buck trucks, April 28, 2014

A truck plows through the mud bog at Buck Motorsports Park in Providence Township Saturday night.

Bill Bare grew up at Buck Motorsports Park.

"Saturday nights when we were in (Solanco) high school, that was our hangout," said the owner of SMP Aluminum Polishing & Mobile Truck Washing in Quarryville.

Now 38 and a father of three, Bare is still going to The Buck.

"No matter how old you are — male or female — they've got a show for everyone," he said. "And it's local. You don't have to drive two hours to get there."

Saturday night was opening night of the 2014 season at Buck Motorsports Park on Route 272 in Providence Township.

(RELATED: Slideshow of opening night)

This is the 40th year the track will serve up its popular brand of mud-slinging, metal-crunching, eardrum-busting fun.

"We've been growing steadily," said Mike Hoff of Hanover, who has owned the park for 27 years.

"Even when we were in the recession, we kept right on growing."

As proven by the addition of a new grandstand at the park this year, capable of holding an additional 500 people.

"We had six or seven standing-room-only events last year, so we had to put in more seats," Hoff said.

The park, which sits on 32 acres, can hold about 5,000 spectators.

Hoff figures that's about how many showed up Saturday for opening night.

"It was a good crowd," he said.

The 2014 season at The Buck features 23 events — including last Saturday's — held every Saturday through the first weekend in October.

In keeping with Hoff's vision for the park, the events are varied.

"They're all motorsports, but if you're a gear-head, there's different varieties of motorsports," said Hoff, 65, who competed in tractor-pull events at The Buck before he bought the park.

"We like to mix it up so we don't wear out our fans."

There are mud-bog races, tractor pulls, diesel-truck races, and, of course, demolition derbies, among other events.

"People love to watch the demolition derbies," Hoff said. "It's definitely a fan favorite."

And we're not just talking about people smashing up cars.

Back by popular demand this season is the combine demolition derby, scheduled for July 26.

Sitting in the heart of Lancaster County farm country, it's perfectly fitting, Hoff said, to have farmers show up at the track to duke it out with some of their harvesting machinery.

"There are quite a few locals who will go get the old combine they have sitting out behind the barn, get it running and bring it in for the derby," Hoff said. "It's a lot of fun."

Fostering local interest in motorsports is a driving force behind Hoff's business plan, he said.

He wants to give people who live close to the park who are interested in racing and pulling a place to get started.

That's why so many events at Buck Motorsports Park feature novice classes.

"Everybody starts somewhere, and they don't all start with $50,000 investments," he said.

Lampeter-Strasburg High School graduate Zane Rettew frequently went to Buck Motorsports Park as a wide-eyed kid.

Now he owns his own monster truck — The Stinger — and competes in events all over the country.

Rettew is scheduled to drive The Stinger at The Buck July 19, in one of two monster truck events at the park this season.

"Stinger is coming back to The Buck!" Rettew posted on his company's Facebook page. "July 19 we're going to be flying high."

The Aug. 23 monster truck event will feature the legendary Big Foot — the granddaddy of all the monster trucks.

As always, all events at Buck Motorsports Park are alcohol-free.

"That's part of our family-friendly atmosphere," Hoff said. "We want everyone to have a good time, and we want people to feel like they can bring their kids."

P.J. Reilly is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer and outdoors columnist who covers municipal government. He can be reached at preilly@lnpnews.com or (717) 481-6138. You can also follow @PeeJayReilly on Twitter.