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Have you ever been to a demolition derby?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 25, 2005

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Photo of Peter Granitz

“Yes, at the Douglas County Fair. It was everything I expected and a little more.”

Photo of Marci Danuser

“I haven’t. The opportunity has never arisen, but then I’ve never really had a huge desire.”

Photo of Linda Tilton

“Never. I’ve never even heard of them being around. Not in Kansas City at least.”

Photo of David Goodwin

“Oh yeah, right here at the Douglas County Fair. I’m pulling for John Davis to win it all this year.”

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Fangorn 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes, but it's probably been 25 years. A lot of rural counties have them during their annual fair when I was younger. I haven't even heard of any recently.

grilled_cheese 12 years, 9 months ago

It only took six posts for this discussion to go political... ha!

You guys make me so pround...

Anyway, yes, I have been to one in KC. I think the audience is more entertaining than the derby, hands down. Mullets, swearing children, short shorts worn by both sexes, weird smells and stains... sigh!!

g_man06 12 years, 9 months ago

heck yeah.... i love the demolition derby. i look forward to it every year. this is going to be the first year that im actually going to be in the derby. i agree with you grilled_cheese on the mullets, swearing children, short shorts worn by both sexes, weird smells and stains.... but what would the derby be with out all of that. i love them. i'll be out there in an 85 station wagon with 06 on the side, and the punisher skull on the roof. git-r-done.

my2cents 12 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I drive on IOWA ST and it seems there is a demolition derby everyday.

chevygal 12 years, 9 months ago

david goodwin...he can tend my bar anytime!!! ; )

acg 12 years, 9 months ago

I drove in a demo derby once. My bro was into that whole thing and once when we went to a derby in Overbrook, after the main event they had what was called the powder puff run and it was for women. So he let me drive his car in it (what was left of it). It was so much fun!! I want to crash into people all the time anyway and this was the first chance I had to do it, legally. It was great for aggression and adrenaline. I was sore as can be the next day though.

jonas 12 years, 9 months ago

Between my three cats and the puppy I'm babysitting for Das Ubermime, it's a demolition derby in my house every day.

BunE 12 years, 9 months ago

You can watch the Republican party be demolished over the next three years as the leadership jockeys for postion. "You sir are not conservative"<> "You sir, do not love 'merica"<>"You sir, are a lover of homosexuals and deny jesus"<>"You sir put the people and not profit are unfit"<>!

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 9 months ago

I love a good derby. My uncle has officiated the last several years and been a darn good one at that. He used to drive so our whole family has derby fever. There is nothing like the smell of engine smoke and radiator steam to get the party started. Do you ever want to sneak up to somebody with a mullet and just snip the back of their hair off? Mullets scare me and most people that wear one are very defensive. My bro in law has one and we call him Joe Dirt and he gets really mad. What is it about derbies that bring out cursing kids, mullets and heavy chicks wearing Britney Spears clothes?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm being dead honest folks...

...what the heck is a demolition derby?????

I've heard of it before, but have no idea what it is. I assumed it was like a rodeo using cars...somebody correct me please.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

I own an in-home daycare its a demolition derby in my house everyday........LOL

Have a great day everyone, kids are finally here and time for my day to start.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm with Peter Granitz, went once, it was everything I expected and a little more -- the more being a solid layer of dust alllllll over and little pieces of mudddd stuck to every exposed area of your body and clothing. It's not that I don't know fun -- I have had fun before -- that was not fun! My husband had donated a car for one of his mechanics to drive, marked with his company's name, they kept telling me how much fun it would be. I think they had fun watching me spit dust and dirt while trying to keep my face clean :) People should not be made fun of for being a bit prissy. I consider the intent of remarks such as "Miss Priss over there" to be less than complimentary. Personally, I think prissiness is genetic and have learned to live with it.

btw, mullets never go out of style at KU.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

Losing a head may draw the crowds though, no?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago should be advised the mullet is the official State hairstyle of Kansas.

