Black Demo Derby Team

The MWFA x BOOM Black Demolition Derby partnership represents an innovative fusion of urban artistry and motorsports, aimed at fostering inclusivity, representation, and artistic expression within the traditionally homogenous demolition derby arena. This groundbreaking initiative provides a platform for Ty McClelland, a talented black derby driver, while also integrating elements of the Activist Print project to bridge the gap between urban art and the world of demolition derbies. It’s a transformative journey that seeks to redefine the essence of motorsports, promote diversity, and inspire positive change.

BOOM Concepts is excited to partner with Most Wanted Fine Art through our Activist Print temporary public art program to make a unique public art activation. The BOOM Concepts team took a new approach to the public space for this special project. By recognizing that artistic excellence comes in many forms and disciplines, the BOOM Derby Car project engages a visual artist, a mechanic, and a derby driver to present a fully actualized project that exists authentically within the parameters of Derby Car Culture. The activism and advocacy of this project are presented not only through the aesthetics of a Black Artist designing the car but also by having Blackness and black identities represented across the critical roles within the team – driver and mechanic. In a field where non-white drivers are seldom seen, the BOOM Derby Car has been able to make history by engaging a Black core team that delivers traditional derby excitement to any race they enter! 

The MWFA x BOOM Black Demolition Derby team is made up of renowned artist and muralist Camerin “Camo” Nesbitt who is the lead artist on the BOOM Concepts Derby Car. Family duo Ty McClelland and SHOK serve as the drivers, and Jake Birkner is the lead mechanic and also a driver for this traveling derby team.

Ty has made a mark on the demolition derby scene, competing in stadiums packed with up to 12,000 spectators over 30 times a year. Over the course of just three years, Ty has taken part in 11 derbies across the United States, competing against 30 drivers each time and placing in the top 5 – three times in those dates.

Demolition derby culture has long been a beloved, albeit niche, facet of American motorsport. Yet, for decades, it remained largely out of reach for inner-city communities like Garfield. The sport, with its thundering engines and strategic collisions, seemed worlds apart from the urban landscape.

MWFA introduced the Most Wanted Fine Art Stock Car derby class, designed as an accessible entry point for newcomers and individuals facing barriers to entry. The only prerequisites? A touch of mechanical know-how and a beater car from the 1980s or newer. Start-up costs are often offset by selling salvaged car parts, such as catalytic converters, transforming the passion for demolition into an eco-conscious endeavor.

In 2021, MWFA forged a partnership with BOOM Concepts, nestled in the heart of Garfield, to sponsor Ty McClelland as a professional demolition derby driver. Boom Concepts, a thriving creative hub, actively champions the voices and talents of BIPOC artists, recognizing their unique contributions to the arts. The organization plays a pivotal role in reshaping Pittsburgh’s arts and culture scene.

What truly sets the MWFAxBOOM Black Demolition Derby Team apart is their role as a team of multiple black demolition derby drivers, black mechanics, and black artists in a sport that has historically lacked diversity. In a world often associated with rural America, Ty and his team stand as a symbol of dismantling barriers and blazing a trail for others to follow. To our knowledge, he is not only one of the few black drivers in the sport but also the only paid and sponsored black derby driver as of now. While Ty has not yet competed against other black drivers who are not on his team, in the sport, it is our hope that his journey paves the way for increased diversity in demolition derbies.

listen to cash on the hood interview

Check out this Track Shot Chat with Darrell Kinsel of BOOM Concepts about the Black Demolition Derby Team: