Last weekend, I tried my hand at driving in a demo derby, and it went about as well as I could've expected.

I had gotten a call from Chad with Viola Boyz, the promoter who put on Midwest Mayhem at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. He set me up with a 2015 Dodge Caravan that was at a time an old floral delivery van for a midwest grocery chain.

When I got to see the van, I was pretty excited. It was spray painted completely black (to hide the previous owner's logos) and some bright green numbering on the side. My number was appropriately 97X.

DerbyNation.TV was doing the pay-per-view of the event, and they did an interview with me before the derby started. I just stood there awkwardly as he asked me questions, unsure what to do with my face or hands between answers.


After the interview, I was introduced to Jacob, who I came to find out was the guy who put the van together for me. He was duct taping the front doors' posts to the back door through where the windows would've been. He said, "This makes it safer, so you don't fall out."

It made me laughed nervously, but it worked, because I stayed inside the van.

Jacob said that we needed to watch the front left corner of the van, because the CPU was exposed. One good hit could knock out the brain of the vehicle. He was brave enough to ride along in the passenger seat with me.

When the derby started, the plan was to back it up a little bit, and get my front end to the corner to protect it, then just back into the other cars. The van was supposedly one of the top rated safety vehicles that year, with a strong back end to protect its passengers.

I got one good hit in backwards, pulled back into the corner as planned, and then went back for another hit.

Just as I looked over, I saw a Dodge Dakota headed right for my door. I didn't know whether to back up or go forward, so I did both. It sort of ended with me being still in the middle of the track.

The truck hit that front left corner, and coolant from the radiator sprayed everywhere as the van spun. It rolled to a stop, and it was dead. Turning the key, we realized this thing was essentially sitting without a brain, and I was done.

It was so much fun while it lasted, and after I climbed out of the van, one of the camera guys with DerbNation came over and handed me a piece of metal and told me I was getting the "Hard Luck Award." I took it with pride.

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Townsquare Media

I'll have to give it another go some day, and hopefully I'll be able to redeem myself.

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Thanks again to Viola Boyz and DerbyNation for the awesome experience. Thank you to Jacob for not only taking the time to put a badass van together for me, but also trusting me enough to ride along and coach me through my thirty or so seconds of glory.

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