Down and dirty at the Tioga County Demo Derby

By Matt Porter

July 13, 2013 Updated Jul 14, 2013 at 12:44 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Their engines are loud, their cars are banged up, but they're fearless when they pull up into the muddy arena staring other drivers in the face.

Drivers in demolition derbies are either crazy or courageous depending on who you talk to.

Guy Raymond, Jr., has been getting into the pit for 15 years.

"There's no feeling like it," Raymond said. "I just can't explain it unless you get in it yourself."

Raymond said he can spend months getting a car into shape.

"Big tires is another thing you know. When you run in the demo," he said, "You need clearance, and you need tires."

Derby drivers say they prefer older style cars versus newer models

"Some of the newer cars are just pop metal," Raymond said, "They don't hold up as the old steel ones."

But the big surprise Friday at the Tioga County Fair's demo derby came during the youth match.

Tabitha Reylea, a spunky 12-year-old girl, beat up two older boys to take home her first derby win.

Reylea said her instinct to crush is in the family.

"My dad was derbying," Reylea said, "And I decided last year I wanted to derby because of my dad."

Tioga's demo derby was Reylea's fourth in her young career.

The hard-nosed hitter said she cares about her fellow drivers.

"Just hopefully I didn't hit him hard enough I didn't hurt him," she said.

But she did hit them hard enough to win.