A Derby Weekend

I told you this morning that my Aunt Betty passed away and the funeral was last Friday. She was 94. Sadly, she was the last of that generation on my Dad’s side so it’s my generation that is on the top of the totem pole now…or would that be the bottom of the totem pole. I’m not exactly sure.

Anyway…I rode with my sister and her husband. It was nice to have company for traveling. I don’t see my sister often so it gave us a chance to visit as well.

All of the cousins who lived within driving distance were there so it was nice to catch up with everyone.

My Aunt Betty was short…and sweet. When I say short, I mean really short. Maybe just over five feet! She and my Uncle Bert had two kids…both boys. The boys were older than me…I’m by far the youngest grandkid on that side of the family so much younger that I really didn’t have any cousins to play with so although, now that we’re grown up, we have things to talk about, back as kids, I was a little bored with my Dad’s side of the family. I am so thankful that it isn’t that way anymore.

My cousin Charlie is the oldest grandkid and he’s soon to be 80….me, I’m the youngest and am 57. Most of us are late 60s to late 70s. There are 15 grandkids in all.

The minister at the funeral was so encouraging of us all visiting and sharing stories and that is exactly what we did.

Some of my siblings and I had plans to be together over the weekend before the funeral was even announced. My brother Jay’s son Jake was running is demolition derby in a neighboring two to me and my sister and I have been wanting to watch him compete but have never made it. Being he was competing in Iowa (he’s from Minnesota), it was our chance.

My brother Jay was coming as well and had plans to stay overnight at my house as it was a two-night competition.

My sister, Judy, her husband George, and I all made it back to my house before Jay arrived. As we were pulling into town, George asked where Kalissa lived. I showed him and the next thing I knew he pulled into her driveway and said, “Let’s go see how the remodel is coming”. I didn’t even know if Kalissa was home. She was and was a nice hostess and showed them around. Currently, they are finishing the demo so it was nice they were able to see the place mid-progress.

From there it was back to my house and waiting for Jay to arrive. We visited and then were off to the derby. Actually, we stopped and picked up my son Karl first. Karl is always up for something fun so the derby was a great way to support a cousin and check out the derby.

In the picture, it’s Karl, George, Judy, me, and Jay.

Kelli, my daughter, and her husband Jason along with her three kids came too.

If you aren’t from rural areas, you might not have heard of a demolition derby. People modify old cars and then go to the derby. They purposely smash into each other and work to eliminate other cars. The last car that can move with a running motor wins. They were doing a special derby that had teammates with four cars to a team. Jake ran in the last heat.

A heat consisted of two four-person teams driving against each other. They would battle until one car was left. The winning team automatically went straight to the next level of competition which would happen on Saturday night. The losing team would go to a competition on Saturday at noon. If they won they could go to the Saturday evening competition too. During the time between competitions, the car drivers would have to try to fix and work on their cars to get them ready for the next match.

The best heat of the night was the second one. The drivers were so good and the cars even though really smashed performed wonderfully. We all agreed they were tough competitors. I think besides my nephew Jake’s team, we all like WBH.

In between the matches, big telehandlers would come out and clear the cars that wouldn’t start off the field. Kelli’s kiddos loved watching that too.

Jake’s team won pretty easily which was great as they wouldn’t have to do a ton of work to get ready for the next competition. Sadly the other team we liked WBH lost and their cars were in bad shape. They would have LOTS of work to do before the next competition.

After the derby on Friday night, we all went down to the pits to see Jake. Emmett was so impressed he got to sit in Jake’s car. I just love his smile in this picture.

Georgia does this new “posing” thing every time she gets her picture taken now. There she is…

The next day Jay and I went back to watch the losers from the night before compete to see who might win a chance to play in the evening derby. I was amazed at all the work the guys did overnight to have their cars ready. WOW. If you had asked me the night before I would have been sure all the losing cars wouldn’t have made it back.

It turns out that the team I liked from the night before WBH, won and would be competing in the evening rounds. YAHOO!! Well, I didn’t know for sure if that was good or not because now Jake would have to run against them and they were tough.

Jay and I had a big break then and lots of time to kill. We ended up going garage saling and then we went to the Amish. My brother Jay is recently divorced and was looking for a few household items. They have some great kitchen supply stores there and we were able to find a few things. He had not really shopped in an Amish community before so it was interesting.

