Babez & Boys team makes fastest run of the day; Andrew Mayes wins longest push award

Despite a visit from Mother Nature for qualifying on Saturday, the sun was out in full force, along with a crowd for the annual Handcar Derby on the tracks of Folsom on Sunday to support a local tradition that continues to showcase the city’s deep roots in railroad history. 

This was the 31st year for the Folsom Handcar Derby, an event that continues to be presented by the Folsom, El Dorado, Sacramento Historical Association (FEDSHRA). The event takes place on the tracks running parallel to East Bidwell Street on a stretch that spans that of Folsom’s Broadstone Marketplace, which certainly saw a boost in business and exposure Sunday as the derby saw a strong turnout of spectators and participants alike.


“This was one of the best turnouts I have seen in a longtime,” said Bill Anderson, longtime Folsom resident and member of the Folsom, El Dorado, Sacramento Historical Railroad Association. “Saturday, we had to deal with weather a bit but that’s nothing new for us, we have done this in rain and hail at times. But Sunday, the turnout was great to see along with the weather.”

Folsom Times Video: Experience the speed and intensity of a run of the 2024 Folsom Handcar Derby

At the Folsom Handcar Derby rolled its way into its fourth decade, many of all ages came out to spectate and take in a bit of history and friendly competition from the sidelines. On the tracks, others came out ready for business as they pushed and pumped their way into contention for the crown of their appropriate division. 


“We’ve always made safety our number one priority at this event,” Anderson said. “We can now say we have done it for 31 years without anyone getting hurt on the tracks, it was a fun day for everyone involved.”

The Folsom Handcar Derby has gone nearly non-stop through years of the past three decades. It only took a hiatus in 2020-2021 during the pandemic, returning to full action last year. During those years they have competed in inclement weather, including heavy rains, cold as well as scalding hot temperatures. Sunday, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.


The final roster Sunday produced a total of 23-particpants in the pushers contest, nearly double that of 2023. It also saw 16 different handcar teams that consist of five people each and 10 quadripede teams that consist teams of two each. 


Saturday was orientation day. Participants had the opportunity to practice and go over all the safety policies and procedures. All groups were required to complete a full racing pass by the end of the day to be able to join the competition Sunday where things became serious business.

Sunday’s competition began with the pushers contest where contestants compete against one another in a battle of strength and distance, pushing an 850-pound handcar, similar to activity you see in the strongest men and women competitions.


In the Women’s Light Weight class, Maddie Stewart pushed Bill Anderson of the Folsom, El Dorado, Sacramento Historical Railroad Associationfor a distance of 101 feet, 9 inches. Sherry Toutges was second in the results with a push of 81 feet, 2 inches, Sopia Oreno was third with a distance of 70 feet, 3 inches to secure the podium spot. 

Women’s Middle Weight results were topped by Kelly Swanson with a push of 113 feet, 10 inches. Kirra Putman was second with 103 feet, 1 inch. Tiffany Erickson rounded out the top three in the class with 99 feet, 4 inches. 

The Open Light Weight division was won by Logan Oreno with a push of 220 pounds to 173 feet, 5 inches, followed by Jon Holmberg at 164 pounds for 135 feet, 3 inches. Larry Fritz came in third with a push of 198 pounds to a distance of 134 feet, 6 inches. 

Spencer Hubert was the sole competitor in the Open Middle Weight class, pushing 199 pounds a distance of 154 feet, 2 inches. Chris Cotham was the sole entry in the Open Light Heavy Weight class where he pushed 197 pounds to 173 feet.

In the Open Heavy Weight Class, Eric Slupianek took first place with a 178 foot push. Zack Powell was second with 215 pounds for a distance of 176 feet, five inches. Ken Benedict pushed 212 pounds to 156 feet, one inch for third place. 

In the Open Super Heavy Weight Class, Andrew Mayes pushed 326 feet to 212 feet, three inches which was the longest push of the day. Mike Major was second with 351 pounds to 208 feet. Russell Gardner pushed 296 pounds to 186 feet.

