A new kind of horsepower
Demolition Derby takes over the Carbon County Fairgrounds
By Thorn Compton
RAWLINS — After a week of animals showcasing their abilities in the arena, it was time for horsepower of a different kind to dazzle fans at the Carbon County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
The Demolition Derby closed out a week of fair activities, with the grandstands full of screaming fans delighted by the crunch of metal as cars attempted to take out their opponents.
In her second derby ever, Julie Trimble won the first match of the day for mini cars, driving her “General Wee”, a smaller take on the classic General Lee car from the “Dukes of Hazzard.”
“It was fun, I took a lot of hard hits,” Trimble said with a large smile after her victory. “I never thought I would win.”
Trimble had first competed three years ago and didn’t manage to finish in the top three. She almost wasn’t able to finish this derby as well, but her persistence eventually worked in her favor.
“It was stuttering, trying to fire, trying to fire, then I gave it a second and it started right up,” Trimble said of her car’s miraculous recovery. “I might have flooded the engine a bit.”
In an event where the goal is to damage your opponent’s cars as much as possible, a little engine flooding can’t hold you back too much, Trimble said.
David Wolfe III was one of two winners of the first heat for full-sized cars and finished in the top three during the finals. Brad France of the France Brothers garage took first place for the full-sized cars.
When asked about how he approaches the derby, Wolfe said he just goes out and drives.
“I’ve never really had a strategy,” Wolfe said after his first heat. “A lot of people say ‘drive smart, drive hard, and choose your hits.’ I just stand on the throttle as much as I can.”
Wolfe is a much more experienced driver. He has participated in this derby since 2006 and travels all over the country driving in derbies.
He said many of the people driving on Saturday are friends of his who he competes with a lot.
“This is my tenth year here in Rawlins,” Wolfe said. “I derby in Colorado, Nebraska, Utah; we derby all over the place. Every one of us out here are friends, you just have to take the friend hat off and put the helmet on when you get into the arena.”
An inevitable part of participating in any derby is taking a hit to your car. Trimble said all the preparation and safety they put into their derby cars helps, but nothing can really prepare you for the big hit.
“Its easier to give a hit than take one,” Trimble said. “When your not prepared to get hit and it gets you it throws you all over, even with the seatbelt on. You can’t ever be prepared enough for a hit.”
Even though it’s dangerous and stressful, that’s part of the appeal for people who drive in derbies. Trimble put it best when she said she would “definitely be back next year, probably in a bigger car.”