Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Day at the Soap Box Derby in Roanoke

The long road downhill starts the Soap Box Derby. (Conner McKinney-right-won this heat.)
A whole crew gets the racers ready.
And they're off.
At the finish line.
Preparing the car.
William Mowles won the 1950 D.C. Derby.
This kid's mama was thinking ahead to the heat.
Olivia Dickinson boards her machine.
Olivia Dickinson: the face of a champ.
Official steps on the release and the cars go to racing.
This is a steering wheel.
Racers pass the crowd at the finish line.
Katelyn Harris raced with a broken arm.
Katelyn dismounts after a win.
Boys find a cool place out of the sun.
If you thought the FRONT wasn't everywhere, this proves it is.
The first Soap Box Derby in the Roanoke Valley since 2000 was held today in Roanoke County's Waldron Park and it drew two dozen competitors and a few hundred spectators on a hot day that got a little rain relief late.

These events are a lot of fun to photograph because they feature the pageantry of a sport and the freshness and enthusiasm of young children and their parents who are doting on them. I was there with my friend Susan Ayers, who wrote a story on the Derby for Play-by-Play magazine and whose own enthusiasm for her stories is affecting. She's fun to tag along with at events like this.

This Derby was put together by Del Waldron, who apparently had four granddaughters running in it (interesting because the original SBD was boys only). He had run the Derbys in this area in previous years. The course is paved and quite nice and the cars cost between $400 and $600. Most of the kids had sponsors to help take care of those costs.

Here's what it looked like. The Web site for the derby is

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