It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Dylan Sanvig of Starbuck a motorhead mentor to any demolition derby newbie.
“I really enjoy helping newer people get into it,” Sanvig said.
Sanvig works at Westmor in Morris for his day job, but almost every evening, you can find him tinkering under the hoods of the several vehicles in and around his garage in the backyard of his Starbuck home.
“I remember as a kid waking up one morning and seeing a flatbed (truck) in my driveway with a big old derby car sitting on it, my stepdad and his buddy made it. My mom brought me to the derby that day and from then on I was hooked,” Sanvig said of getting hooked on derby at a young age.
“It just felt right,” Sanvig added. “I've always liked messing with cars and stuff growing up with my friends, my cousin and uncle got really into it also so there was no hope for me staying away from the track, just feels right being out there.”
Sanvig plans on participating at the Stevens County Fair demolition derby on Sunday, Aug. 11, at the fairgrounds in Morris. In a demolition derby, the drivers are required to smash into each other to determine the top three finishers. Vehicles stop running throughout the competition.
The Stevens County Fair is one of the three main derbies he does in the summer, but he also enjoys traveling to others.
“I've traveled out of state and I like to try out at least one new track a year. I went far as Oaks, North Dakota and Motley, Minnesota,” Sanvig said. “The main ones I do are Glenwood, Morris and Alexandria.”
During a demolition derby, drivers can hear a lot of noise coming from the stands, both cheers and painful sounds. Because of the collisions, a lot of precaution goes into protecting the driver during an event.
“That's why it's very important to have a nice cage built around you inside of the car, also a neck and back brace helps a lot,” Sanvig said. “I have been personally knocked out in a derby before, but me and the guy that hit me are good buddies now.”
As far as strategy goes, it’s pretty simple.
“Take everyone else out before they take you out, absolutely no sandbagging is aloud,” Sanvig said.
Sanvig enjoys participating in demo derby for many reasons.
“The adrenaline rush it gives me, the fans in the stands, the new friendships I make along the way,” Sanvig said.
“You might get frustrated and upset at times, but remember that more than likely there is a kid looking up to you as their hero for that day you're on the track,” added Sanvig, whose car typically has the word Outlaw painted on it. “Just have some fun and make some memories.”