If you've never been to a Midwestern state fair, you may not know about the king (or maybe the jester?) of all vehicular combat sports: the combine demolition derby.
According to the magazine Farm Show, combine demolition derbies have been around since the early 1980s. They made their debut at the Canadian version of a state fair, which is called—seriously—a Provincial Exhibition, and are exactly what they sound like: Drivers, usually in an older combine—new ones cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, as much as a high-end Bentley—smash into each other at ponderously low speeds, trying to destroy the other combine’s header or render the entire thing immobile.
Most demolition combines are driven by farmers, who outfit them with reinforced headers and remove many of the unnecessary, heavier parts. Most drives will also personalize their combine with colorful designs and special names; at the recent Montcalm County Fair in Michigan, an all-black rig dubbed “Big Kev” took home first prize.
Unlike your typical car-based demolition derby, combines move too slowly to inflict much damage on their drivers, so safety isn’t as big a concern—it’s pretty hard to injure someone when your vehicle can only reach about 15 miles per hour.
And with that, let’s watch some videos of combines smashing into each other!