Archive for Saturday, August 5, 2006

Derby a smashing good time

August 5, 2006


Gary Christian, of Lawrence, had an unusual plan for driving a car that was painted bright pink.

"Yeah, hit as hard as I can with the front end of the car. That's how it works," said the 15-year veteran of the Demolition Derby at the Douglas County Fair.

Hundreds of fans watched from the bleachers at the Rodeo Arena of the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds on Friday evening. They cheered for the destruction, especially when one car would fly across the arena and pound into another of the old cars designed just for such action.

"Oh yeah, that's part of it right there," Christian said. "People pay to watch stuff get hit, and that's what we're here to do."

About 48 drivers competed in different heats and classes for prizes. To win a heat, drivers must make their car outlast the others and keep a wooden stick attached to the front of their vehicle from getting smashed.

The cars are designed specially with only a driver's seat, and a shield protects the driver from the special gas tank in the back.

"I built a safe car, and now I go out and have some fun," Christian said.

Steve Johnson, of Lawrence, returned to the derby after a 12-year absence. He ran in the first heat and finished in fourth place, so he was waiting for the consolation heat later on.

"I hit a couple people hard. It's fun," he said.

But Johnson said his engine kept dying, so he wanted to fix it before his next turn in the arena.

The fans couldn't resist a good crash.

Baillie Beebe, 9, of Eudora, sat on the shoulders of her father, Daniel, and watched as the engines roared and dirt flew inside the arena.

"I've outgrown it, but she's never seen one," Daniel Beebe said.

"What do you think?" asked Baillie's mother, Bambi. "Pretty cool, huh?"

With wide eyes, Baillie nodded her head.


juscin3 11 years, 8 months ago

This derby was "ok". They oversold tickets and ALOT of people had to stand. Why don't they build a bigger arena for this??? They know that ALOT of people will show up for this, over sell and then put a sign up by the ticket booth "just because you have a ticket, doesn't guarantee you a seat". Yeah, I know you need to get there early, but still!

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 8 months ago

nothing about the compacts come on that was the best heat and the most controversial.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 8 months ago

"This derby was "ok". They oversold tickets and ALOT of people had to stand."

I've been to many of these in DG Co., and was surprised to see how badly oversold it was! It was really too crowded. We even left early.

SpeedRacer 11 years, 8 months ago

I don't really think it was oversold. There was alot of empty space in the area where we were sitting. In most reserve seat arenas, the seat would have been about 14 inches wide...there were people who clearly were using three times that amount. I think alot of the people standing were those who straggled in after they stopped taking tickets at the gate. The derby was alot of fun, especially for the kids. But we also enjoyed the parade of characters. Did anyone happen to catch the woman who was wearing the tube top -with a bra- and her friends?

We went through the animal exhibits and stuffed ourselves with funnel cake and barbeque before the derby and we hung around a little after for the kids to ride a couple of the way overpriced carnival rides. Earlier in the week, we went to the bake sale for all of the entries made by the kids and got some great cake.

All in all, I think the Douglas County fair is one of the best organized and spread out of the many local fairs I have been to.

On another topic, why is it that there is tons of traffic control (I didn't know we had so many deputies) entering a big event, but none for leaving it?!

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 8 months ago

larry something I think no idea why ljw left that out but hey it is the ljw so I guess they thought if it was not one of the regulars why bother.

juscin3 11 years, 8 months ago

Speed, were you talkin about the pregnant woman that had the dread locks, sports bra and a skirt with her belly hanging out???? If so...OMGOSH!!! Ok, I understand that she was preggo, but come on, have the common sense and self respect and wear something that was not so revealing. She looked so miserable being preggo and in the heat, but still...that was disgusting. Even some preggo women that I was standing by said that was bad. When we got there the derby had just started and they were still taking tickets. We tried to get a place to sit, but what do ya know, people had the seats reserved. So we had to wait till intermission to find a seat. We notice that there was alot of deputies there too. My daughter was asking how come a group of 20-30 cops were all in a bunch standing around talking.

stacy 11 years, 8 months ago

last year i had to seat on the ground cause i got there at 7:30pm right after work. and this year i left the house at 6pm and walked up and got in at 6:30pm to the derby and there was no seats when we usly set so me and my brother went to the other side and had to go though the sheep place to get in. and then when it was over it was hard to find a way out. cause the locked the gates on use where the animals was. the sun was in our faces during half the night and the show was not that good has it use to be. my cousin and her friend was there and they got sets. but after half of the show the big group in front of us left and no one took there sets and they was standing up. i got a few pics from the show.

conservative 11 years, 8 months ago

We were there and sat for the entire derby, There were seats available behind us and to the side. Many of the people standing could have chosen to sit in the stands. The kids had a great time. :D

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