Kids are soap stars at Chattanooga derby

Kids are soap stars at Chattanooga derby

May 17th, 2009 by Laura Galbraith in News

Staff Photo by Tim Barber Samantha Whitson, near, tucks alongside her competitor Austin Anderson at the start of their heat in the second annual Soap Box Derby on Saturday at the Redoubt Soccer Complex on Bonny Oaks Drive.

Even in a world dominated by Xboxes and new technological developments, there is still room for good, old-fashioned fun.

On Saturday, 27 local kids competed in the second annual Chattanooga Area Soap Box Derby at the Redoubt Soccer Complex off of Bonny Oaks Drive.

"Kids race all around the country, and some even (race) from around the world," said Michael Stewart, the founder and main organizer behind the Chattanooga Area Soap Box Derby. "I got it started last year. It had been here, but it had been about a 20-year absence."

The local Derby is a gravity-powered racing event where kids ages 8 to 17 compete in Stock and Super Stock racing divisions.

The winners of the local events race in the world championships in Akron, Ohio, in July 2009.

Samantha Whitson, 13, was one of only two females competing in the race.

"At first it was really scary, but once you get used to it, you're kind of just cruising down there, and you really don't notice that you're scared," she said.

The racing cars are constructed from a kit that can be purchased through the All-American Soap Box Derby Web site.

"If you want to just get it together, you can probably do it in four to six hours. If you want to get really technical with the alignment and making sure that everything is all right, (it takes) a couple of weekends," said Mr. Stewart.