We did see three different signs with puppies for sale. These were cute Bichon mixed puppies.

From there we stopped at a Mexican place and ate lunch/supper. This was my food.

Before we knew it we needed to get back to that derby.

There were several different races before my nephew ran. It was fun to watch. The young people’s match was won by a girl. Both Jay and I were cheering her on. She did a great job.

Before long it was Jake’s turn…that’s him in his car #122. There were 24 cars in total in his heat. Sadly Jake was about the eighth or so from the end in being eliminated but he still had two team members battling on. Remember there are four cars in each team. At that point, we had Jake’s two team members and one car each from three different teams. We were so hopeful that Jake’s team would win. They had the advantage, but then just like that, both were eliminated. Then there were only two cars left. One of them was from the WBH team that I had enjoyed watching earlier so Jay and I started cheering for them being Jake’s team was out.

The WBH guy ended up winning. All of us agreed that he totally deserved the win. We ended up going down in the pits to talk to Jake and talked to him as well. He was a really cool guy. He was very gracious and proud with not a bit of arrogance. It was so nice to see a wonderful winner.

Jake was a little sad they didn’t place higher but was happy with third place. It was so nice to see Jake happy and excited about something he really enjoys doing. I don’t get to see my nieces and nephews nearly enough. With my own kids and tribe of nieces and nephews, it’s so hard to keep up. This was fun and I’m going to try really hard to do it again. Jake’s younger brother Logan also does demo derbies. I’m hoping I can catch one next summer and see them both in the same derby.

After the derby Jay and I headed back to my house. He stayed over another night and then in the morning started packing up. I was giving him a hard time that there was no way he was going to get all of his purchases onto his bike but he sure did. He had groceries from the Amish store, a mini crock pot and two strainers, along with a cassette player and cassettes from a garage sale. He was a great packer.

It’s kind of odd that Jay and I are both single now. My mom died at 61 so my dad spent lots of years being single…my Aunt Agnes’ husband died early as well. My dad and Agnes, his sister hung out and did a lot of things together including their favorite thing, going to lutefisk suppers. As Jay left I told him I could be his Agnes…but I wasn’t too sure about going to lutefisk suppers. (for those of you who don’t know, lutefisk is a Scandinavian thing. It’s fish that is put in a brine to preserve and later boiled in butter. It’s SUPER stinky and kind of slimy. UGH.)

We both decided maybe we’d leave our Swedish roots behind and just check out the Mexican restaurants instead. HA!!

Anyway…I had a really fun weekend. It was totally out of my normal and I loved it. Many thanks to Jake for putting on a good show…and many thanks to George and Judy for letting me tag along to the funeral and many thanks to Jay for a fun weekend doing some of my favorite things.

So curious me wants to know…How many of you have been to a demolition derby and how many of you have had lutefisk? Let us know in the comments.

42 thoughts on “A Derby Weekend”

  1. Yes, I have eaten lutefisk. One mouthful. My father was Norwegian so it was mandatory. Yes, I have been to a derby and get this, I raced derbies one summer while expecting my third son. Yes, I am a woman who does not conform to the rules.

  2. Cynthia from Nebraska

    I went to a couple of demolition derbies when I was a kid. As an adult, I lived in North Dakota for 5 years. I ate lutefisk. As I recall the taste wasn’t bad, bit it does smell. I much prefer to eat lefse!

  3. Demolition derbies signaled the end of most of the county fairs in Southeastern Wisconsin through the years and there are still some that close out the fairs now. Our kids always wanted to go to the “smash ‘em up” and cheer on their favorite cars! Interestingly enough, our grandkids have never been excited about going to a derby…they’d rather spend time in the barns with the animals!

  4. I have had lutefisk. I even made it while working in a nursing home. Both ways yuck! I’ve never been to a demolition derby. They are too noisy for me.

  5. Girl, we love anything that involves tires and motors! Back in the day we had figure 8 and auto polo too. We both rode dirt bikes from the time we could hold it up. We are the muscle car generation

  6. Yes I’ve been to a demolition derby back in the 60’s at Beach Bend Park Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky. No I have not eaten lutefisk, don’t think I want to.

