This weekend, our local fairground hosted a series of events billed as “Gearhead Grandslam.” Peter and I decided to attend some of the activities. Since the venue is so close to home and the timing was right, we opted to take Philip with us.
On Saturday night, all three of us attended our first demolition derby. Peter and I were quite frustrated that the event began over an hour late. It was still a toasty eighty degrees at 5:00 pm when the derby was supposed to begin.
Philip was probably the most patient of the three of us. He probably had no idea why we were sitting in a strange place in the heat, but he managed to keep himself entertained.
The wait was almost made worthwhile by the first heat: lawnmowers. I had no idea how entertaining it would be to watch men run into each other on riding lawnmowers. I also had no idea how amusing it is to see a huge tow truck hauling off a relatively small losing mower. And I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture!
The next heat featured unlicensed drivers ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old. A licensed driver has to ride with them. Talk about counterintuitive: “No, son! Drive faster. Run into that guy!” One driver did an excellent slam into another, but almost took herself out of the running by continuing on at high speed into the concrete barrier.
There were two more heats, a truck class and a compact class, before the featured event. Philip seemed to enjoy watching both the collisions and all of the people in the crowd. Peter and I enjoyed determining what might be each driver’s strategy.
Despite the heat and long wait, I thought the evening was a smashing success. I wasn’t prepared for how loud the final class of vehicles would be.
Neither was Philip.
One of the trucks revved its engine and startled Philip. He jumped up on my lap. When the heat began, the combined roar of all the engines was obviously bothering Philip. I cursed myself for not bringing the ear muffs we purchased earlier this month. All I could do was hold him on my lap. I covered his left ear with my hand as he pressed the right side of his head into my body. I could tell he was still on high alert from that initial scare. I was prepared to carry him out of the grandstand if he began to cry.
Do you know how long it takes thirteen cars to smash into each other until only one is left drivable? I didn’t time it, but it felt like an eternity. However, as cars stalled out, the noise decreased. Philip was no longer rocking himself, but watching the chaos in the pit. I tentatively uncovered his ear. He didn’t try to cling to me, but instead began to relax. By the time only one driver remained, Philip was smiling.
It took them longer to clear all of the vehicles from the pit than it did for the grandstands to empty. We stayed to watch the tow trucks and fork lifts in action. By the time we exited onto the fairgrounds, the sun was lower and the air was cooler. It was the perfect time to check out the vintage truck show. We all enjoyed the chance to stretch our legs, and I think it was a great way to make sure Philip was completely recovered from those moments of sensory overload at the derby.
We returned to the fairgrounds again this morning for a free exhibition pull featuring some of those vintage trucks. Once again, we were disappointed that the event did not begin on time. There was no announcer, so there was no way to know anything about the trucks we were watching.
There was a Mack truck with an extremely loud engine. When we saw it heading into position in front of the sled, I put on Philip’s ear muffs. He smiled. In addition to the pressure they apply to his head, I think he enjoys having all sounds muffled. I’ve seen him do this himself using his own hands.
Philip had awaken at 4:30 am this morning. I could tell that he was feeling tired. He eventually climbed into my lap and fell asleep.
As I type, Peter is at the final event for the weekend: an NADM affiliate truck pull. Due to the late starts of all the other events, the hot weather and the possibility that Philip might be coming down with a summer cold, we decided that Peter would go this truck pull himself. I hope he has a good time while Philip and I are at home soaking up the air conditioning.