Demolition Derby set to thrill crowds at Montezuma County Fair

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 5:04 PM
Smoking cars go at it during the demolition derby at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in August 2017. Paul Krueger won the event.
Paul Krueger accepts his first-place trophy in August 2017 after beating six other cars in the final round of the annual Demolition Derby at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Krueger’s car was dedicated to fallen Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.

For those who enjoy the sound of crunching metal and the smell of radiator smoke, Fairgrounds Speedway will be the place to be this weekend as the annual Cortez Demolition Derby comes to town.

Set to begin on Aug. 4, the popular event figures to feature many of the area’s top mechanics and drivers for what has historically ranked as one of the most unique and exciting events of the year.

Individuals who attend can expect to see plenty of powerful collisions as groups of cars attempt to disable one another in hopes of ending the night as the final car capable of starting and rolling. Although luck is generally a necessity for derby winners, skill also plays a role as drivers are forced to make spur-of-the-moment repairs in between rounds.

“A big part of a derby is making repairs and keeping things running,” said Durango resident Paul Krueger, who described his experience after competing in the derby last year. “We welded two sockets in the U-joint caps and basically put the transmission back together in about 15 minutes. We have duct-tape holding the tail shaft on the transmission, and we’ll just have to see how long it lasts.”

In addition to the car-crushing that will no doubt thrill fans at this year’s derby, those in attendance will be treated to a UTV race that figures to feature plenty of exciting side-by-side racing.

A Calcutta auction will take place prior to the derby during which audience members will have an opportunity to purchase rights to the car that they expect will win. The individual who purchases the winning car will receive a portion of the money raised by the auction.

While every year’s derby is different, fans generally walk away impressed and eager for more. Drivers experience equal enjoyment as the car-smashing fun tends to elicit a certain primal urge that many individuals leave behind upon outgrowing bumper cars.

“My goal is to just hit a bunch of cars,” said Bayfield Braxton Newkirk, prior to competing in the derby in 2015.

“Take the funnest thing that you’ve ever done and the derby is on top of that,” added Cortez resident Duane Bradshaw, describing his experience during the 2015 event.

This year’s Derby will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate and concessions will be available at Fairgrounds Speedway, as well as from vendors set up at the Montezuma County Fair.