shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

News Highlights

Page address:

Sledge-hammering old car is popular finals-week pasttime

Stress relief

Sledge-hammering an old car proves popular during finals week.

By Robb Murray, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 12/9/2008]

Photos by John Cross
Jenny Cumming swinging sledgehammer at car.
Jenny Cumming knows how handle a hammer. Friend Megan Wetzel watches behind her.

Chocolate and peanut butter. Beer and pretzels. Batman and Robin.

Some things just fit together so naturally they become nearly inseparable. Same goes for stress and finals week. If you're a student at Minnesota State University, this week — finals week — is crunch time.

When it all gets to be too much, when you're ready to pull your hair out, when you're ready to punch your roommate — stop. Instead of committing a felony, visit the boys from Phi Kappa Psi hanging out on the MSU mall. They're the ones standing next to the piece of crap 1996 Buick Park Avenue, taking a buck a whack from students who need a stress relief.

For the rest of finals week, which runs through Thursday, the fraternity with the sledge hammer will allow anyone to take a good hard swing at the Buick. A buck gets you one whack. Five gets you six.

Junior Bob Sell emerged from Armstrong Hall more than ready to take a few whacks at something.

"Just took a Spanish final," he said.

Nick Chepeus swinging sledgehammer.
Nick Chepeus paid a buck to wield this hammer at this Buick. A stress reliever for finals week, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity offered on whack for a buck, or five whacks for $5..

How'd it go?

"Not good."

Sell, a junior law enforcement major (with a minor in Spanish), grabbed the sledge hammer and circled the Buick like a hunter. When he found his spot, he brought the hammer down on the car's hood, which sent shotgun-like echoes thundering through the mall.

A few moments later, after some beckoning from fratenity brothers Travis Simon and Ryan Rafferty, freshmen Justin Crowley of Forest Lake and Lindsey Pexa of New Prague wander by.

Pexa lends Crowley a buck and the boy goes Joe Mauer on the rear passenger-side door.

Then Pexa pulls out another buck, this time for herself, and leaves the trunk with a grapfruit-size dent.

"We were up all night studying for finals," Crowley said, "so it was kind of a stress relief."

Added Pexa, "It was heavy! It was good. It was loud."

Next comes Joel Sticha.

After a quick pitch from fraternity members, Sticha ponders it for a moment.

"Why the hell not," he says.

After abusing the door, Sticha utters two words that sum up the experience.

"Pretty powerful," he says.

Sticha had a pair of finals this week. He had one down, one to go.

"I'll just be so relieved to have this semester over," he said.

The car-bashing event was a fundraiser for the fraternity. The car was donated by All-American towing. Simon and Rafferty were working their two-hour shift, but someone from the fraternity will be with the car taking ones and fives from anyone who wants to give it a whack.

"I'd like to see at least $100 out of it," Simon said of the fundraiser.

If Monday's weather prognosticators were accurate, however, the fraternity brothers and their Buick might be digging out of a half foot of snow.

"Oh great," Simon says. "We'll have to brush snow off this thing tomorrow."

For more Free Press news go to

Email this article | Permanent link | Topstories news | Topstories news archives