Annual demo derby draws record crowd

Over 1,000 people from fans to drivers were at this year’s Wheat Harvest Demolition Derby, on Saturday, September 12. For the New England Derby Promoter John (Popper) Plaggemeyer—who starts planning for the event in January—could not be more pleased with the amount of fans or the 53 vehicles that showed up for the derby.

New England’s Phillip Roller (right car) hits a car. (PHOTO BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald)
New England’s Phillip Roller (right car) hits a car.
(PHOTO BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

Over 1,000 people from fans to drivers were at this year’s Wheat Harvest Demolition Derby, on Saturday, September 12. For the New England Derby Promoter John (Popper) Plaggemeyer—who starts planning for the event in January—could not be more pleased with the amount of fans or the 53 vehicles that showed up for the derby.

“Everything went awesome, we had a good turnout for fans, we had a good car count, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” Plaggemeyer said.

Plaggemeyer works with the Midwest Derby Association, and also attends other area derbies during the season to promote the New England Derby. The Derby is a fundraiser for the New England Fire Department and the New England Booster Club.

Plaggemeyer, along with other workers, worked last week getting everything ready and preparing for the event. They started building the track on Tuesday, and worked the rest of the week on various tasks that needed to be finished before the last Derby of the season could be hosted on Saturday.

This year’s derby featured 11 full size/modified cars, 15 herby derby cars, 19 chain bang cars, and 8 pick up trucks. Roughly $10,000 was awarded as a payout split between all five features.

During a short intermission an ATV Barrel Race was performed by some people with the winner of the shortest time taking home $125. This feature was added two years ago for something to be going on during the short intermission and is definitely brings a fun source of entertainment to the fans.

For Ralph Krebs ,from Dickinson, and his brother Frank Krebs from Hardin, Mont., being in demolition derbies is part of a family tradition. Ralph started participating in derbies right out of college, and says he used his old family school car for his very first derby car.  Both brothers grew up in New England, and this year the brothers competed against each other in the Chain Bang category. Frank Krebs has been in demolition derbies as long as Ralph, if not longer since he has influenced his three sons and daughter into derby participation. Not only were the two brothers in the New England Derby this year, but their nephew Austin Maershbecker, and Frank’s son Cory Krebs were also in this year’s derby.

Ralph Krebs is the one who came up with the idea of the ATV Barrel Race,which many of his family members also participated in. Ralph took first place in the ATV Race this year. Ralph enjoys the friendly family competition, and enjoys the togetherness that a demolition derby can bring.

“You get your buddies together, and you’re visiting and you’re doing things together. My family comes over and helps paint the car, and we get together afterwards. Frank and I the last few years started whoever wins has to buy lunch after wards,” Ralph Krebs said.

John (Popper) Plaggemeyer would like to thank these people for their hard work and dedication to the derby: The New England Fire Department, New England Ambulance, Hettinger County Sheriff Department, City of New England, New England Tiger Booster Club, New England boys basketball team, Adrian Kathrein, Renee Plaggemeyer, Shari Wolf, Scott Schmidt, Shawn Wolf, Craig and Hayden Turner, Levi and Dani Krebs, Schwartz Construction, and Hanson Plumbing and Excavating.

Plaggemeyer would like to give a special thank you to Barry Bentrup for all of his hard work and the behind the scenes work that he does for the derby. Also to Lyle at SWG for the use of the land by SWG, without him the derby could not take place.

Plaggemeyer would also like to thank the sponsors who donate money to the derby, and to the drivers, because they are the ones who put the show on.

“A lot of people are involved with it (the derby), they help when they can and I tell them I appreciate it. I apologize if I missed anyone to give thanks to.  If I didn’t have everybody around here I couldn’t make this work. It’s all a team effort, “ Plaggemeyer said.

Derby Winners: Full size/Modified cars: (1st) Jordan Simek, (2nd) Eric Ridl, (3rd)  Jordan Bachler, (4th) Scott Nauman, (5th) Phillip Roller. The payout to the First place winner in this feature was $3,000.

Herby Derby: (1st) Andrew Schirado, (2nd) Jamie Wock, (3rd) Kane Hanson.

Chain Bang: (1st) Trenton Fisher, (2nd) Frank Krebs, (3rd) Jordan Simek, (4th) Alycia Eggers, (5th) Katherine Heidt.

Chain Bang Fun Run: (1st) place Ralph Krebs.

Pickup Trucks: (1st) place Dan Gass.

ATV Barrel Race: (1st) place Ralph Krebs.

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