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Archive for Friday, August 7, 2009

Clash for clunkers tonight at fair

Sparks to fly as nearly 100 cars compete in annual demolition derby

Richard Neis, who plans to compete in tonight’s demolition derby at the Douglas County Fair, welds a battery housing for his 1995 Crown Victoria derby car, at left. Neis worked Wednesday in his parents’ garage in Eudora. He has participated in the derby for the last nine years.

Richard Neis, who plans to compete in tonight’s demolition derby at the Douglas County Fair, welds a battery housing for his 1995 Crown Victoria derby car, at left. Neis worked Wednesday in his parents’ garage in Eudora. He has participated in the derby for the last nine years.

August 7, 2009

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Demolition Derby gears up at county fair

Drivers prepare for tomorrow night's demolition derby at the Douglas County Fair. The drivers have been spending more time building their cars than they will destroying them in the event. Enlarge video

On the street

Are you a demolition derby fan?

No, but my 4-year-old son is. He wants to be a monster truck driver.

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It isn’t eloquent, polite or even clean. The nearly 100 cars taking center stage at the Douglas County Fair tonight won’t be yielding to one another, using turn signals or looking both ways before proceeding.

This is after all, the demolition derby.

It’s an event designed for gearheads who prefer to build a car and then tear it right back down.

“Basically nothing was left inside the car,” said Jay Armbrister, who is a fifth-year derby driver. “If people tell you that they don’t have friends out there on the track, they’re lying to you. There are people that you work with and people that you run against. But when it gets down to the end, it’s every man for themselves.”

The demolition derby, set for 7 p.m. today, has become the headline event at the Douglas County Fair, particularly for the nearly 100 drivers.

“This is the Super Bowl of derbies around,” said Richard Neis, founder of the “Eat Horse” demolition derby team. “It draws the biggest crowd and most of the time it draws the most cars.”

Long before the starting gun fires, drivers spend weeks preparing their cars.

Jimmy Flowers, a member of team “Eat Horse,” is driving a barely recognizable 1976 Pontiac Catalina.

“I am just strapping it back together,” said Flowers, who has driven on and off for nearly 10 years. “Everything was bent, torn or pulled apart … so we’ve straightened it back out with use of the tractors and skid loaders and put it back together.”

The rules are quite simple. Every car must make an aggressive hit every 60 seconds. If a driver’s car is disabled, the driver must pull off a stick that’s affixed to the driver’s window, and the night is over. While every driver goes into the event to win, each understands the check is cut to just one person.

“There is only one driver that doesn’t have to break their stick,” Armbrister said. “He’s the one going home with all of the money.” Armbrister, who has built about 10 cars in his short career, will be driving a 1963 Ford Galaxy in the compact class.

Comments

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 4 months ago

yeah it is had me laughing once the coffee kicked in and I could focus.

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey LJW are you sure about the time because the tickets and web site say 7:30 so some one has to be wrong.

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion why a fool? Sure people might argue it is a older car fix it up and show it but others say try to find parts to hard and to expensive. Me I say smash em up.

Janet Lowther 5 years, 4 months ago

1963 Ford Galaxy, compact?

If I recall correctly, you could just about get a twin bed all the way into the trunk of one of those beasts.

I expect the Cash for Clunkers program will shrink the size of demolition derby cars a lot, taking a few hundred thousand candidate cars (and their critical parts) off the market.

I can see it now, Volvo 240s and Subaru :Legacies as top demolition derby contenders!

mdrndgtl 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion has a valid point. Clearly this man is unfit to operate a cutting torch. Can we get a follow-up story on the dangers of his actions? It would make for a very interesting, insightful read.

oneflewover 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion, I normally respect your views, you are wrong on this one. Jay did well last night in his 63 Galaxy. Was nothing to restore if that was your thought. Mr. Horse is just posing for a photo.

JayArmbrister 5 years, 4 months ago

And just why am I a fool Marion?

and yes...that was a misprint. A 63 Galaxie is as long as two "compact" cars taped together. -Jay

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