Viva the mullet!

g_man06 12 years, 9 months ago

LOL spacystaci8. that would probably be the wrong thing to do. if i had a mullet and someone cut it off i would be devistated. i think mullets are making a comeback.... believe it or not. i can't wait for the derby. i've never been able to smash into someone....legally that is. im ready for the derby, just not for the pain ill be feeling the next day.

grilled_cheese 12 years, 9 months ago


Speaking of "down here", yesterday I saw, for a fact, a large man, wearing cut-off jean shorts, a yellow tanktop, a beer gut, and a mullet, carrying a chihuahua with a bow. Priceless. I live in the Galleria area, and I swear we have some of the priciest/hippest cars (new Mustangs, H2s, M3 convertables, Corvettes, G35s, etc) at my complex, and some of the trashiest people to accompany them. It's quite eerie, and yet, oh so entertaining.

Redneckgal 12 years, 9 months ago

Not only have I been to many I have actually drove in the powder puff one time!

g_man06 12 years, 9 months ago

awesome pic extreme_makeover. women derby drivers.... that's hot!

Carmenilla 12 years, 9 months ago

I love the Demo Derby. We go as a family and eat funnel cakes and drink overpriced watery lemonade. Its a tradition. I think there is nothing more "Midwestern America" than a midway and a Demolition Derby. My kid loves the cheesey rides at the carnival and than we head over to catch the final heats of the derby.

Ceallach, I feel your prissy pain. One year we sat VERY close to the mud pit and I got a dirt clod in the face that left a big bruise and bent my glasses. I learned my lesson that year. Now we stand farther away. But I still love it.

Everyone thinks Lawrence is some stronghold of uptight hippie/yuppie values. If you go to the Derby you realize how wrong that perception is! Oh the humanity!!!

g_man06 12 years, 9 months ago

my biggest fear is pulling out into the arena when they call my name and number, and as i pull in.... my car dies. i would be sooo p.o'd. i would probably still someone elses car.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

Off the question, but need a bit of help. My aid is here giving the kids snack so I have a minute.

I'm looking for someone to dress up like Darth Vader, Luke, Obi, etc for my son's 8th Star Wars Bday party.

Anyone have any clue if there is a company in Lawrence that does this or know of someone who has a costume and wants to make an easy $50.00?

Any input would be helpful. Thanks for your help in advance if you can help.

g_man06 12 years, 9 months ago

lol...i hear ya. im almost done with my car except for the headers. don't know where to get any. well i don't want to spend an arm and a leg. thought about making my own, but.... don't have a tube bender. if you have any tips on station wagons, let me know if you could. thanks.

massst 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes,,east side of town ,any where u drive makes u feel demolation derby..

Liberty 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I have been to a demolition derby before, and sprint car races. It is a good time. But I agree with one of the writers out there that it is a good idea to give them plenty of room to operate and stay clear of flying dirt and debris. It is a fun family event or good for something different to do.

Liberty 12 years, 9 months ago

E_M, I expect that you're right. I guess I have been busy watching the races or the derby instead when I went. But I bet that is pretty fun too. :-) Have fun.

raven 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes I have been to the derby, I don't go every year but I have been several times to the Douglas County Fair here is Lawrence. Planning to go again this year, also I have always wanted to be in the derby but I am not sure how to get a car ready or where to find one. Oh well.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

Mister_Joe: That's kind of harsh for first thing Monday morning, we're not used to being a grouch :) Bad weekend?

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

Italian Princess, There is some guy in town who spent $5K on a 'Vader costume. Very big. Very fancy. He wore it to the DVD release of the Trilogy at Best Buy. I know because I used to work there; I don't camp at sci-fi movie releases, just to clear my name ahead of time.

There are people out there! Just axe around.

Dixie Jones 12 years, 9 months ago

i think anyone who spends so much on a stupid ass costume should be put in a mental ward..

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Green Eyes for the info. I will ask around and check it out. I found the costume to rent at Fun and Games, its finding a tall and large enough man to fill it. Don't know the rental price yet either so I'm waiting for a call back.

Darth Vader isn't short and thin, so finding a person whos willing to act like a Star Wars character for a bit may be tough. I figure some college guy who wants to make a quick $ 50.00 might do it. I would rather spend money on someone for entertainment then rent a moon bounce and possibly have injuries.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 9 months ago

Love demo derby's. I used to build 'em with my brother and drove one a couple of times but it got to be an expensive hobby so we gave it up a few years back. Still love to go and rarely miss one.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

I haven't been to one, so maybe I will catch the one this year at the fairgrounds.

