A long-standing tradition that takes place on the rails of Folsom is back again to celebrate its 31st year in the community.  It’s the annual Folsom Handcar Derby and its happening May 4 and 5.

Since 1991, the Folsom, El Dorado, and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association has hosted the annual Folsom Handcar Derby on the former Southern Pacific Placerville Branch, where local businesses, groups, and charities compete to get their handcar across the finish line in the fastest time. 


The event also features competitions for individual strength and endurance, and it’s the only known event in the world to feature quadripede racing.  They encourage everyone to bring the family out to watch this fun on the rails and also encourage all to gather up their friends, family or coworkers for some “good-natured competition,” as the call it.

Saturday, May 4th is a practice day where each team is required to attend a safety orientation and make one full timed run down the course.


Sunday, May 5th, the day starts off at 9:00 am with the pusher’s contest where anyone wanting to push the 850 lb handcar for distance is welcome to compete.  Competitors are separated by various weight classes in each of the men’s and women’s categories.  Competition picks up immediately after with the handcar races as each team of 5 has one shot to be the best in their division and set the fastest time. 

A handcar team consists of one pusher to get the handcar started from a dead stop and four pumpers to propel it down the tracks.  Multiple divisions including men, women, co-ed and masters will face off and pump the handcar down the 800-foot track with times separated electronically by 1/1000th of a second.  


The final event is two contestants piloting the world’s only racing quadripede down the course.  This is the 10th year for the quadripede event, with the past nine years resulting in a huge success for participants and fans alike.  The day ends with the medal awards ceremony for all of the competing divisions.


Those interested in entering the derby can find the official entry form online HERE

The derby takes place along East Bidwell Street at Broadstone Parkway near the Broadstone Marketplace. Entries have officially opened for the event.  Those interested in signing up to compete can find sign up forms on the organizations website by clicking HERE or visiting them at www.fedshra.org. Watch for more details to come as handcar race day gets closer

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.