Record field anticipated for 20th running of Quincy Derby in June

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Longtime Quincy Derby director Ray Wilson says there is "an excellent chance" this year's race will top the 226 entries in 2019. | MRN file photo by Teresa Hunter

QUINCY — Organizers are anticipating what could be a record field for the 20th annual running of the Quincy Derby.

Registration opened recently for the June 14-15 event, sponsored by the Quincy Optimist Club and formerly known as the Quincy Soap Box Derby. Longtime director Ray Wilson says there is “an excellent chance” of topping the 226 entries in 2019.

Adding to the possibility of a record number of entrants was a recent purchase of 12 cars from organizers of a former derby in Racine, Wis.

“I know we will fill those new cars, plus we are expecting to have about 25 additional entries in the Super Kids class,” said Wilson, who has served as derby director since 2012.

Wilson also said there are no plans to run the Super Stock and Stock divisions on separate days, which would turn the event into a three-day operation.

Since the inception of the Super Kids class (for those with physical and/or mental challenges) in 2015, that division has been run on the Friday of race weekend. The Super Stock, Stock and Masters Elite divisions run on Saturday.

“At this point, we plan on keeping derby weekend’s two-day format intact,” Wilson said. “The people who run it have been involved for a long time and run it very efficiently. I’m confident we’ll be able to handle a record number of (Super Stock, Stock and Masters Elite) entries and still be done by late Saturday afternoon. Everyone is excited about getting a record number of entries.”

The Quincy Derby already is the largest double-elimination event of its kind in the nation. Only the single-elimination All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio, is larger. The Quincy Derby might eventually surpass the Akron event in raw numbers. The Akron derby drew 323 kids for its 85th running last July.

The Super Kids division could see a record number of entries, with groups from Springfield, Jacksonville, St. Louis and Columbia (Mo.) already committed. 

The Super Kids division, which had a record 109 entrants in 2019, normally is broken into four brackets with four champions.

The name to watch in the Saturday portion of this year’s derby may be Kalli Mullen of Bluffs, who won her second Super Stock championship in 2023. Mullen, who will compete this spring as a 15-year-old, climbed to second in all-time derby victories en route to leading a girls sweep of the Super Stock, Stock and Masters Elite competitions. Audrey Robison (Stock) of Quincy and Corin Robinson (Masters Elite) of Carthage were the other girls’ champs in 2023. Robison has won back-to-back Masters Elite titles.

The girls own a 22-20 advantage in overall derby championships and have dominated the event in recent years. Girls have won seven of the nine titles since 2021 in the Super Stock, Stock and Master Elite classes.

Mullen’s 48-16 career record trails only derby hall of famer Jadyn Vogel, who retired from competition following the 2022 races with a record of 66-20. Vogel won six championships (all in Stock), four more than Mullen, Kaelyn Hess, Kayla Reichert, Logan Steinkoenig, Cooper Kleinkopf and Robinson.

Vogel (8), Mullen (6) and Hess (6) also lead in career final four finishes. The Super Kids career victory leaders following the 2023 competition find Alaina Obert (24-14), Nathan Martin (20-11), Michael Cornett (18-13) and Matthew Hess (18-14) leading the way.

Any questions about the derby should be directed to Wilson at (217) 491-3204.

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