition derby had been scheduled for June 12-14, but was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns and the state's order banning  large crowds.

"It's sad that we had to cancel it ... but there's lots of things that have been canceled, too," Knodel said. "You just can't get that many people together and for our town's sake, too — we don't want to bring that many people into town and expose ourselves, either."

Lind has a population of 560. The event draws 4,000 people and grosses $80,000, said derby manager Mike Doyle.

The demolition derby started in 1988, Doyle said. To his knowledge, it has never before been canceled.

Knodel said organizers decided to cancel early enough that they hadn't started putting money down on insurance, food or security.

Knodel and longtime friend Matt Miller take turns driving in the derby, but had not yet started putting their combine together to compete, he said.

Finding drivers for the combines has become difficult in recent years.

"We can find combines usually," Doyle said. "It's just trying to find the younger generation that wants to take time, put one together, bring it to the derby and enter it in." 

The club has four combines for sale ready to compete, he said.

In the meantime, the club is soliciting donations to support its civic projects.

Donations to the Lind Lions Club can be sent via Brown Paper Tickets or via mail at P.O. Box 37, Lind, WA 99341.

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