Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Redneck Fun Part One (a Fair post)

The County Fair came through here recently. We try to go to the Fair every year although I'm not always sure why. It's way friggin' more expensive than it's worth, and the kids do their best to make it as unenjoyable as possible most of the time. But, still, every year, we forget about the pain of the previous year and drag ourselves out to it. We went twice this year: once to look at stuff and once for rides. I do have to say that the first trip, the trip to look at stuff, was quite a lot of fun.

Let me sidestep a moment. I grew up in the 70s. The 70s birthed a lot of weird things: disco, bell bottom jeans (really?), and cars smashing into each other. When I was a kid, we called the car thing "crash 'em up derbies." I never got to go to one. I did, however, own a couple of zip racer cars (one red, one blue) that blew up when they crashed into things. The hood and doors and stuff would fly off, and you could put them on so that they cars looked new or crashed. I loved those cars. Then we moved and the cars disappeared, so I think my mom probably trashed them, but, anyway...

There was a demolition derby at the Fair this year. Maybe there's always one; I have no idea. Somehow, though, the topic of the demolition derby came up between my kids and their grandparents which spilled over to us and my declaration of, "I've never been to one of those." I don't quite understand why these statements of mine generate the kind of "What? You've never..." reactions that they do, but that is what it is I guess. So, much like last year's "I've never been to Disneyland" generated a trip to Disneyland, this year's statement of "I've never been to a demolition derby" generated a family trip to see cars smash each other to pieces.

It was way more fun than I expected. And full of the kind of people I grew up with, which are not the kind of people you really associate with Sonoma County, but there they were. A whole stadium full of people chugging beer and... well, I don't know. It just felt like watching the people in the "beer garden" at Shreveport Captains games when I was in high school (because watching the people in the beer garden was usually more entertaining than watching the games). I have to say, though, that by the end, the big finale of the event, my wife and I were rooting just as loudly as anyone. Because, see, we'd bet each other which car was going to win.

Before I go on, how about some pictures of the event (because, yes, I took my camera (who's surprised?))?
The cars coming out for the first round elimination event.
Round 1 gets started.
Things start to heat up.
And I do mean heat up. That's smoke, not dust.
That's 300 about to plow into the burning 69. (That sounds dirty, doesn't it?)
The shark car lost a tire...
...but kept driving anyway, which is fairly impressive, especially considering that he did pretty well.
But he didn't win. Some of the losers being towed from the field, which is a pretty good indication that you didn't win.

However, there was one guy that, after being declared winner, had his car give out on him, which had to be towed from the field. That was the end of round two, I think. Then, in round three, pretty much any cars that were able to make it back to the field were allowed to compete.

What's amazing to me is how quickly these guys were able to repair their cars and get them back out to compete. They were literally (and I don't mean in that in the sense of the new google definition, either) pounding their cars back into shape with sledgehammers in order to make repairs on the engines and stuff.

Exciting bits:
  • The shark car (42) lost a tire and kept competing.
  • Another car (I don't remember the #, but maybe I will find it when I go through the rest of the pics for the next post) broke the front axle but continued to drive around on it for a while. When it got towed away, though, the whole thing flopped down and dragged on the ground.
  • Cars caught on fire. Occasionally, this meant they had to wave the red flag to start the derby so that fire extinguishers could be brought in. Let me just say: it's hard to get the drivers' attentions during something like that.
  • Which brings me to the guy that got trapped in his burning car and couldn't get out because they were being unable to get the drivers to notice the red flag. Finally, they blared some big horn, the guy jumped out of his car, and they put it out.
  • Sometimes, after they put a car out, the driver would start it back up and get back into it. Crazy!
  • If a bumper fell off of a car, they would stop what was going on long enough to go out and retrieve it, which they didn't do for other parts of the cars. However, bumpers, depending upon how they were run over, could come up through the bottoms of the cars and seriously injure (or KILL) the driver.
Next time I'll tell you all about the finale and show you some more pictures.

Okay, wait. Here's that car being towed off the field in the middle of round two. This was the only car they stopped the derby to tow out, I guess, because it was blocking too much of what was going on. Notice the front, passenger tire dragging the ground.


  1. Very interesting, Andrew. There's always a demolition derby at our Pacific National Exhibition (like a state fair). Hubs and friends had a car they drove in the demo derby here when he was in his early twenties - in British Columbia,Canada.

    People just like to play with old cars. . .

  2. You've never been to a demolition derby?
    Don't worry, I've only been to one. Sort of fun, but not really my thing.

  3. The derby is typically the biggest draw at my local fair. And I had one of those zip smash up cars, too. It never worked quite as well in reality as it did on TV.

  4. I'm disappointed you didn't take pics of the drivers of the cars. Now THEMS some rednecks!!!!!

  5. Chugging bear? Those rednecks are really weird, lol. I don't think I've been to a demolition derby but it's the kind of thing I can go to my grave not really regretting.

  6. Clearly you need to plan such statements carefully in the future...

    "I've never been to a spa all by myself for three days."

  7. Now I want to go to one and oh jeez, I think I wanna drive. By the way, I'm heading into the bathroom now to check my neck but I'm pretty sure it's red. Hmm, once a redneck, always a redneck?

  8. D.G.: Yeah, that's true. Except me. I was never into cars.

    Alex: Well, I have now.

    JeffO: I loved mine. My buddy next door and I would try to aim them to crash into each other, which isn't always as easy as it sounds if you're trying to launch it off the zip.

