Within a four-hour period, an orange 1983 Mercury Zephyr was reduced to scrap metal on the MU campus Tuesday.
The first dent made to the Zephyr came at about 10 a.m. at MU’s Speaker’s Circle, and left a mark in the word “chickenhawk” spray-painted on its side. The car was in decent shape when it arrived, but by noon, it was obliterated.
MU students lined up to take a crack at the car between classes.
The free car smash was held as part of the second annual “Beat kU Week,” which the MU AASB is conducting to promote the men’s basketball game against the Jayhawks at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The car looked ridiculous, with a leopard print dashboard and headrests to match. Bumper stickers and phrases sloppily drawn with blue spray paint decorated the car.
“Flip the bird” was located across the driver-side doors, “beat KU” was on the trunk and “chickenhawk” was on the rear fender. A “go tigers” was drawn on the trunk as well. These phrases became illegible after repeated wallops from the sledgehammer mangled the car.
While the car smash gave students an opportunity to send a message about how they felt toward the Kansas Jayhawks, releasing the week’s pent-up frustrations concerned most students the most.
“It’s just fun to do it,” Missouri senior Mike Osterholt said. “I don’t think I really care as much that it’s KU. I think it’s just fun to be destructive.”
Osterholt delivered several powerful blows to the side of the car, splitting the shaft of the sledgehammer. After two more strikes, he sent the head of the hammer flying inside the car.
“I’m a weapon of mass destruction,” junior Joel Brown said as he the car wielding a sledgehammer and wearing safety goggles and gloves.
Brown went into a frenzy, smashing the rear of the car without remorse, until he was out of breath and red in the face.
“It felt great. Sometimes there’s a lot of emotions built up inside during the week,” Brown said. “You get frustrated at life in general. It feels good just to have a target for all that frustration. If it needs to be KU, so be it.”
Although students were excited about demolishing the car, the symbolic aspect of the car heightened their enthusiasm.
“If it was a Baylor car or a Texas A&M car, people wouldn’t care as much. But, it’s a filthy Jayhawk car,” sophomore Dave Winters said.
“Every time you get to hate on KU, it’s always a good thing,” junior Sarah Oreto said.
Although students were eager to demolish the car, Brown was quick to clarify his intentions.
“It’s a good rivalry but I don’t think we should transfer it over and be violent against KU’s fans,” Brown said. “It’s a good way for us to get out our frustrations with our losing basketball team and our losing football team. “
Students who participated in the event were required to sign a waiver and wear safety gear. The glass was taken out of the windows and students were prevented from hitting the tail lights of the car.