Danie Harrelson Pilot & Today Staff Steamboat Springs It was a day for the little guys. Pint-size rookies and their hand-built cars headlined a day of racing, riding and roaring past the finish line Saturday. Youth in Motion featured children on roller skates and mountain and dirt bikes. A morning and afternoon lineup of scrimmages, demonstrations and competitions provided ample opportunities for youngsters to show off their talent. The inaugural event expanded on the annual Steamboat Springs Soap Box Derby, but the derby still ruled the day. Melissa Campagna took top honors. The 12-year-old coasted to a first-place finish after squaring off against10-year-old Eddie Brenner. She'll join more than 400 nationwide winners at the 65th annual All-American Soap Box Derby on July 27 in Akron, Ohio. Brenner finished a close second, followed by Patrick Weston in third. He and Campagna went head-to-head in the derby's final two heats. Campagna advanced from the challenger's bracket with one loss and Brenner emerged from the winner's brackets with a spotless record. Campagna's faster time in the second heat secured her victory. Heats consist of two runs between two cars; the driver with the lowest combined time wins the heat. During each heat, cars and drivers switch lanes and wheels before the second run to ensure fairness. Twenty young drivers posted a total of 34 heats. Saturday was also a day for showing up siblings. The winner and runner-up had older brothers in the derby. Campagna's brother, 13-year-old Christian, participated in the derby last year. Little sister decided she needed to join in the fun this year after watching him race. She didn't completely follow her brother's example -- she settled on a pink car with a toothy smile and big lips. Brenner's brother, 14-year-old Andy Morrell, was a third-year derby veteran. He spent the afternoon cheering Eddie on to his second-place win. The Steamboat Springs Rotary Club sponsored the derby, which pairs youths with adult mentors who help them build and race their cars. Dozens of parents, mentors and spectators showed up to watch the children and their cars roll down Rockies Way. "These kids really made the event," said Brooke Lachman, teen programs coordinator for the city of Steamboat Springs. A committee of parents, rotary and city representatives dreamed up Youth in Motion this year to give youngsters additional opportunities to experience the spirit of derby competition and fun. -- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203 or e-mail dharrelson@steamb...
Soap Box Derby turns into all-day event
Saturday, May 17, 2003