October 26, 2021

Colfax Demolition Derby maintains its reputation as a top-notch, twisted metal tradition

COMMUNITY CRASH COURSE: Volunteers urge new organizers to take over the popular event

Marty Parks knows how much the Colfax community loves its demo derby, and he doesn’t want to see it go away. Which is why on several occasions during the derby he, as the announcer, rallied for attendees to volunteer their time to make sure the tradition sticks around for another year and beyond.

“This is the event for Jasper County,” Parks said to Newton News, noting the drivers come from all over the state to compete. “Prairie City, Winterset, Creston, Macksburg, Stuart, Osky, Osceola, Brighton — it brings people from all over, man. What else does this small community have?”

Parks grew up in Colfax and remembers when derbies were more prevalent. For the past three years or so he’s been serving as the announcer of the demo derby. Although he moved away from his hometown, coming back to the ol’ stomping grounds during such a momentous occasion feels good for Parks.

“It’s great to see everybody,” Parks said, adding that the folks are probably wanting to get out more than when the pandemic cooped them up. “Look at it, man. People just want to be together again. People are getting to feel normal for one day this summer. This is a big event.”

However, original organizers of the Colfax Demolition Derby are set to pass on the event to another interested party.

Volunteer Jill Ingraham said the derby was offered to the Jasper County Fair Board, but there were no takers. However, the local fire department, she added, expressed interest in continuing the event, which regularly draws hundreds of people to the county fairgrounds for a bit of twisted metal action.

“It draws a really good crowd,” Ingraham said. “Which also helps the promoter we have, and he (Jimmy Simms) brings a lot of his own people, too.”

Started in 2008, the Colfax Demolition Derby sets up in the arena of the county fairgrounds. Surrounded by concrete blocks piled on with layers of mud, drivers race around the dirt ring and bash their opponents’ vehicles into submission. All the while crowds cheer with inebriated glee.

Danny Mattix, of Monroe, set up a small tailgating party with his son and friends about two hours before the derby started. He secured his front-row seats early on — his usual spots every year — and enjoyed yard games, refreshing drinks and good company until the cars made it out into the ring.

“We usually got the stereo going here, playing bags and this game (toy axe throwing),” Mattix said. “When the race starts it’s all about the crashes. The more crashes the better. It’s a good time. It really is. What better way to support Jasper County, right? It’s a fun time and we always make a day of it.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.