Demolition man has smashing career

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It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

And according to Tyler Jones of Centennial, that somebody is him.

With his long dark locks and well-tanned hide, Jones looks more like some sort of magazine cover than a demolition derby driver, but the driver of “Pig Pen Racer,” a cannibalized Ford F-250 club cab pickup truck, says the idea of driving around in circles smashing into other vehicles is appealing.

“Where else can I drive like this and not get a ticket,” he said. “Or worse yet, sued?”

Jones was among several derby racers at the Fifth Annual Demolition Derby Race on July 28 at the Arapahoe County Fair.

Open to drivers 16 and older with a valid driver’s license, the all-amateur event pits drivers against each other in a muddy ring, each vying to disable the other by brute force.

Drivers smash into each other, and the last operational vehicle either advances to the next round or is declared the winner.

Jones, who’s been racing for about eight years, said he purchased the Pig Pen Racer for $800.

“I actually found it on Craigslist,” he said. “And since then, I’ve put another $2,000 into it.”

But according to the doting father, the best upgrade made so far is the custom paint job created by his daughter, featuring the colorful blue and red handprints on the front driver’s side fender.

Although Jones said serious injuries in the sport are rare, he has seen some guys who were “pretty banged up.”

“I can’t say enough about protective gear,” said Jones, who’s never been injured. “Aside from additional padding within the cab of the truck, I also wear shin guards like hockey players, a helmet and a $600 custom neck brace, just in case.”

He cautioned new drivers to do their homework, and start out small.

“And always wear protective gear,” he said. “Always.”