COLUMBIA — As the sun began to set Sunday, the grand finale of the Boone County Fair got ready to start. By 7 p.m., the stands were packed with eager fans waiting for the demolition derby to begin.
Drivers pulled their old cars onto the track one-by-one, revving their engines to make their presence known. Competitors personalized their cars with spray-painted numbers, children's names and sponsors who helped them along the way. Many proudly displayed their own name across the body of their vehicle so fans could cheer them on.
The crowd chimed in as the announcer counted down - five, four, three, two , one - and the demolition derby was under way.
The dirt track was watered before the derby to limit the speed of the cars. Tires spat mud high into the air as drivers positioned themselves to target another car. Most drivers preferred to use the rear end of their vehicle to ram into other competitors to keep the engine away from damage.
The sound of crunching metal after big hits brought fans to their feet with cheers and applause. White smoke from the cars hung in the air under the bright lights of the grandstand.
Drivers competed in separate heats. At the end of each heat, tractors cleared the track by towing broken-down vehicles back to the pit area. The top three cars in each heat made it to the feature event at the end of the night. Out of the 32 original entrants, 12 drivers remained hoping to survive long enough to claim a victory.
With bumpers dragging and sparks flying, cars continued to smash into each other until only one mangled car was running.