We will again be racing at the Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Track. A state highway relocation project adjacent to the park resulted in the abandonment of a long section of roadway on a hill. Through coordination with highway representatives and Warren County officials, the roadway has been preserved as part of the county park for development as a soap box derby track.
For those who are new to Soap Box Derby racing, welcome to a youth sporting program “as wholesome and American as apple pie.” Soap Box Derby came into existence as an organized sport 65 years ago when an enterprising news photographer in Dayton, Ohio saw several boys racing homemade cars down a street. The newspaper sponsored a race as a promotional activity, and it became an annual event. The race soon relocated to Akron, Ohio, and became a national competition between representatives of various cities who had earned the right to compete by winning a qualifying race contest in their hometown.
The sport is managed by the All-American Soap Box Derby organization. Approximately 130 cities around the United States and in several foreign countries hold local qualifying races under license from the national organization. Winners of these local races advance to represent the local city in the national championship in Akron, and winners of the national competition receive college scholarships.
Bowling Green has a long history of Soap Box Derby Racing, in the past a hair-raising event held on treacherously steep College Street. After a long dormancy, the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club resurrected our local race in 1998. Bowling Green welcomed the race with enthusiasm:
- 1998 – Largest new race city in the history of the national organization – 77 registered drivers
- 1999 – Largest increase in participation – 108 registered drivers
- 2000 – 5th largest local race in the world – 115 registered drivers
- 2001 – Tied for 4th largest local race in the world – 121 registered drivers
- 2002 – 3rd largest local race in the world – 138 registered drivers
- 2003 to 2013 - Still the 3rd largest local race in the world!!
The primary goal of Soap Box Derby is to provide young boys and girls an opportunity to spend time with a caring adult as they build their racer, to teach lessons about sportsmanship and self-confidence, and to provide kids with the thrill of competing in a racer they built themselves. Additionally, the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club uses all proceeds from the event to benefit local and national charities focused on children, in keeping with the Kiwanis mission statement “Young Children: Priority One.”
Racers are no longer built from scrounged parts. The cars are now constructed from official kits purchased through our race organization. We race all three divisions: stock, super stock and masters. The stock and super stock kits contain everything necessary for construction, and can be assembled in a day. The masters kits are more challenging, but the finished product is fantastic. As an alternative to buying a new kit, a driver may secure a used car, and completely disassemble and reassemble it. Although not required, we strongly recommend that you take advantage of one of our scheduled construction clinics where we will be available to answer questions and assist you with any assembly problems.
Soap Box Derby car kits may be ordered at any branch of BB&T. If you have a car kit from a previous race you would like to donate (so that a family unable to afford a new, out-of-the box car can share in the fun of Soap Box Derby racing), or if you are interested in purchasing a used car contact us!