CRUSHED LIKE A BEER CAN, or PLEASE RECYCLE
(Photo stolen from this site)
never thought of the residents of
County, California as environmentalists, but we did tend to get maximum
of our metals. For example, a
twenty-year-old car on its way to the auto recyclers would probably make
along the way, at the annual Glenn County Fair and its ever-popular
derby. Besides providing entertainment
to the fair-goers, the event partially pre-crushed the cars so they
less space on the way to the recyclers – kinda like the beer cans in
When I was about 14, one of the milkers on our dairy farm acquired a twenty-year-old car that looked even less roadworthy than the car he regularly drove, and I wandered over to the on-site mobile home that he rented from my father to check out the vehicle. Its windows had all been removed, and a large number was spray-painted on the driver’s door. Aha – a demolition derby car for the upcoming fair! Larry was tinkering under the hood.
(Original photo stolen from this guy)“Hi Larry. Are you going to drive in the derby this year?”
“Yeah – what do you think of the car?”
The brown, dented, well-ventilated Chevrolet looked quite suitable for the task. Glancing inside, I saw that Larry had already removed the rear seat. In its place was the largest quantity of empty beer cans I had ever seen. If you grew up in a county like mine, you know that’s saying a lot.“So, are you going to take the cans out before the derby?” I asked with a grin. Looking a bit sheepish, Larry replied, “Yeah – I’ll recycle them, but for now it’s just an easy place to toss the empties while I’m working on the car.”
In the grandstand, in the hands of my fellow derby watchers, was
second-largest quantity of beer cans I had ever seen. A
water truck rumbled around the arena below,
spraying liberally to turn the dirt into mud.
The slippery surface would prevent the derby cars from gaining
speed to cause serious injury to any drivers.
The object was for each competitor to race around in reverse,
rear end of his car as a battering ram to disable his opponents.
The derby had several elimination rounds like an athletic tournament. The last car still standing would be the winner. When Larry’s car first appeared, I watched as it slipped and slid around the track among a dozen or so other cars, lining up for its first attack. The brown Chevy accelerated across the middle of the arena and rammed another car with a satisfying crunch. With other collisions occurring all around, I don’t know if anyone else in the grandstand noticed the small, shiny object that came flying out the back window of the brown Chevy upon impact. I wonder if anyone in the crowd noticed the teenager among them shout, to no one in particular,
“Hey, Larry – you missed one!”
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And, for those of you who have never been redneck lucky enough to watch a demolition derby in person, please enjoy this video -- one of hundreds available on Youtube.com for your viewing pleasure. The demolition derby is tonight at the Glenn County Fair. Any of you goin'?