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Belly Bars and Chained Humps

The Cobleskill Demolition Derby

photos and text by gigi elmes

It’s the last weekend of the summer, the sun is slowly setting over the mountains, and the smell of exhaust fumes hangs heavy in the air. The chorus of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” blasts through the speakers over the roar of engines. It does the job of getting the spectators pumped up.

As the cars drive out onto the muddy track, you can feel the tension in the air. “Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” The crowd screams along with the announcer.


At the wave of the green flag, the first two cars make contact and the mud starts to fly. Smoke billows out of the smashed Olds Custom Cruiser and the crowd goes wild. The Demolition Derby has just begun, and the spectators know they are in for a night of hell-raising fun. For the drivers, it is more than just a night of fun, it is a way of life.