    JKIR,F!: Oh, my camera's not strong enough for that, or I would have.

    PT: Yeah, you know how those bears are. Actually, I don't want to think about that. I didn't have time to go back and proof this one before I hit publish.

    TAS: Yeah, no kidding. I'm going to have to be on the lookout for a good opportunity to insert another "I've never..."

    David: Oh, man, I do not want to drive in one of those. I can't believe anyone does that. Just watching that guy stuck in the burning car, even if he did get out, made it clear that that's an activity I want to do. I've been in a burning car before.

  9. Oh man my son would LOVE it. Matter of fact, he'd love those zip car racers too. I dont remember those. I grew up in the 70s too but I dont remember them. Ah well ...
    Ugh I hate the fair cuz it's always rainy and muddy and full of carnies with no teeth. lol But it's something every kid should have the joy of experiencing.... :)

  10. Pk: I try to stay away from the people with no teeth, but that's usually because they're trying to chase me down and make me play their rigged games.

    I don't think they made those cars for very long; I don't remember ever seeing them again once I was past the age of 6 or so.

  11. For crying out loud Andrew, I don't want to drive one that's on fire.

  12. Nope, never been to a demolition derby. But my brother and I used to daydream about doing stuff like that when we were kids.

    And I agree with Squid. You gotta make those kinds of statements with a little more forethought. Think big, Andrew! :)

  13. I do not get the fascination with seeing cars smash each other. It's dangerous and loud and dangerous and a waste of materials. Did I mention dangerous?

  14. David: Well, I'm sure the guy in the on fire car didn't want to be driving it, either. I didn't want to be driving my car, either, that time it burst into flames.

    L.G.: Well, hey, Disneyland was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

    Jeanne: On the one hand, I agree with you. But, on the other, it was fun. And it's mostly not dangerous to the audience. Mostly. And it's a waste of less materials than you might think since they use old junked cars, anyway.

  15. OMG, I am so not into cars. I think I would be laughing the entire time. I just can't image having a car I love enough to compete in just to smash it up. Glad you had fun.

  16. That looks really exciting. I think it's nuts to get back into a car that was burning seconds ago.


  17. Great post and reminder that I missed our county fair this year but I was told that the fried lemonade was great this year! Definitely agree with the derby. They are exciting to watch as much as the rodeo!

  18. I was at a fair where the noise from the derby cars crashing could be heard all the way across the fairground. Awesome stuff!

  19. A friend dragged me to one of these about 10 years ago, and it was the most white trash event I've ever been to. A head full of teeth among 100 people, cheers and hoots aplenty for every crash, and Keystone Light was flowing like water.

    And you know what? It was a blast. I can admit it.

  20. Hey Andrew! I have never been to a demolition derby, or Disneyland! I've been to our PNE, which was mentioned by DG Hudson, but I haven't even been there for years...we have a fair here in Chilliwack but I usually don't go to that either. Maybe there's a derby there, I have no way of knowing.
    I know what you mean by the looks you get from people...."You don't go to the PNE???!! You've got to be kidding!!" What the hell's the big deal about a crowded, over priced, hot, sticky and gruesome event? Why are so many people lulled into a false sense of fun? Maybe they really do like it, if so...hey, knock yourselves out...go to the fair all day every day...yay.
    I was a teen in the '70s and I loved bell bottoms! Disco too...teenagers always love the stupid styles of the day though. At least our bell bottoms were pulled up! We didn't have the crotches of our pants sagging down by our knees. I don't know what stupid style the teens in your area are in to, but around here they wear their damn pants actually pulled down! The waistband is sitting right below their butt cheeks...it's crazy. The ones who are unfortunate enough to not have belts have to keep their hands in their pockets, or their pants would fall down to their feet....I'd rather see that then go to Disneyland.
    Anyways, great post, glad you and your wife enjoyed the derby.

  21. Rhonda: I'm not really into cars, either. And, yeah, I can't really imagine it, either, but I suppose after you lose a few you get used to it?

    Misha: No kidding!

    G_G: Fried lemonade? I still haven't had a fried twinkie.
    Man, I haven't been to a rodeo in ages. I used to go all the time when I was a kid. I even have an uncle that was a rodeo clown for a while. Until he hurt his back. Well, not him, the bull hurt it.

    Maurice: Way more awesome than I anticipated.

    ABftS: It was a blast. Except for the people who wouldn't quit wandering around. Refilling their beers, I suppose.

    Eve: I don't get the pants under the butt thing. Except, well, it makes guys walk like cowboys trying to keep their pants up, which is kind of funny. But, man, it's so gross when they're not wearing shirts that go down far enough. And, one time, at a restaurant, a server was like that, and we could see his skid marks on his underwear. Not what you want to see from the guy bringing your food to the table.

  22. Never been to one either, and despite your description and pictures, not sure I want to go thanks. Now Disneyland.....

  23. Jo: Well, considering it's only a few hours, I'd say they're probably worth going to once.

  24. When I was a kid I has this vision of NASCAR type speeds and cars flipping 60 feet into the air and all sorts of mayhem. The reality of the demolition Derbys were a huge disappointment to me. I've never recovered.

  25. Rusty: I probably expected the same kinds of things when I was a kid; I guess it's a good thing I waited till now.

  26. Sounds totally redneck and totally like a grand time!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  27. Tina: I think all I was missing was a fried twinkie.