  7. My husband raced in derby’s one sumner. I remember getting hit by chunks of dirt from the tracks
    My husband & I used to cook lutefisk once a year for tradition. But got smarter & gave ip traditions!

  8. Never had the fish. Not much call in Oklahoma, Mexican food, yes. I been married to mechanic for 30 years. Been to derbies and races. Never drove, just worked on the cars.

  9. Yes, I’ve been to demo derbies and our son competed in one after he got out of high school – it was a fun thing he did with his friends, but apparently it wasn’t fun enough for him to do it again because he never has. And no to lutefisk, I’m not of Scandinavian ancestry so I don’t feel obligated or required to eat it, although I suppose I would at least try it sometime. It’s a big deal here in Kasson as one of the churches has an annual lutefisk meal and people come from miles around. And even though I’m not Scandinavian – I can make lefse, rosettes, krumkaka, etc!

  10. In Ohio, they not only do they have car demolition derbies but you will see occasionally combine demolition derbies. To they are great fun.

  11. No to both, but I watch NASCAR races! I think demolition derbies would certainly be fun to see. It was great that you were able to spend good times with your sibs. I am close to my sisters and brother and love every minute we spend together, but like for you, it is hard to keep up with all the nieces and nephews.

  12. If I have to eat lukefisk, it isn’t too bad buried in mashed potatoes in a lefse “shell”. But if I don’t have to, I don’t. My dad was Norwegian and hated lutefisk so we never ate it growing up. As an adult, we have been exposed to lutefisk a few times. Meatballs are often served with lutefisk, and they are delicious. I have never gone to a demolition derby.

  13. I have never eaten lutefisk and, I have to confess, it doesn’t sound very appealing. I’ve been to several demolition derbies usually at a local county fair. Our favorite by far was the combine demolition derby! Nothing fast or smooth about those big lumbering machines! Lots of fun to watch!!

  14. Yes to Lutefisk. Grandma used to make it along with meatballs. If you wanted meatballs, you had to eat Lutefisk also. She would give us a little bowl of melted butter, we would dip it then add salt and pepper. I have not had it since she passed.
    Many of the small churches around here still serve Lutefisk suppers! ❤️❤️
    Demo derbies are alive and well in Minnesota. I will go with proper ear protection but love racing more.

  15. No to lutefisk. That’s a solid NO, I will not try it. Yes to demolition derbies. We went several years in a row when my nephew was participating. He hurt his back at work and that put an end to his derby days. My oldest daughter and kids go to the derby at their county fair each summer. My oldest grandsons go to watch as often as they can, however neither participate. It is fun to watch.

  16. Nope, never went to a demo derby, but heard a lot of derby and tractor pull noise from the fair grounds only 4 blocks away. And I managed to avoid the lutefisk (thank goodness) even with a Norwegian dad. Both the races and the lutefisk dinners are big around here. So glad you had time with your sister, brother, and family. I’ll be you had a chance to share and hear some old family stories. I am the youngest in my family and learned a lot as a kid sitting at the top of the stairs listening to the “grownups” talk and laugh!.

  17. The state and most county fairs always had demolition derby one afternoon of the fair. The demolition derby was always well attended.

  18. In 1979 I went to Saterglantan Vav Skol in Insjon, Sweden (weaving school). There I had the ‘pleasure’ of having lutefisk for the one and only time in my life. Our class had three American’s and they served that as part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Right along with the blood sausage. A most memorable dinner. All else at Saterglantan was a wonderful experience.

  19. Lutefisk is only slimy and gelatin like if you overcook it. When I’ve made it, I baked it and when it flakes in pices it’s done. Brad’s family used to boil it. Then the steam made the smell everywhere. I still don’t like it but that’s what I have learned. Brad’s family would take a piece of lefse, a scoop of mashed potatoes and then the lutefisk and then pour melted butter over it and put another piece of lefse over it. Topped it with cranberries.

  20. My grandmother used to make lutefisk every Christmas. My father and uncle loved it but I wouldn’t touch it, nor the pigs’ feet and other Scandinavian “goodies”. I always asked my mother to bring a tuna fish sandwich for me and please place the pigs’ feet as far away from me as possible on the table. I couldn’t bear to look at them! I never tasted any of these foods but was a very picky eater. I am still not very adventurous when it comes to food.