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

I have been to many demolition derbies, but never lucky enough to drive in one. Mr_Joe, to dismiss them as merely cheap thrills for white trash is to miss the point, and the grandeur of it all. Americans love their cars, perhaps more so than people anywhere else. We define ourselves through our vehicular choice, be it a Hummer or a Prius. Automobiles have become a fetish of American culture, and demolition derbies respond to and celebrate that fetishism.

Where the Spanish have bullfights, we have demolition derbies. The drivers are our mechanized matadors, battling not against the beast, but against others like them in a magnificent and noisy ballet of smashing steel, smoke and destruction until a single survivor remains. It is speed, power, ingenuity, cunning, bravery, and luck an apt metaphor for any number of national activities, from politics to business. And it embraces death, something our culture otherwise likes to ignore. Requiem for a Ford.

Derbies also allow Americans to wallow in the splendor of consumerist waste. We appreciate that the older vehicles must be destroyed, a means of trumpeting in the new. Unlike the totemic, stationary bon-fire, in which the past is ceremonially sent asunder, the demolition derby is a moving, breathing, kinetic mess in which only the strong can dare contemplate anything other than the here and now in its presence. It is speed, power, ingenuity, bravery, and luck.

It is America at it finest, and its worst. Dismiss it if you wish, but if you do you are missing something spectacular.

Plus, a corn dog never tastes as good as it does while attending a derby.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

A suit of lights -- rising into the air on a platform made of old tires -- I see it omb -- oh wait, no,,, I was having a flashback from "Cats." Never mind . . . . .

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

OMB: I can imagine the suit becoming more brilliant with each "kill," yet it fades or changes color when taken out of the competition. Lovely. Let's perform it on stage at Carnegie.

Fangorn 12 years, 9 months ago

Hi, BunE. Your delightful story of the Republican Party sounds a lot like Stalin's purges or China's Cultural Revolution, events from two rather non-right-wing nations. I would assert that the Left today is even more intolerant of dissent than the Right. I mean, how many pro-life Democrats have ever been allowed to speak at their quadrenniel convention? And observe the actions of the PC Thought Police on many of today's college campuses. Although I believe movie ticket stubs to Michael Moore's various fantasies have taken the place of Mao's Little Red Book as the badge of the Left's Most Faithful. Oops, I forgot. "Faith" is a code word for "theocracy" to those who are still struggling to MoveOn. Perhaps I should say the Left's Most Ardent?

I won't deny that the Right has elements that are intolerant of dissent. I just think it's demonstrable that right now the intolerance on the Left is deeper and more intense.

wichita_reader 12 years, 9 months ago

Growing up, I had never been to a demo derby until my parents gave our old crown vic station wagon to a friend who entered it in the derby at the Leavenworth County fair. After that old car so faithfully hauled us kids and our friends to countless athletic events, summer camps, and school functions, I felt I had to pay my last respects.

Redneckgal 12 years, 9 months ago

Driving in that powder puff was an experience I will never forget! I loved every minute of it! Once I got my leg to stop shaking long enough to let off the brake! I still go every chance I get!

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

wichita_reader: How did your Crown Vic do? It should have been solid enough to kick a lot of trunk!

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

Fangorn: Did you accidently get out of the car while the derby action was still happening? To suggest that the right is tolerant is funny, funny, funny, and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the word's meaning. As someone who has been called a femi-nazi on more than one occassion, I understand how intolerant the right can be.

And if Michael Moore was soooo wrong, then where exactly are the WMDs Bush sent our troops in to get? If he was soooo wrong, then who was that Arab shiek President Bush was seen holding hands with and publicly kissing a few months back? If Michael Moore is soooo wrong, then why isn't the "Mission Accomplished?"

ps: hope you caught my posts mentioning you on Saturday. xo, b

wichita_reader 12 years, 9 months ago

Ceallach: I vaguely remember it finishing toward the bottom half of the top 10. I know the driver didn't win a trophy. That old car was a boat!

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

My children lamented all the way through high school that the car their father furnished them was so old -- no raggedy, just old, and they were right. We felt they were much safer in an older model, American made car (as if my husband would have purchased anything else:):) They were well protected and the couple of fender benders they had were just that, fender benders, no loss of life or limb. My father also loved the older US cars, until the day he died he would not allow anyone (even family members) to park a non-American made car in his driveway 8-) But that's another story and has nothing to do with a demolition derby.

