Demolition Derby revs up Friday | VailDaily.com

Demolition Derby revs up Friday

Derek Franz
Eagle correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

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EAGLE, Colorado – “Destructomundo! Friday, Friday, Friday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds – be there, be there, be there! To miss it you’d better be dead or in jail and if you’re in jail, break out!”

That’s how “The Simpsons” TV series might tease Friday’s demolition derby, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Eagle fairgrounds.

Admission for adults is $15. Tickets for kids ages 6 to 12 cost $11 and those 5 and under get in free.

Derby drivers will also be allowed to enter for $100 per car right up to the start of the event. Any drivers wanting to enter a car should first go to http://www.buckarooproductions.com, where they will find an entry form and list of rules and requirements. They can also contact Sherry Cusson at 328-6069.

It will be the first demo-derby for the area, said Cusson, an organizer. Originally from Minnesota, Cusson has competed in several demolition derbies and has friends who recently organized a derby in Kremmling.

“I thought, if Kremmling can put on a demolition derby, so can Eagle,” Cusson said.

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Cusson estimates the event will end around 10 p.m., if not sooner, with each heat lasting about 15 minutes. The audience will also vote on the best theme car.

“I’m an old farm girl, so I like to make people laugh and give the community something to watch,” Cusson said.

The general rule is that the last car still driving wins a demolition derby. (Some derbies are scored by number of “offensive hits” for television time-frame purposes.) Mobility is the key. If a vehicle can’t move it’s out of the derby, even if the engine is still going.

“You go out there and try to smash everybody’s radiator up so you’re the last one running,” Cusson said, who will be doing her best to accomplish that Friday.

Old cars are modified for safety and compete in different classes defined by size and other characteristics. Non-essentials are stripped from the cars – glass is removed and parts such as batteries are often relocated to the passenger-side floor boards.

A common strategy is to make offensive hits with the rear of the vehicle as much as possible to protect the motor.

When it’s all done, the wrecked autos either get towed to a scrap yard or returned to their owners to be fixed up for another competition.

Cusson’s first derby-driving experience was in the early 1980s. She used her first car, which she drove in high school, a ’68 Chevy Impala.

“I took third,” she said. “My engine was still running, but my tie rod was broken so I couldn’t move.”

Many of the cars these days are compacts, which changes the nature of a demolition derby a little.

“They’re lighter and cheaper,” Cusson said. “But those compact cars sure can go.”