Top of the Morning, July 13, 2014

Top of the Morning, July 13, 2014

Taylor Feldkamp said he'd read today's News-Gazette. Unless he's too sore to pick up the paper after a Saturday night of fender-bending in Fisher.

"I've gotten pretty used to the abuse," he said.

This being Demo Derby season, we turned to one of the area's smash-'em-up regulars for the lowdown. The 25-year-old Urbana High grad manages Feldkamps Towing during the day and mangles whoever's in his path at night. "My life revolves around my passion for derbying," he said.

Next up: Saturday's fan-favorite at the Champaign County Fair, the site of one of his, well, shining moments. The year was 2011 and the details are gross.

"I was driving around hitting people and I felt myself get warm," Feldkamp said. "When I looked down I was covered in blood. I had fileted my arm wide open.

"I didn't stop, though, and continued through the pain to win the heat. The ambulance drivers wrapped me up so I could run the feature."

Which he won and celebrated with 20 stitches at the hospital.

"Needless to say my winnings helped me pay my emergency bill."

What else should we know about every county fair's go-to event?

There's more trash-talking than an Illinois-Indiana basketball game. "Worse than any sport I know," Feldkamp said. "Usually it's not the drivers but the people they associate with. They can be very unsportsmanlike."

Tires and track conditions determine how violent the collisions. "I can get up to 20-25 mph," he said.

This isn't baseball where you get ready for the big game in the batting cage. "You can't go out in your hard and practice," he said. "Go to as many derbies as you can."

Finally, don't dare ask for the playbook. As for tips to preparing a car: "Keep things organized," he said. "The rest is top secret."

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