‘Heavy Hitters’ derby action, filming begins Saturday

Dave Marner

Admission to the first of six scheduled “Heavy Hitters” demolition derbies being filmed at Owensville’s lower Memorial Park arena on Saturday will be $5 for adults. 

Children under age 10 will be admitted free, according to Cathy Lahmeyer, an Owensville Ward 1 alderman who was part of a planning committee which met Friday to assist the Gasconade County Fair Association prepare for the event.

“The excitement and enthusiasm for our community is incredible,” said Lahmeyer.

VFW Post 6133 of Owensville will be manning the beer garden for the event and concessions featuring “fair-type” food will be served.

“We’re trying to make it the whole community,” said Mayor John Kamler of the effort to offer local civic groups and clubs the chance to sell food for their own benefit over the next two months.

Kamler said the Fair Association will buy the food and groups volunteering to sell concessions will be able to keep their profits once food costs are recouped by the Fair Association.

Kamler and Lahmeyer said they’ve invited mayors from surrounding communities to become involved in the planning for the derby shows scheduled to be recorded starting at 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 11 and 25, Sept. 1, 15 and 29, and Oct. 13. Oct. 6 is a make-up date if any of the scheduled events are called off due to rain.

The production, scheduled to air on the History Channel once completed, features a documentary-style look at demolition derby contestants “The Belle Boys” versus “The Outsiders.”

Members of the cast staged a Friday evening showdown in downtown Belle as they traded paint on Main Street as cameras for Pilgrim Media Group filmed them careening against each other.

Kamler commented Monday on concerns expressed in the public comments of various social meeting platforms since an outburst of vulgarity took place during the Gasconade County Fair in late July.

“They’re interested in putting on a family show,” said Kamler during the city’s Board of Aldermen meeting. “I don’t know if it was the alcohol or excitement.”

Nick Baxter, president of the Fair Association, said afterward that fair officials demanded, and received, a public apology from one of the cast members who addressed the crowd over the arena’s public address system in a crude manner.

Baxter said “there was an unfortunate incident” and the person responsible apologized. “They want to put on a family show,” said Baxter. “They made him apologize.”

Red Oak Road will be closed into the park between the gates each day of the filming. Designated parking will be available on the hill behind right-center field of Memorial Field, Winter Park, and the Winter Water Park parking lot.

Organizers hope to have 500 to 600 people in attendance at each show.

“I’m getting more excited now,” said Kamler.

Two of the show’s producers have been in town this past week and Kamler said commercials promoting the event are being prepared on the fly. 

“The big push is make sure we have people in the seats,” said Kamler. “I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve been on the phone but it’s a great way to showcase our town.”

He thanked Lahmeyer and her husband, Tom, for their efforts at putting the planning committee together.

“Bring ear plugs,” Kamler suggested, noting some of the cars competing will have 600 horse-power motors.