CANNONBALL! — Ron Cannon plows his Cannonball Express into the back of an adversary in past derby action. Democrat file photo by Krysten Kellum


40th Hangtown Destruction Derby

By From page A9 | August 14, 2013

The sounds of smashing metal, roar of smoking engines and cheering spectators collide as the 40th annual Placerville Police Officer’s Association Hangtown Destruction Derby, one of El Dorado County’s oldest charitable events, takes place Sunday at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Populated by men and women representing law enforcement and public safety agencies and various area businesses, the derby in a contest of mechanical survival on a mud-filled infield of the fairgrounds’ main arena.

Proceeds have benefited a number of organizations such as youth sports, children’s groups and the Police Officers annual Christmas party for underprivileged children.

The entry fee for the derby is $50. The winner of the super main will be awarded a healthy $1,000. Second place earns $500 and third place wins $300. Heat races will pay $150 to the winner, $100 to second place and $50 to third. In addition to the cash winnings, top finishers are awarded trophies.

Entrants in the event routinely acquire the vehicle themselves and use area sponsorships to construct it into a full-blown derby car. In many cases, the winners turn around and donate their winnings to a charity of their choice after the bills are paid for the construction of the car, safety equipment and transportation to the event.

The derby will begin on the eve of the event with the annual barbecue at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and involvement with Placerville Speedway Saturday during Mountain Democrat Kid’s Night event. On this evening, all children under 12 are admitted for free and there’ll be bicycle races during intermission.

The Placerville Police Officers Association, instrumental in the event’s growth in teaming with local race track promoter Alan Handy, will be on hand Saturday when the gates open at the races, handing out tickets to those youngsters 12 and under that attend the races.

The first heat Sunday of the derby is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. The grandstands at the fairgrounds open at 1 p.m.

Adult tickets are $10 at the gate. Seniors are $5. Children 12 and under are $5, unless they attend the auto races the night before and receive a complimentary ticket that is good for admission with a paid adult.

For further information, visit or call 530-642-5210. For information on Kid’s Night at Placerville Speedway visit

Bill Sullivan

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