Great American Pastimes: The Lust of Four-Wheeled Abomination

It doesn’t matter if you spend your week cleaning out septic tanks with your bare hands, managing hedge funds, changing diapers or telemarketing in some far away country.  Everyone who was ever born loves Demolition Derby and Enduro Derby races.  I hear the doubters out there making claims that such things are reserved for the uneducated and the destitute.  These people need to leave their ivory towers and recognize that there are cars gloriously smashing into each other down here on the ground.

If aliens landed on earth and said, “Take us somewhere fun,” I would get them a couple of beers, cram them into a minivan, take them to the nearest county fair and sit them down in front of the most American thing I can imagine.  I assure you that, if they didn’t decide to destroy or enslave humanity, they would be singing along to John Fogerty and cheering on their favorite car (probably a Mercury or Saturn).

It all begins with the national anthem played over the vintage horn loudspeakers followed by the unintelligible words of the announcer and the rumble of ten gutted automobiles.  Everybody starts smoking cigarettes.  All the cars are painted.  Some even have themes.  The Halloween car, the rainbow car, the stars and stripes car, the my-child-painted-this car.  The referees take their places and stand on the mud track’s crash barriers in their blindingly white pants.  With all of the art and pure majesty, you almost forget that you’re waiting for a race to begin.  But, when it does, everything else fades away.  The fact that you have a collection of monocles that is so vast that you can actually sort them by what precious metal they are crafted from is irrelevant.  All of the things that seem hand crafted to make your days awful or boring immediately stop mattering.  You are on your feet with your friends and yelling hard enough for spit to fly out of your mouth at men in cars that couldn’t possibly hear you.  A three-hundred pound eight year old begins shrieking with joy as a girl with a large scar on her face tries to climb the fence and show her breasts to the drivers.  All the while a college professor is running around in front of the bleachers pouring out beer after beer onto his own face in the hopes that some of it would find a way to his stomach.  Of course, this is all seasoning for the main course of the steel ballet of automotive rage.

When it’s all over only one champion can stand to claim the prize.  In the last event I was fortunate enough to see, it was as if that man had channeled all of the hatred that he had for his job, his wife and his children through that machine and was focusing it on the other drivers like a laser-beam.  It was easily the best overall strategy for winning that I had ever encountered.  While I couldn’t quite make out any of the words he said into the microphone or read his lips through his mustache, I feel like I got the message:

“No matter who you are or what you do, the next time there is a county fair near your home, I urge you to grab some friends and lay witness to the greatness we vehicular gladiators can offer you.  I swear before my god that you will always be entertained!”

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18 Responses to Great American Pastimes: The Lust of Four-Wheeled Abomination

  1. “steel ballet” American Romanticism at it best. Kinda like the big train wreck up in DC orchestrated by 535 + 1.

  2. Matt Ferrett says:

    Thank you for articulating the raw joy and primal majesty of the demo derby. I love this sort of thing so dearly, but it calls to such an ancient part of my brain that it’s hard to put into words. Zack Attack forever.

  3. prenin says:

    I used to love the demolition derby’s my dad took me to when I was little, before he turned bad, and even had a Playstation Game based on Demolition Derby which was great fun to play!

    If they EVER redo the thing I’m going to buy it!!!

    All I have at the moment is ‘Motor Storm – Pacific Rift’ which is enormous fun, but not a Patch on ‘Destruction Derby’ one and two!!! :)

    God Bless!


  4. Hahahaha!!! “Zack Attack”! Love it…

  5. westwood says:

    I guess I’m not anyone who has ever lived. I sooooo don’t get the appeal.

    • Posky says:

      It’s about the sound of the crash, the stink of the crowd the pointless competition! I didn’t believe it myself but, when I actually sat down and saw it with my own eyes, I was changed forever.

  6. nrhatch says:

    I’ll pass on the pleasure of this great American pastime . . . but thanks for asking. :cool:

  7. TikkTok says:

    You mean there are people who DON’T do derby? One simply has not lived if not! :lol:

  8. My stepdaughter, her husband and two boys are all in one derby this fall, and we will be there with bells on! The oldest grandson has been every derby witin driving distance this summer. However, we are Canadian, not American.

  9. I had to email this to my husband. We live in Canada, so instead of going to the county fair to enjoy the grotesquerie and pour beer on ourselves, we pay $1200 for nosebleed seats at hockey games. It’s totally worth it.

  10. The Hobbler says:

    I have a 6 wheeler (wheelchair with 4 main and 2 stabilizing wheels) and I still haven’t found any takers for a wheelchair demolition derby. I have had some takers for races though, but I think most of our chairs are governed about 5mph. Oh well, at least we can watch right?

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