Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heart like a wheel...

I have already mentioned that the Utah State Fair has been going on in town, and I have already expressed my disdain for pretty much everything fair related. But I haven't mentioned my dirty little secret. My gas soaked, emissions failing, cut off t-shirt wearing, mulleted, Coors drinking secret. I love the demolition derby.

The obsession started last year. As a joke Ryan asked everyone in our group of friends to go see the derby. He promised me we could go in, drink two cheap beers, ridicule the crowd and leave. Now, I think we all know how much I love the combination of beer AND ridicule, but I was in a snit. I had my pouty face all ready to go the second we entered the arena. I didn't think it would be fun. But it was more than fun, it was uproarious.

There is something just so appealing about watching beat up cars smash into each other. I don't know if it was a bumper car flashback, the fact I drove a junker in high school, or the thrill of the drivers taking their lives so callously into their own hands, but
something just clicked. I oohed and ahhed at every collision. I screamed by lungs out for my chosen car in each heat. And I think I actually cheered when a driver got back into his car to keep driving just moments after jumping out of it on fire. I figured if the announcer wasn't concerned, why should I be, and his only comment was "he done got singed."

For two weeks after the derby I read everything I could about it. I even searched classified ads looking for a jalopy when Ryan and Ben began talking about competing on the circuit. Of course, like all life's passions it got pushed to the back burner by the dog chewing things, housework, friends, family, work, and shopping to replace the things chewed by the dog. But then about a month ago I heard a ringing in my head. It was time for the derby, and my alarm was going off.

I sent out notice to everyone to leave the night of the 16th clear. Unfortunately very few of my friends have the fire in the belly about the derby the way that I do so it looked like it was just going to be me, Ryan and Jason. Even Ben wasn't going to go. He had some 90th birthday party for his great aunt in Pittsburgh. I thought he had his priorities straight, but I guessed wrong.

The smell of the crowd...

Sunday was filled with anticipation. Would there be rolls? Would there be flips? Would there be fire? It was like Christmas Eve in a trailer park. Finally it was time to go and we headed to the fair park, only to find we weren't the only ones anxious for the mayhem to begin. The stands were absolutely packed. There were people sitting on every inch of the stairs, standing along every walkway and hanging on every fence. The cop
s actually had to come in and do crowd control before the matches could go on. Many people gave up and headed for other attractions, but not us. Jason, Ryan and I began cruising the seats like sharks, just waiting for an empty.

Most exit like this...

The derby gods were kind to us that day, giving us four seats on the second row when a mother decided this probably wasn't the safest or quietest place for her three toddlers. It was the best parenting I had seen during my two trips to the fair. I didn't know what we were going to do with the fourth seat when Ben called. He had gotten back from Pittsburgh, was on the way from the airport, and derby bound. My faith in humanity was restored.

For the next two hours cars crashed, fortunes were won and lost and men in acid washed jeans ruled the world. Two cars were upended, three caught on fire and one man left with his arm bloodied just to return in the next round. It was just as good as I remembered, maybe even better. I mean, this time we were close enough to get sprayed with dirt clods. Ben was disappointed that none of the drivers "got singed." but I reminded him that there is always next year. Or next month if we want to go to Ogden. But I think I might have to bedazzle something to fit in with that crowd... Maybe Ben can help.


Tara said...

Oh. My. God.

P.S. Tell Ben it's "DONE got singed"

Ellen said...

I am so jealous. I told Paul all week long that I wanted to go to the derby. But Sunday, for some reason, he invited his sister over for dinner. It was probably for the best though, since I'm not sure how Cash would've handled the carnage. But next year, we're gettin' a sitter!

Amanda said...

We all know that if Tara was here, she would have been there, cheering in anticipation of someone done gettin' singed.

She'd even help you bedazzle.

Emily-Ione said...

I SO would have gone with you.
I like the figure 8 races.... you just know soeone is going to hit someone - but they never do.... they are the tease of car races.

Amanda said...

OK, my best friend just scared the hell out of me!

Harley said...

"I. Heart. Derbys." says my stained trucker shirt I wear to every derby. Even if I become a millionaire, I'm sure happiness is still found in a barely moving 4-door anything with a gas tank on the passenger side.

Best derby commentator remark, "Poor 22 is folded up like a cheap dollar bill."

I love this entry. Try the Heber Derby next time. Nice and rural = kind of trashy. You'll love it.