Demolition derby a popular event at SEMO District Fair

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Cars go at it during the second heat of the Dual Demolition Derby at the SEMO District Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. (Kristin Eberts)

Spectators filled the grandstand Tuesday night at the SEMO District Fair to watch the dual demolition derby.

Pete Poe, president of the SEMO District Fair board of directors, said the dual demo derby usually draws a crowd of 3,000 people. He expected the turnout would be similar this year.

"The dual demo derby is one of the more popular motor sport events," Poe said.

Vice president of Auto Race Promotions Bob Mauer said the turnout at the company's Cape Girardeau events is always good.

"The grandstand will be standing room only," Mauer said.

Misty Johnston of Cape Girardeau and her family attended the derby because they "love to watch the cars get smashed."

However, this was not the only reason they attended the derby; they also had many friends competing in the race, including David Rains in car number 73.

Aleeia Caldwell of Cape Girardeau, who said she has attended the derby at the fair since she was 5, was also at the race to watch Rains, who she said is one of her favorite drivers this year. Friend Mike Maglone was another of her favorite drivers.

Tim Kraus of Cape Girardeau was watching his first demolition derby. He hoped to see some "good derby crashes."

The dual demo derby has an 80-car limit, which was reached a little more than an hour before the event began.

"The attendance is overwhelming," Mauer said.

One of the cars was number 101, a Chevrolet Citation. The driver was Danielle Wood and the passenger was Karri Moll.

Moll said it is fun being a girl involved in demolition derbies. She also said their strategy for the night was to win and not hold back.

"We won the last four years in a row in the mini-car division. ... We've got to defend our title," Moll said.

Greg Hawkins of car number 3494 had a similar strategy for the night: "Go hard or go home."

Hawkins has been participating in the event at the SEMO District Fair for five years.

He said the spent about 15 hours preparing his 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera for the race.

The event consisted of four qualifying heats, a consolation race and a feature race. Twenty of the original 80 vehicles made it to the feature race.

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