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Mother makes lasting tribute in son’s memory

By Staff | Aug 12, 2015

PHOTO BY RUTH FRY/The Luminary Left to right: Jacob Yetter, JoAnn Hedricks, Bob Barrows and Justin Clarkson at the Lycoming Fair on Thursday, July 23 after Barrows won the "Championship Heat" and the coveted "Tommy Hedricks Memorial Championship Trophy."

HUGHESVILLE – “It was fun that night!” These were the exact words from Bob Barrows from Montgomery who took the grand prize for the annual demolition derby at the Lycoming County Fair this year. It was a two night event with a grand finale held Thursday, July 23rd.

This has always been a very popular event according to JoAnn Hedricks from Hughesville who has been sponsoring a special award for the demo for the past 13 years.

Known as the “Tommy Hedricks Memorial Championship Trophy”, it has become a very prestigious award for the demolition derby. Named in honor of her son, Tommy, Hedricks has sponsored the derby because she lost him in a terrible auto accident, and this trophy holds significant value to those who knew him.

Hedricks chose the award because “this is what Tommy liked to do,” she said. Barrows, who knew Tommy, said all he wanted to do was win that “Love Cup” in his friend’s name.

“This is a bittersweet time for me,” said JoAnn. “My son participated in the Demo Derby every year at the fair.” She recalled that he had a car ready to go before the accident in June of 2002. So the first trophy was handed out on July, 2002 at the Lycoming County Fair. From that point on, Hedricks has been there every year to help hand out the coveted memorial trophy with her grandson, Jacob Yetter.

PHOTO BY RUTH FRY/The Luminary Embellished like a Ninja Turtle, this was the winning car of this year's Demolition Derby at the Lycoming Fair and won by Bob Barrows from Hughesville.

This year another close friend of Tommy’s from high school, Justin Clarkson, joined in the event.

“We hope to continue with the Memorial Love Cup,” said JoAnn, “and I was grateful that a friend of my son’s won.” She also noted that other friends of Tommy’s have won in the past.

“They work very hard on their cars,” she replied acknowledging that the derby is not a “cheap event.” Participants have to spend quite a bit of money and time to enter their cars. “And there are certain restrictions to follow,” she said. JoAnn also mentioned that the entrants have to pay someone each time to haul their cars onto the track. Usually a minimum of $300 is spent to buy a car, then additional money is usually put into it to enhance the car’s performance.

Derby participants do a lot of work to get there, and the winner usually wins two trophies. The other trophy is sponsored by JM Productions in New York and is referred to as the “Championship Heat” award.

Regarding this long running event, JoAnn said, “This is always the biggest attraction every year to the fair, and Tommy’s Cup makes it more desirable.”