When it came to the traditional handcar competitions, the first class was the Seniors Division where two teams battled. In the end it was the Over the Hill and Still Pumpin’ team of Gary Putman, Don Patterson, Dennis McDonald, Brad Donaldson and Michael Varin taking the with with a time of 36.538. Second place went to the team known as the Gracious Grannies who scored a time of 38.427. The ‘grannies’ consisted of Sara Shadrick, Shirly Isola, Ellen Putnam, Gail Henry Parks and Bonnie Wagner. 

The San Juan High School division was claimed by the Mighty Alumni Spartans, which was made up of Gayle Gaylord, Sue Sackett, Patricia Burdge and Patricia Schmid and turned a time of 30.909.  Class of 74 at San Juan was second place. The team made up of Rick Engvall, Gary Camp, Lary Fritz, Dave Patterson and Beverly Ratzlaff pumped their way to a 38.253.

In the Coed Division, Team PSVRR, including Tiffany Erickson, John Holmberg, Mark Bartlett, Andrew Mayes and Sherry Toutges took first place with a time of 31.759. Second place went to the We Are Family tea of Josh Brown, Shelby Brown and Elaine Zimmer with a 34.631. 

The fastest overall run of the event came in the Coed Elite division when Babez and Boyz pushed an impressive 26.545 second run. The team included Art Finch, Suzanne Oyoung, Lori Tebo, Jerome Jeffries an Victory Goodwin. Second place went to the VSP Blurred Vision Coed team of Dan Bocinski. Carmaine Cotham, Victor Goodwin, Jr., Mindy Janski and. Chris Cotham who pumped their way to a 31.293.

In the Women’s Division, team Hot Wheels took the win with a 34.762 earned by team members Delana Treadway, Suzanne O’Young, Makyala Putman, Kirra Putman and Chrissy Putman Second place went to Girls on the Rails where members including Shannon Powell and Suzanne Oyoung, along with a pair of unknown names pumped to a 35.289. the VSP Blurred Vision Women’s team of Carmaine Cotham, Mindy Janski, Pim Cargile, Vishnu Subbaraj and Sherry Toutges came in third with a 36.944.

In the Open Division, last year’s winners the Steam Punks were tops again. The team that included Mike Hight, Michael Major, Chris Shelton, Eike Hamilton and Anthony Summers pumped to a 27.624 over Pump It Like You Stole It where Eric Slupienek, Mike Mulligan, Colton Hanson, Nate Sloan and Will Scott pumped to a 29.414. Troy’s Boys, including Logan Oreno, Zack Powell, Troy Putman, Michael Oreno and Dillon Bergstrom were third with a 30.079.

The Open Elite Division had the VSP Blurred Vision Men’s team topping the results with a 26.649 earned by the collaborative efforts of Dan Bocinski, Victor Goodwin, Chris Cotham, Jerome Jeffries and Art Finch. Just Us Five, a team consisting of Jerome Jeffries, Dan Bocinski, Stan Wilkins, Victor Goodwin and Art Finch was second place with a 29.779. 

In quadripede competition, the Coed Division was won by the Sparton Twosome of Sara Shadrick Sales and Gary Putman with a time of 36.920. Adventure Team Reunited #2 of Russell Garner and Kelly Swenson was second place with a 37.847.  

The Women’s Class in quadripede was won by the Choo Choo Crew of Makyala Putman, Kirra Putman with a time of 36.920. Team PSVRR members Tiffany Erickson and Sherry Toutges were second place with a 43. 422. The team known as The Sisters, made up of Huixing Feng, Teresa Correia were third with a 49.725.  In the Men’s Class, it was the unnamed members of the team only known as The Wise Guys who took the win with a 35.896. The team known as the VSP Soul Train made up of Dan Bocinski and Victor Goodwin were second with a 36.445.

In addition to the competition Sunday, the FEDSHRA offered historical information booths and activities for youngsters to enjoy. The mission of FEDSHRA is to educate the general public by preserving and maintaining railroad history in the City of Folsom, County of El Dorado, County of Sacramento and related connections. Sunday’s event was just one of many different events they organization puts on annually to educate the community and fundraise to continue their efforts. 

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.