Nearly 20 years after the last last race car was shuttered away, 24 competitors are eagerly gearing up for a long-awaited derby revival this Saturday. on 17th Street, across from Columbus High School.
The River City Soap Box Derby is sponsored by Let’s Grow (STEAM)X, an organization that says it “is dedicated to providing a free, competitive educational platform that focuses on helping students utilize their most abundant resource...their IMAGINATION.”
The event, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include games, food and the main event — a high-speed race as competitors try to qualify for the All-American Soap Box Derby championship race in Akron, Ohio.
The first place winner will receive $300, a trophy and the local title for a year. Second and third places will receive trophies and smaller cash prizes. All racers will receive a certificate of completion and a River City driver’s license.
Let’s Grow (STEAM)X purchased materials for the cars with donations and then invited children to help build them.
“Typically, soap box derby has been a family activity, where families go out and purchase cars for their children and they enter them into a soap box derby race in their area,” Robbie Branscomb, co-founder of Let’s Grow (STEAM)X, told the Ledger-Enquirer. “What we were able to identify very quickly was that, with the cars starting at $700, almost $800 per car, it wasn’t going to be an activity that every child could participate in if it required the parents to purchase it.”
Twenty-seven organizations are co-sponsoring the event, according to information provided by Let’s Grow (STEAM)X. The list includes Columbus Parks and Recreation, Muscogee Marshal’s Office, Fountain City Classic, Columbus State University, Columbus Technical College, Midtown Inc., Liberty Utilities and Uptown Inc.
Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE