Demolition Derby

“Which faculty member entered his/her own car into a demolition derby and won?”  Another week brought another faculty trivia question, along with another startling answer – Dave Prockop.

Students and teachers might wonder how a science teacher ended up participating in a demolition derby.  It was 1988, and Mr. Prockop had graduated from college a year before.  He lacked extra spending money, and he had a Station Wagon  which needed a lot of repairs, but repairing it would have cost more than its original worth. One of Mr. Prockop’s friends told him  that Station Wagons were the best cars for demolition derbies because they were large, heavy, and had strong frames.  Mr. Prockop decided to enter.

With the help of a friend, Mr. Prockop welded the doors shut and removed all of the glass; these were modifications that were required in order to participate.  Mr. Prockop and a group of his friends traveled from Washington D.C., where he was living at the time, to a county fair in Maryland, where the demolition derby was to be held.

The rules were fairly simple.  First, every driver must have a helmet and be strapped into their car. Drivers must bump into another car every two minutes, or else they would be disqualified for “sandbagging.” Finally, drivers who deliberately hit the driver’s door of another car were disqualified.  Aside from these rules, drivers could crash, ram, and bump their cars into each other as hard as they wanted.  The goal for each driver was to wreck the other cars so badly that their engines cease to function and can no longer move.

When the time came, Mr. Prockop strapped himself in and started ramming into other cars. Eventually, his car became the last one still functioning, and he won.  He said it was “loads of fun” and that he got whipped around a lot. He can’t remember much about the ten-minute brawl, What he does remember was his whole body feeling sore, but it was worth it because he won 450 dollars, which was more than his old Station Wagon’s worth.  He spent half the money to take his friends out to dinner that night, and kept the rest.

Despite Mr. Prockop’s glorious victory, his stint as a demolition derby driver  was short-lived.  He hasn’t participated in another one since.  However, he said that if  given the chance, he would definitely do it again.

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