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Pippi Mayfield, Published August 04 2013

Demo-derby truck to raise money for family of Hawley fire victim

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Though Matt Pederson hadn’t ever met Rylie Efterfield, he decided to honor her memory at the Becker County Fair next weekend.

Efterfield died July 28 in a Hawley house fire. She was 15.

“I’ve never had a chance to meet the family, but hopefully they’d do the same thing for us,” Pederson said of neighbors helping neighbors in a time of need.

This is Pederson’s first demolition derby. He said a friend of his talked him into participating and figured he’d give it a try.

“I’ve got race cars. I run dirt track and I’ve always thought it would be fun to go out in a demo derby and smash a truck,” he said.

His plan was to build the truck, park it in Lake Park, where he lives, and let the kids in town sign it “and maybe put their lucky number on it.”

And then the Hawley fire happened.

“I thought, what better way to try and help the family make a little money,” he said.

So, now he will have the derby truck on display in a couple of locations – including the Buffalo River Race Park today – and people can leave a donation for the family, sign the truck and leave a message for Rylie.

“I’ve never met the girl that passed away, but all my friends on Facebook knew her and I threw it out there ... and everybody was all for it,” he said of getting the car set up and donations made to Rylie’s family.

“Donate what you want and then sign your name on the truck. If you want to write something on there, that’s fine.”

He said he’s gotten requests to bring the truck to Hawley and Ulen, he said.

The Becker County Fair demo derby will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.