Pictured is a car donated by 2A's Auto that was auctioned off before the demolition derby on Sunday. Proceeds from the auction benefited the local DARE programs. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Pictured is a car donated by 2A's Auto that was auctioned off before the demolition derby on Sunday. Proceeds from the auction benefited the local DARE programs. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – For the second year, a car was auctioned off to raise money for the City and County DARE programs prior to the demolition derby Sunday evening. At the end of the bidding, the car auctioned off for $1,500 with a bid from Grote Automotive, but Hague Towing donated another $1,000 to the cause, giving a grand total donation of $2,500 to local DARE. City Police Officer Brian Wells drove the auctioned car in the business class.

Crestview's Safety Resource Officer and Sheriff' Office DARE Officer John Gabriel also returned to the derby this year in a car representing DARE. Several businesses and organizations entered the “I Dare You” business class in hopes of winning a monetary prize.

“Last year all the proceeds from the event went to the DARE program,” said Gabriel. “We’re doing it a little different this year where each individual car is representing a certain charity. So every car has an opportunity to win the winnings for that charity.”

The winnings were collected from the entry fees of the cars. Tom Hessel with Lee’s Ace Hardware ended up winning the “I Dare You” class. 

Gabriel volunteered to represent DARE in the derby last year and again this year because he is passionate about the work that DARE does in the community.

“We want to continue pushing the emphasis of trying to get drugs off the street, trying to keep kids away, and continue to have them educate and make good choices in life, not only as children but all the way thought adulthood,” said Gabriel. “I want to thank the Van Wert County Fair for their continued support. I also want to thank 2A’s Auto, Triple T’s Tavern, and all the other sponsors here today.”

2A's Auto donated the auctioned car and the car that Gabriel drove for the evening.

“I want to continue to raise awareness for not only the DARE program, but all the other great charities that are here today,” continued Gabriel. “We want to continue to get the community’s support because without them, then all of these organizations, including DARE, wouldn’t be what we are.”

Prior to this year’s derby, Gabriel recalled his experience last year, which was the first time he had ever driven a derby car.

“It is like getting hit by a bunch of cars; I don’t know how else to explain it,” mused Gabriel. “I was pretty sore for a few days afterward. At the end of the day it’s for a good cause and it’s really fun.”