Monday, June 15, 2009

Mechanicsville, Maryland

Is there a more quintessentially American sport than Demolition Derby? Take some perfectly serviceable old cars and smash them into each other repeatedly for the viewing pleasure of paying spectators.

Any sensible soul might feel unease at such a debased gladiatorial spectacle. It's loud and dangerous, wasteful and stupid. And fun.

There may be some things offering more reckless excitement than a full-on derby, but you'll have to take your clothes off to do them. After the first round, with ears buzzing and clods of mud stuck to my cameras and hair, the only thing I wanted to know was where do I sign up?

The cars, stripped of glass and with doors, hood and trunk welded shut, enter the arena in single file and line up. After a short countdown, it's mayhem. Engines howl, smoke billows, metal crumbles with a sickening thud. Stomp the throttle into the floorboards and keep hitting 'till the tires come off. Then run the sumbitch on the rims. Last man moving wins.

This is a sport for guys who think Fight Club is for pussies.

The night's big winner was Austin Davis, all 5' 3" of him. Driving a white '68 Imperial with nothing short of murderous intent, Austin is barely 16 years old and doesn't even have a driver's license. His mom was absolutely beaming with pride, especially when he t-boned some poor bastard hard enough to knock him over the concrete barrier.

She says he is making good progress toward getting that learner's permit.


Wendy Lee said...

Were you there when Kurt drove in the DD @ the Carlisle Fair?

Paul Souders said...

Missed that one. I didn't know they had one in Carlisle. Now I have a reason to go back home.

Wendy Lee said...

Well, that was, ahem, a number of years ago... liability issues may have put an abrupt end to it...

Laura Seaver said...

I've never seen Demolition Derby, but I'm off to Alberta to see the chuckwagon races. I'm expecting noise, dust, and thundering hooves. Maybe the old-fashioned version of DD? I'll know more in a few days. Have fun!