A smashing good time

August 19, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Thick, gray smoke billowed into the air and twisted metal fell onto the ground on a patch of dirt just off U.S. 40 west of Hagerstown.

And that's just what people came to see at a demolition derby that ushered in Speedfest 2004 at Hagerstown Speedway.

Wednesday's opening to Speedfest 2004 was the first night of action centered around the 57th anniversary of the speedway, said Cara Sheaffer, event planner.

Sheaffer said the idea for the five-night event came up last year, when a one-day celebration and concert was canceled because of heavy rain.


"We just wanted to give people something fun to do," she said. "I figured, it can't rain five nights in a row, right?"

Though sparsely attended, Sheaffer said there were more people out than she expected for the first night of the event.

"We had some people just piled into vans because it's cheaper for families that way," Sheaffer said.

The cost of Speedfest is $10 per car, per night, or $30 for a camper for the entire event.

Speedfest will feature musical performances by established bands or karaoke singers, $50 first-prize contests for sumo wrestling and jousting tournaments, a charity walk on Sunday and of course, the speedway's regularly scheduled races on Saturday.

Wednesday's main event was the compact car demolition derby inside the dirt track's infield.

After about 22 minutes of bumping, smashing and smoking, the No. 77 car of Travis Beaver, of Waynesboro, Pa., was the only one still running.

Beaver, who took home $500 for his rambunctious driving style, outlasted the No. 17 car of Anthony Mowen, of Hagerstown.

Mowen, the flagman at the speedway on Saturdays, said he enjoyed his first demolition derby and wants to do it again in the near future.

"I figured, why not, might as well give a try," Mowen said. "This was my cheapest way to get involved in racing. I spent $100 on the car and won $100."

Brad Cottrill, of Hagerstown, said the event had less to offer in the way of rides and food vendors than area carnivals, but made up for it with the featured event.

"There are lots of carnivals around here in the summer, but the thing this had was a demolition derby," said Cottrill, who attended with his son, Bryan. "Bryan wanted to come down here to see them smash 'em up."

"Yep," the boy agreed.

There also are rides and a petting zoo with goats and piglets, among other animals.

"The kids heard there were going to be rides. That and the petting zoo is all it took," said Cherry Flaherty, of Hagerstown.

More information on Speedfest 2004 is available at

The following is a list of events at Speedfest 2004, being held at the Hagerstown Speedway on U.S. 40, six miles west of Hagerstown, said event planner Cara Sheaffer:


7 p.m. - Karaoke contest.

7:30 p.m. - The Underground Riders extreme motorcycle stunt show.


7 p.m. - Sumo wrestling, oversized-glove boxing and jousting contests. Each first-place finisher receives $50. (A mechanical bull-riding competition scheduled for Friday has been canceled).

7 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Live music with One Lane Bridge.


Noon - Steak feed, $20 per person, $35 per couple and $10 for anyone younger than 11.

1 p.m. to 5 p.m. - Live bluegrass music with Roadside Cafe.

7 p.m. - 57th Anniversary Classic Race (Tickets are required for the event).


9 a.m. - Live contemporary Christian rock music with 99 + 1.

9:45 a.m. - Interdenominational worship service.

10 a.m. - Charity Walk around the speedway infield. Proceeds to be donated to Speedway Children's Charities.

The petting zoo, rides and food vendors will operate throughout the event.

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