  21. Never been to a demo derby and NEVER wanna eat lutefisk (I’ve heard about and decided from the get go that that was never going to go in my mouth—eww!) I’m ALL about Mexican food!

  22. No to the fish!!! But, we used to go to the demolition derby every Friday night when I was in my teen years. I love any kind of car races, but those were a hoot! Now, racing is too loud for me, so the hubs and I stick to drag racing on the TV. Glad you had such a good time with your family. I’m an only child, so don’t have those relationships with brothers and sisters. But, I have loads of spiritual brothers and sisters that are closer than most of my family, so I guess that’s just a good!

  23. My grandparents lived in the little town of Fairview, Utah. Every 24th of July we would go visit grandma and walk down to the rodeo arena to watch the derby. Fun times.

  24. Managed to be busy helping with service when the lutefisk was being passed around the table. Yes to a few noisey derbies. I think they have been changed a bit with helmets etc. since I attended. Thankfully. I was delighted to see such a happy family time for you.

  25. I remember going to a demolition derby as a kid, back in Wisconsin. And I have never eaten lutefisk, but a church I used to attend had an annual lutefisk supper. My assigned job was scrubbing the pans used to cook the mashed potatoes in a little sink in the janitor’s closet. At least I didn’t need to scrub the pans the lutefisk was cooked in! I’m rather squeamish when it comes to anything fishy……

  26. I went to demo derby’s back in the early 1960’s. They were always fun to watch. I haven’t eaten any of your fish delicacy and plan to never even taste it. Glad you had a fun weekend.

  27. I use to got to demolition derby’s
    Haven’t been to one in years. They are lots of fun. Better than nascar. Just round and round. And no I have heard of the fish but I think like you I’ll pass.

  28. Yes, I’ve been to demo derbies when I was younger, my brother used to race.
    I have eaten lutefisk, one of our local churches has a lutefisk supper every year the last Friday in October, of course they have lefse along with meatballs and mashed potatoes. My mom always likes to go since she grew up eating lutefisk, I did not eat it growing up, so I don’t appreciate it, I leave it for those who do!

  29. Yes to both. Love demolition derby’s but there don’t seem to be as many as 50 years ago. And if lutefisk is cooked right it is not slimy or stinky. Still wouldn’t be something I’d want once a month but once a year I can handle, depending on the cook.

  30. When I was growing up we attended the Demolation Derbys at the track in our town. They were great fun! My Dad called them the “Jalopy Derbys”. Sadly the track is gone. However, it led me to being a NASCAR fan!

  31. Wenonah from Alberta

    My husband used to sponsor a demolition car at the local derby for years! It was so much fun cheering them on! I am of Norwegian descent, and I also, have had lutefisk, but did not really care for it. I agree with Cynthia from Nebraska, the lefse is MUCH better!

  32. Lutefisk? Nope!
    Demo derbies? Yep – a couple of times, but my favorites are the ones with old farm combines or with old school buses…

  33. No lutefisk for me. I don’t think we have that in South Texas. My dad competed in the demolition derbies and also dirt track racing. After he got older, he operated the wrecker truck at the races.

  34. No to both. The derby’s were beyond my income as a young adult. As a kid they were forbidden as I am a female. Grrrrrrr.
    I have heard of lutefisk but never had a chance to try it. From what you’ve said it’s not a loss. I like my fish either crisp or canned like tuna and salmon. Glad you had a great time with your cousins. Cousins are a special gift from God.

  35. Blue Gate Farmgirl

    Yes to the demo derbies, most of the county fairs around here finish out the fair with a derby. My fav is the farm equipment derby. I have tried lutefisk once, that’s all it took! I do have a fabulous pickled fish recipe that I love to make as part of my Christmas treats baskets.

  36. Hey Jo! It’s so nice you were able to spend time with family even if some of it was for a funeral. I have never had lutefisk (and based on your description, I never will!) but I have been to the demolition derby! They have it at the county fairs – I’m in upstate NY.

  37. There’s a little town in eastern Washington that holds an old combine demolition derby. The town was dying so they started this to raise money every year to support the senior center and extra curricular activities for the schools. We went one year — it was great fun.

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