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Christman wins Las Vegas derby championship

Jeff Christman of Pollock won the Saturday championship at the inaugural Casino Battle Royale Demolition Derby at Core Arena outside the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
“It was a long week,” said Christman, adding that he is busy getting back to his daily schedule, and “trying to get my neck back in one piece.”
The derby had two days of competition, each day pitting 44 cars. Christman took first place in his preliminary heat before moving on to the title heat.
“It was unreal,” said Christman. “It was crazy. I got lucky and won it.”
Competing in the event was not about the money, but Christman did win $3,000 along with prizes such as entry into next year’s derby and free hotel accommodations.
For Christman, it wasn’t about the winning, but about the experience.
“It was the best experience,” said Christman. “Bigger than the win and bigger than the derby was how nice all the people were.”
Christman said the derby was run top-notch from top to bottom.
“They put on a quality, fair show,” said Christman. “There was no drama.”
He could not have done this without the help of his pit crew, Jesse Gunther, DeWayne Gunther and Jason Desormeaux of Mobridge and Bryan Moser of Pollock. Also lending a helping hand were former Mobridge resident Pat Bezenek of Arizona, and Austin Gustafson of Mobridge, who both made the trip to Las Vegas and volunteered while there. The Mobridge crew took Christman’s car to Las Vegas allowing him to fly down and avoid the stress of the long trip on the nation’s highways. They were also the ones who waited five hours in line for their turn to get the car inspected.
“My hat’s off to them,” said Christman.
One thing Christman wasn’t ready for was the support he received from fans. Bezenek and Gustafson were not the only ones in attendance.
“Aw geez,” said Christman. “There were people there that came from all over. The support was awesome. I wasn’t expecting that.”
The derby had two winners. The Friday champion was Dukey Skroch of Cogswell, N.D. A driver who has performed successfully at the Mobridge Demolition Derby in the past.
Christman, a 1990 Mobridge High School grad, said that after the derby, while the pit crew, fans (Jeff’s wife Marlene among them) were celebrating and getting all jacked up, one of the promoters came up to him and said that Jeff didn’t look all that excited.
A tired Christman told the promoter that he was, but it hadn’t set in yet.
The promoter then told Christman to remember that no matter how many more of the Las Vegas derbies there are, he and Skroch will always be the first champions ever.
“That’s huge,” said Christman.