Demolition Derby Promises Big Fun To Close Northern Gila County Fair

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Looking for loud nonsense? Make plans to attend the 4th annual Demolition Derby at the Payson Event Center this Sunday.

The event was brought to the Rim Country in 2006 by Nelson Beck and Scott Honeycutt. The annual events have since drawn crowds of more than 2,500 and some of the state’s finest adrenaline-crazed drivers.

The derbies are annually held in conjunction with the Northern Gila County Fair as will the fourth annual event when it heats up PEC at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.

Those who have taken in the earlier derbies know they provide metal-crunching, bone-jarring, crashing, smashing action at its best.

“They are crazy,” Beck said.

The demo derby competitions begin with a warm-up event in which drivers battle one another to see which one can be the first one to drive over, and squash, a watermelon strategically placed in the middle of the arena.

Of course, the sponsors — which this year include Honeycutt Rodeo, Chapman Auto Center, Payson Parks and Recreation, Rim Country Power Sports and Coca Cola — usually dole out prize money to the lucky watermelon destroyer.

In addition to the traditional derby that usually features 1970s and ’80s four-door sedans, the third annual trucks-only derby will be held that is expected to be even more competitive than ever.

“The first year (2007) we had two trucks and last year we had five,” Beck said. “We are expecting seven or eight (trucks) this year,” said Beck. “Trucks are kind of our signature event, it’s something we do that others don’t”

Beck is promising the upcoming derby will be more action packed than ever, partly because the promoters have more experience hosting them, the interest in Payson drivers is growing and fans of the sport are hooked.

“From what I’m hearing, there will be more local cars, the Valley drivers are coming back and the stands will be full,” he said. “It should be a great time.”

Last year’s halftime entertainment of a Pro-Tour, a surprise comedy act and quad races sponsored by Rim Country Power Sports have replaced motocross exhibition.

Beck promises the comedy act, “Will be a lot of fun” and the quad races will be exciting for everyone, especially those who own and ride ATVs.

In addition to the races, Power Sports will set up outside the arena exhibitions of the Arctic Cat ATVs the firm sells and services.

The really good news for fans’ pocketbooks is the adult admission to the derby has been reduced to $10 from $12 from what was charged in past years.

“Tough economic times right now,” Beck said.

The admission for children 4 to 11 years is $5, same as in the past. Children under 4 are admitted free.

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