Demolition derby set for mid-June

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Since our last update on the efforts to bring back a demolition derby to the Slave Lake area, quite a bit has happened. It’s got a name, a date, entry fees, prize payouts, rules and more. Not to mention municipal permission, a parking and shuttle plan and more.

What the Slave Lake Crash for Cash event needs now, mainly, is registrations.

“None yet,” says chief organizer Gunner Persson of GCL Contracting, “but a lot of people are messaging.”

One of them is a guy from New Zealand, of all places, who Persson says attended the Widewater derby back in 2001 or thereabouts.

“His nickname is Mad Dog Muttley,” Persson says. “He’s from Whanganui, New Zealand.”

Persson is trying to re-create what his dad Brian Persson and others did 25 years or so ago, which was to put on a derby that attracted people from all over western Canada and even from the U.S., thanks to its generous prize money.

Speaking of which, Persson says the top prize in the full-size cars category will be $20,000, with $10,000 for the runner-up and five grand for third place. That should get some attention.

In the trucks division, the prizes are $8,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

In the Powder Puff competition (ladies) there’s only one prize – winner take all for $3,000.

As for mini-cars – we’ll have to wait and see on that, Persson says.

The location, as reported back in December, is next door to the Flat Top Motocross track, south of Slave Lake on the Flat Top Road (or Holmes Trail, as it’s called in town). Persson and his helpers prepped the site late last year. This spring, they’ll get back at it to build the actual pit, or arena for the derby, or “track” as Persson calls it.

Bleachers for spectators is still an unsolved problem, but we’re working on it, Persson says.

Crash for Cash fans will find a $20 entry fee for one day, or $35 for the weekend pass, with kids 10 and under getting in for free.

As for entry fees to the competition, they run $400 apiece for the trucks and full-sized cars, and $200 each for mini-cars and powder puff.

For now, most of the work of organizing the event is being handled by Persson, with help from Wasyl Melnychuk, Joe Watson out of Edmonton, and Brian Persson pitching in as an advisor. More help will be needed on the June 14 – 16 weekend, Persson says.

“We’re hoping a local club can provide people in exchange for a donation,” he says.

The event has a website, recently activated, for anyone with questions, wanting to register or volunteer. It’s at crashforcash.ca.

How it will turn out remains to be seen, but based on past experience, Persson is hoping for 200 – 250 vehicles registered, with attendance around 6,000.

What else? Impact Distributors is the “headline sponsor” of the event, Persson says. Hoss Clow will be the announcer. There’ll be a beer garden, and a Saturday night show by the band Drifting Highway.

Parking and camping will be available next door at the motocross lot. Overflow parking, Persson says, is being arranged on an empty lot near town, if needed, with a shuttle to the site.

Poster by Stephanie Shantal Romo Vejar

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