POTLATCH — “It’s gonna be a party at the Andres’ house tonight!” proclaimed announcer Doug Miller at the conclusion of Saturday’s Smash Bash Demolition Derby at the Potlatch supercross arena.
Husband and wife CJ and Elaina Andres of Potlatch had just taken first and second place respectively in the Full Size Car division main event with their two children looking on from the stands.
CJ Andres grew up watching his father participate in demolition derbies and has been entering them himself for around a decade. This was his second time taking first place in a demolition event. Elaina, whose husband introduced her to the sport, was taking part in her second derby.
“It’s awesome,” she said of the experience. “It’s like a major adrenaline rush being out there. It’s the coolest thing ever.”
“It’s become a lot more fun because my wife’s actually entered it now,” CJ said. “It pays off in the end. It’s fun no matter what. Today was a family day — this was a family outing.”
Held in conjunction with the Potlatch Days community festival, this was the last event of the season for EC Enterprises at its new location behind Scenic 6 Park. The dirt track had been dramatically flattened and smoothed out since the supercross motorcycle racing programs there last month. A playlist featuring classic rock numbers such as “Eye of the Tiger” and “We Will Rock You” boomed from speakers surrounding the destruction on a bright and dusty afternoon.
The day’s action began with a set of nondestructive “Figure Eight” races that saw vehicles weaving laps around a pair of Les Schwab tires positioned at either end of the arena. For many mechanics and drivers, this was a final chance to show off their work before the used cars they had painstakingly rehabilitated and decorated would be publicly totaled.
Chris Sinclair of Lewiston was among those mechanics who spent years working on demolition derby cars behind the scenes before he decided last year to take his own place in the arena.
“I’ve helped building everyone else’s cars, helped get them running and into the pits, and I just wanted to drive myself,” said the Culdesac High School graduate, who topped Saturday’s Compact Truck division. “My second first-place was today.
“It’s beyond worth it,” Sinclair said. “It’s an adrenaline rush, and it’s fun as can be.”
Contrasting with a drawn-out battle won by Austin Smith in Compact Car competition, 2019 Lewiston High graduate Dakota Sparks had the quickest main-event victory of the day as he subdued his two competitors in the Full Size Truck division within about a minute.
Runner-up Travis West was not satisfied, however. He gestured vigorously for Sparks to continue ramming his helpless car, successfully bringing down several additional blows that delighted the audience as West was knocked to the near edge of the arena.
“I didn’t want the show to end that early, so I was like, ‘Come on and hit me,’” West said. “We’re out here to put on a show, right?”
Main event winners received a trophy and a $1,300 grand prize in exchange for the show they put on.
Compact Truck Figure Eight — Paul Foster
Compact Car Figure Eight — Gavin Brown
Full Size Truck Figure Eight — Dakota Sparks
Full Size Car Figure Eight — Jamie Brown
Compact Truck Demolition — Chris Sinclar
Compact Car Demolition — Austin Smith
Full Size Truck Demolition — Dakota Sparks
Full Size Car Demolition — CJ Andres