I mentioned demolition derby in the above paragraph, so that keeps it on topic, right?

BunE 12 years, 9 months ago

Ah fanghorn, my old nemisis. The purges of Stalin? Mao? Come now, you can do better than that. I hate to do this but, I can see bits of Brown on the Shirts of the Right when it comes to arguing against the war, disagreeing with the president, questioning his past service, blaming the liberal media, allowing congress to do their job, etc...

The good news is that I am here to set you straight. The Dems, while a bit silly and goofy at time remain the party open to all. You see, every Dem is pro-life, why would anyone be pro-death? That would shrink the party. The phrase is pro-choice, that is pro-allowing individuals to have power over their own bodies.
It is the right that is pro-death, eager to execute; that revel in the death of Doctors who perform safe, legal medical procedures; that would imply that certain judges that don't vote to keep feeding tubes intact on brain dead women should die; that cut funding for medicare and for the VA hospitals; That would kill more civilians of a certain unnamed country that died in the twin towers... Ohhh, but I digress.

We will disagree, I betcha.

What I have really come to say is that DDs while lovely, pale in comparison to tractor pulls. My uncle is in the stock division down in harvey Co. It is pretty bad-a$$.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

I am a fan of Japanese cars myself. A huge selling point for me is their huge reliability ratings in Consumer reports and elsewhere. I don't know what the Japanese do that the American car makers don't, but I sure wish the American manufacturers would learn how to make better cars. I'd probably buy American if they did.

1derer 12 years, 9 months ago

Is not the choice, in pro-choice, one's right to have power over her own body and #choose# death for her as yet unborn child?

1derer 12 years, 9 months ago

e_m, based on comments made in an earlier post, I was just 1dering.

BunE 12 years, 9 months ago

That's my uncle!!!!

Seriously, I freaking love it. Thanks for the photo.

1derer: I don't believe life begins at conception.

But choice extends to many other issues.

BunE 12 years, 9 months ago

I am sorry if my last statement provokes outrage and a huge moral debate, it slipped. I just really really love tractors

Centrist 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm actually going to answer today's question.


And they are GREAT!!!!!!!

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

Mr_Joe, if you haven't been to a tractor pull, it is one of the finest examples of the power of American inginuity that demonstrates ... okay, just kidding. I think tractor pulls are lame. Demolitian derbies rule!

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 9 months ago

No, I've never been to a demolition derby though I did see one on tv. It was the last Presidential debate where good ole' G.W. whooped up on that priss from Massachussetts!

1derer 12 years, 9 months ago

Posted by BunE on July 25 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sorry if my last statement provokes outrage and a huge moral debate, it slipped. I just really really love tractors

Outrage? :) Huge moral debate? :) That is more than an little dramatic. I asked a question based on a remark you made stating that every democrat is pro-life. Mine was a reasonable response to an unreasonable assertion made by you, BunE. I am sure pro-choice people prefer that name to pro-death, but it is necessary for people to understand what the #choice# in pro-choice really represents.

Whether or not you believe something is not the factor that determines it's validity. It may make you feel better, but it does not establish your statement as truth.

Fangorn 12 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice: Yes, I did see your post Saturday. I hadn't really been offended by your post, but I very much appreciate the spirit in which you stated that giving offense wasn't your intention. I've seen that list of questions before, and especially when sincerely asked they are legitimate questions, the answers to which can lead to a better understanding of what exactly the Messiah means to Christians.

Regarding today's question, I must say I've never seen a more eloquent description of what is essentially a mass, intentional car wreck!

BunE: You are correct that many people don't like the Left to criticize Bush. I say criticize away! Every time Ted Kennedy opens his mouth he demostrates yet again how far out of the mainstream of American culture he is. Bush will survive the complaining of the fringe Left (and the fringe Right, too, for that matter). And the Left will survive those who don't fully appreciate their criticisms. I made it through eight years of being told to sit down and shut up during the Clinton administration. James Carville didn't stop me. Somehow I don't think Karl Rove is going to stop you! ;)

chevygal 12 years, 9 months ago

did i mention david goodwin is seexxxay!

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