Did you know there is a Soap Box Derby in Huntersville? Do you know what a Soap Box Derby is?
It's a national youth racing program that was established in 1934. A world championship is held at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio, every August.
Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment. Myron Scott, a newsman in Dayton, Ohio, covered a race among cars built by local boys in his home community. He was so impressed that he acquired a copyright for the idea and began developing a similar program on a national scale.
The first All-American race was in Dayton in 1934. In 1936 the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. Through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration, a permanent track site for the youth racing classic was built, and Derby Downs became a reality.
Every year since 1936 (except during World War II), young drivers from the United States and around the world have gathered in Akron with the cars they have built and driven to victory in their local communities.
There are three racing divisions in most local and the All-American competition: one for beginner drivers ages 8-13, one for beginners ages 10-17, and one for drivers ages 10-17 with advanced creativity and design skills. Cars are built from kits with step-by-step construction.
The Huntersville chapter hosts both rally and local races. Rally races attract out-of-state drivers from as far away as Florida, Ohio and Kentucky. Local races attract local drivers from Mecklenburg, Iredell, Cabarrus, Union, Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Catawba, Anson, Stanly and Rowan counties and from York, Lancaster, Chester and Cherokee counties in South Carolina.
Today you can catch a local race, "The Thrill on the Hill," in the Huntersville Business Park beside Joe Gibbs Racing. The next race will be April 17-18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On May 15 and 16, drivers will race again in the Huntersville Business Park. Then May 28-29, the Squirrel Box Derby will be an open competition with no entry fee.
If you are interested in giving Soap Box Derby racing a try without building your own, you can rent or lease a car for any race. For more information about cars and coming events, call Ken Myers at 803-366-4060 or visit www.huntersvillesbd.org.
To those observing Easter, I hope you enjoy this day of celebration surrounded by friends and family. It is a day of egg hunts, goody-filled baskets, pretty dresses, hats and bonnets, suits and ties, baked ham and bunnies. My family and I are spending the morning at the Time Warner Arena, celebrating the Resurrection with about 10,000 other people at Elevation Church. Now that is one big party!
Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter.