A Sunday of wreck-reation in Rifle | PostIndependent.com

A Sunday of wreck-reation in Rifle

RIFLE – Backfires, crashing cars, and the cheers of demolition derby fans shook the Garfield County Fairgrounds Sunday.

The demolition derby took place as part of a full weekend of “Mud for Marge” events at the fairgrounds. A Bigfoot appearance and a benefit mud bog competition were held Saturday to raise funds for a Colorado Mountain College scholarship honoring the late Marge Lowderback, who earned her college degree at 80.

The monster truck Bigfoot smashed cars and drove wheelies across the dirt at the outdoor arena. The giant four-wheeler may have cost as much as $250,000, according to event organizers,

On Sunday, Bigfoot was replaced by junkers bought for as little as $5 that were destined to die later in the day.

“You just get a bunch of cars in there and watch them pound the (expletive) out of each other,” said spectator Neil Owens of Meeker. “The last one running wins.”

Drivers paraded their cars in front of the grandstands at the beginning of the event.

The more glamorous cars revved their growling engines and belched smoke out of the modified straight exhaust pipes poking up through the hood. The modest cars rolled in with spray paint touting their sponsor’s name and a flame or two over the front fender.

The windows and everything inside the cars had been removed in an effort to improve drivers’ safety by eliminating broken glass and flammable materials. Most of the cars looked as if they had already been in a fender bender or two.

The five doomed cars formed a circle in the arena, facing out against an oval shaped dirt berm like the minute markers on the face of a clock.The crowd counted down, three-two-one, before the cars spun their tires into the muddy earth and accelerated backward toward the center of the ring.

“They’ve got to go backwards,” said Roger Knickerbocker of Rifle, noting that the drivers tried to protect the engine and radiator by hitting each other with the tail end of their cars.

Fans and drivers alike came for the crashes. The harder the collisions were, the louder the cheers, and the better the derby.

“You get to get out there and tear ’em up pretty good,” said driver Lance Lewis, who made a trip from Nebraska for the derby.

“It’s a rush,” he said.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535


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