Derby heads to Hayden

Soap box drivers ages 10 to 17 welcome

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Past Event

Yampa Valley Soap Box Derby

  • Sunday, May 25, 2008, time TBA
  • (One-off place), Chicago, IL
  • Not available / $35

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— Soap Box Derby racers, start your engines - or your downhill descent, anyway.

The youth racing program is headed to Hayden next month. The Yampa Valley Soap Box Derby program has existed for seven years, but there was no local race last year, race director John Mertz said. Racers competed in Dillon near Silverthorne.

The race was in Oak Creek the two previous years and in Steamboat Springs before that, Mertz said. Steamboat has too much traffic for the event, he said, and the site on Main Street in Oak Creek wasn't ideal.

When this year's Dillon race was canceled, racers were asked to go to Denver. That's when Mertz decided to bring it back to Routt County.

The group plans to race May 25 on Crandall Avenue next to Hayden Cemetery, he said.

The downhill slant of Crandall, the smooth pavement and the location between the cemetery and an industrial park make the site promising, Mertz said.

The town's Parks and Recreation Department will ask the Town Board on April 17 for permission to close the road, department director Kathy Hockett said. One entrance to Vista Verde Drive, which is a loop off Crandall, will remain open. The section with the race will be closed from about 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Mertz said.

If it works out, Mertz said he hopes to keep the race there.

"It's also a great opportunity for Hayden to share in some of the limelight Steamboat's always had," Mertz said.

He said he expects 20 to 25 participants. The event will be a Super Stock Division race for 10- to 17-year-old boys and girls. The combined weight of the car and racer can't exceed 230 pounds, Mertz said.

Racers can build cars with kits available through All-American Soap Box Derby or refurbish old cars. Participants should set aside four to six hours to build a car, the national organization states on its Web site. Mertz said kits cost about $475 with shipping.

"It's a great opportunity for kids to go out and get sponsors," he said.

The derby also is looking for sponsors and race day volunteers. Putting the event together costs about $4,000, Mertz said.

Hayden Parks and Recreation plans to sponsor one driver. The town will pay for the racer to refurbish a used car, Hockett said, which costs about $150.

The winner of May's race heads for free to the championship in July in Akron, Ohio, Mertz said.

"Yampa Valley Soap Box Derby has an all-expense paid trip for two - airfare, hotel and meals - for the kid and parent to go to Akron if they win," he said.

Mertz said he hopes to draw racers from Routt and Moffat counties. Hockett said she thinks the race will be good for Hayden.

"I think anything that supports the kids and activities is very beneficial, and it helps our community pull together when different organizations help with events like this," she said.

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