Utah State University : : USU Hard News Cafe
AT A GLANCE

June 2007 : :

Features

Demolition Derby

Radio-Controlled Planes

'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'

Zion in Fall

Yellow of Logan Canyon

'This is God's house'

Colosimo's the Real Italian Stuff

The Hot Dog Man and His White Van

Rock and Punk Music

Merrill-Cazier

Black and White and Shades of Gray

Carnegie Professors

Cheer 'Em On!

LDS General Conference

Logan After Dark

Parade of Homes



Profiles
Jill Prichard









Demolition Derby

Photography and text:: Davis Archibald

The sounds of crushing metal, smoking radiators and the crowd cheering for favorite drivers are all to be expected at a demolition derby.

Nikki Carver, a Utah State student, is all too familiar to those sounds. She has been driving in the derby for several events, but has been involved in some way since she was a freshman in high school. Her father, Ronn Carver, has been building derby cars for years, but it has just been the past three that Nikki has driven in them.

The event is split into three heats, with the top four of each heat moving on to the main event, where the most money could be made. Carver was randomly selected for the third heat, and said she was quite excited because of the placement.

Each car had a theme, and hers, named Pi-Rate, had skull and cross bones, painted black with a yellow door on the driver's side. While waiting for her heat to start, she was positioned next to a pink and purple car that had seen its share of derbies. After looking at her car, the neighboring car's pit crewman turned to his driver and said, "Why did you have to paint it pink? Her car is cooler and it has skulls!"

During her heat Nikki did not finish in the top four, but delivered plenty of bone-jarring hits. Her goal during the heat was to wipe out opponents' tires and radiators without damaging her car. To do that, she hit the other cars using mainly her rear, so that her engine would not be damaged. Unfortunately, her last hit was so hard that she was caught up on another car and could not come free.

After the heats, the cars were returned to their designated pit areas, where crews attempted to revive the smashed beasts. The flicker of the welding machines and flashlights were the only light available. The pounding of sledgehammers and the groan of overturning engines signaled an end to the destructive night, all echoing through the stadium in an attempt to be able to compete once again.

-darchilbald@cc.usu.edu

Click the thumbnail photos below for larger versions.

Mechanical adjustments

Waiting for heat

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