The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


August 5, 2013

Cipra, Luce head second derby HOF class

JEFFERSON — There’s nobody around who doesn’t like to have fun when fair time arrives every year at this time. Whether it’s the rides, animals, music, or just meeting friends and walking the midways, fun is the main theme.

The major event each year, over the course of the fair, is the demolition derby, action which takes place on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s been a fair staple for years, and last year, Lloyd Morris finally got some recognition, going for the demo derby with the first class in the Ashtabula County Demolition Derby Hall of Fame.

“For the HOF itself,” Morris said, while conducting his business at the Radio Shack on North Chestnut Street in Jefferson, “has been the HOF itself. The response has been great. The story the Star Beacon did last year was fantastic for us.

“Many people had no idea we even started one, but the response has been positive in every way.”

Getting an endeavor like a Hall of Fame moving is no easy task. Getting word out to past participants for information generally takes a lot of word of mouth action in the community. Having a building to house it also is a chore, but not the top priority along the way. That hasn’t happened for Morris yet, but holds a solid place in the back of his mind for the future.

“Getting recognition for old-time drivers has been long overdue for these folks,” Morris said. “We get a lot of phone calls about it, but it takes some donations to be put away to plan for the future. We don’t have anything set up or in the works yet for a place to house the HOF, but personally, I’d love to see something get done right here on the fairgrounds. The demo derby is one of their biggest crowd attractions every year, and a lot of people have put a load of time into it for a long, long time.”

A website has been set up recently. It can be viewed at

“There isn’t much on the site, yet,” Morris said. “It will take a lot of donations of old pictures and memorabilia from drivers and their families to get it up and running, and I’m hoping that as it all grows for us, it won’t take too long for it all to come together.”

This year’s honorees, to be inducted Saturday at 7 before the derby finals for this year, are Bob Cipra of Andover and Dick Luce of Conneaut. Both drove for the better parts of 20 years, and having fun and working with family was the main theme for both of them.

“I’m really glad Lloyd started this Hall of Fame,” Cipra, 56, said. “When I was younger, I was always messing around with cars. I went to see a demo derby one year, and told myself “I can do that, too.” He feels that it should be fun first, but that some people that get into it put so much time and money into winning, they miss out on the pure enjoyment of it all.

“I did it just for fun,” he said. “Oh, I would spend maybe $500 to $1,000 for getting a car ready, but I always liked to drive Chevys. I spent money to buy parts as I needed them, and to have a supply of replacement parts to fall back on if what I needed wasn’t handy. If I thought it might go bad, I replaced it or got backup parts for it. It’s a fairly simple way to do things without spending a fortune on it.”

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