spo hangtown derby

SUNDAY'S derby will feature some direct hits like the one pictured above. Democrat file photo


Annual crash-fest back in grand fashion

By From page A11 | August 15, 2014

Both stock, open classes

On Sunday, Placerville Speedway hosts the sounds of smashing sheet metal, the roar of smoking engines and cheering spectators as one of El Dorado County’s oldest charitable events, the Placerville Police Officers Association’s annual Hangtown Destruction Derby, celebrates its 41st consecutive year with an afternoon of car crushing mayhem that’s fun for the entire family.

The derby is presented by the PPOA in conjunction with the cooperation of El Dorado County Fire, Placerville Speedway and the business community of El Dorado County.

The competition is well-populated by men and women representing law enforcement and public safety agencies, along with entries from the general public in a contest of mechanical survival on a mud filled infield of the fairgrounds main arena.

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

The 2014 version of the destruction derby has been expanded to include two different divisions for the first time in the event histoy — a “stock” class as well as an “open” class.

With the two classes, two champions will be crowned with winners of each of the super mains earning 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. Around 30 cares are expected in the combined classes.

Over the last several years, Officer Ron Cannon has been instrumental in the derby’s growth. As a long time competitor, Cannon’s enthusiasm has forged a collaborative promotion effort with Placerville Speedway and many businesses in the community to sponsor the affair. It is the highest ranked law enforcement charity event in the western states, sitting second to the annual “Pig Bowl.”

Derby festivities begin on the eve of the event with the annual event BBQ at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and involvement with the speedway’s Mountain Democrat Kids Night event. On this evening, all children under 12 get in for free to the speedway and bicycle races will be held during intermission.

The PPOA will be on hand when the gates open for the races, handing out tickets to those youngsters 12 and under that attend the races — not speeding tickets but complimentary children’s tickets to Sunday’s derby.

The grandstands at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds will open at 1 p.m. on Sunday and the first heat race of the derby scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. following opening ceremonies and the popular parade of entrants. An early arrival to the speedway is suggested as last year the grandstands were nearly filled to capacity prior to the opening event.

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

A number of area businesses have donated prizes that will be raffled off at derby and the pre-event barbecue at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds on Saturday evening

For further information on the event, visit

Bill Sullivan

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