RAWLINS, Wyo. — While Demolition Derby crashes can be fun to watch, there is a lot more to the event than the average fan might think.
A packed Carbon County Fair Grounds stadium watched as a number of vehicles stalled out during the first round of the Aug. 12 event.
But it was between the first and second round that the real event started.
Waiting in the back parking lot, several family members and team members of each driver stood ready to make the necessary repairs for vehicles to continue.
“Most of the time we are hoping for minimum damage to the car,” Tony Taylor said. “We fill them up with gasoline, change the tires, and make sure the radiators are full.”
Stephene and Tony Taylor found her car to be in pretty good condition fortunately following the first round during which she advanced automatically to the finals. Much of that could be credited to the fact she drove backward in a lot of collisions.
“We tried to save the front end,” Stephene said. “Your motor, radiator, and all the thing like that, you do not want to damage that, so you try to use your rear end if you can see.
Across the parking lot multiple recent Rawlins High School graduates including Tray Young worked diligently for multiple hours repairing a number of vehicles that were badly damaged both at the front and the rear.
“It is always nice to know how a car works or how to fix a car,” Young said. “Our fathers have been (competing in derbies) since we were little so we have been learning since day one.”
After seeing many bumpers drag in the dirt, the mechanics used mallets to hammer the metal near the tires and the back bumper back into place while trying to avoid further damage. Doing so, the group used a backhoe to help in the work.
“You want the trunks to run up in the air instead of going down in the dirt,” Nathan Pacheco said. “So they were helping me fold it up.”
A past RHS student himself, Steven Nicholson, wearing a facemask and gloves, worked at the front of the cars replacing brackets as sparks flew.
“All of the brackets broke on the front bumpers, so we are going through getting the brackets re-welded back on and ready to go during the next heat,” Nicholson said.
Although every car received some work in order to take part in a second or third round, some simply could not be repaired well enough to stay in the running for a title.
“It is like an adrenaline rush,” Young said. “It is just the excitement of putting all your work in to some cars that you want to destroy.”
Information from: Rawlins (Wyo.) Daily Times, http://www.rawlinstimes.com