By Devan Schwartz
With a little help from Haines Stampede Rodeo Queen Rachel Streifel and her friend Tonita Britt, plus lots of spray paint, a 1969 Chrysler New Yorker is being converted into a spectacular demolition derby car.
In bright neon letters against the car's white body, they sprayed "Go Big Or Go Home," along with names of local businesses who contributed to this automobile.
The businesses included BandK Auto Salvage (car donation), Roadrunner Towing (helped with rebuilding), Ragsdale Mobile Glass (window removal), Eagle Valley Collision Rebuilders (painting), Ne-Hi Enterprises (decals) and Grumpy's Auto Repair (chains and engine work).
The automobile will be auctioned off and driven at this Saturday's demolition derby, a fundraiser for the Haines Stampede.
Grumpy's was the site of the neon paint job and the owner, J.R. Streifel, besides being the proud father of the rodeo queen, is a derby organizer.
"I'll be making the announcements," Streifel said. "And I'm the one who puts out the fires."
The demolition derby has twoheats, with time for the winning cars to getrepaired before the final round.
The white-and-neon Chrysler New Yorker will be auctioned off for the second heat, and the purchaser will drive it themselves (remember, no one may consume alcohol before driving).
At halftime, entrants will furiously work on their cars in preparation for the final round, and Streifel mentioned how freestyle motorcycles will perform tricks.
He grinned when asked about a special trick they're rumored to be performing.
"You'll have to wait and see," he said.
The winner of each heat gets $250 and the overall winner $1,500.
Proceeds from the event go to the Haines Stampede.
Streifel wanted to be sure and thank the local businesses. "They go above and beyond. Without them, we couldn't do the derby - the prize money, the insurance, the port-a-potties."
He also wanted to thank his partner in crime at Saturday's derby, Jim Wright of La Grande, who's in charge of certifying that each car is okay to run.
"It's a fun way to close out Fair Week," said Streifel.
"Everybody likes seeing a smash-up derby. And when you can hear the crowd over the motors, you know you've done a good job."
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 5-12.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Baker County Fairgrounds, 2610 Grove Street.