Son of the 'king' back for tonight's demolition derby at fair

August 10, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

FALLING WATERS, W.VA. - Alex "Alpo" Garvin enters tonight's demolition derby at the 60th Berkeley County Youth Fair with no shortage of destruction-minded tactics in mind.

"When I go out there, I'm ready to bust 'em up," the 38-year-old Falling Waters man said Wednesday. "I'm thinkin' of my dad, the money and havin' fun."

The Hagerstown native said his father, the late Frank D. Garvin, was known on the area derby circuit known as "The Demolition King." Garvin has kept his father's trophies from events dating to the early 1970s and has more than a few of his own.

Garvin's father died at age 60 in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Berkeley County in 1996, having raced and competed in area competitions for 25 years, Garvin said.


"They knew he was tough to beat," Garvin said of his father's reputation.

The youngest of five sons, Garvin said he remembers racing small, one-quarter midget class cars before his teenage years and now is the only sibling who remains a "racing rat."

Tonight, Garvin said he really doesn't want to hurt anybody with his souped-up 1968 Chrysler custom station wagon with a 318 engine. He only wants to hurt their cars.

And when push comes to shove, any prize money won won't offset his investment in the station wagon in the last couple weeks.

"Money is no object. I've done spent $800 on this car," said Garvin, who works for a Frederick, Md., paving company.

Garvin's strategy to win the demolition derby tonight included "shaving" the bumpers to flatten competitors' tires and relocation of the car's battery to the floor of the front passenger seat. The gas "cell" was moved to floor of the back seat, which had to be removed, he said.

All of the vehicle's glass also must be removed, including the windshield and Garvin said he has to climb in the car because the doors are chained.

"Some places allow welding, some don't," Garvin said.

For show, Garvin said he painted the car white and affixed a number of stickers, including one that states he'd rather be racing and another indicating his love for Jesus.

A silver bulldog ornament taken from a Mack truck owned by his stepfather is mounted on the front of the car's roof.

Garvin said his dad's number was 76, but he said he chose 8 to be painted on each side instead because one of his father's rivals used the number.

After the Berkeley County Youth Fair, Garvin said he plans to retool the car for derbies in Frederick and Montgomery counties and in Hagerstown in the coming weeks.

"Then I'm putting it away for next year because ain't nobody going to beat this car," Garvin said.

If you go

What: Berkeley County Youth Fair Demolition Derby

When: Today, 8 p.m.

Where: Berkeley County Fairgrounds, off Golf Course Road, east of Martinsburg, W.Va.

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