It was 1933 in Dayton, Ohio. In those days, the media that currently distract our children was not prevalent in society, so the children had to entertain themselves. So began the now national event called the soapbox derby. A group of children, who had nothing more to do, decided to scour their garages and trash piles and they made the first soapbox derby cars. They used wheels from old strollers and wheelbarrows.
They begged for orange crates from the grocer and stole Mom’s soapboxes. If a child was lucky, he could scrounge up a piece of sheet metal. After they put together all their pieces and parts, they raced down the biggest hill that they could find and, in the end, one driver has crowned the winner.
Pretty soon, children from all over the state were coming to Dayton, Ohio to get into the action. Over the years, the competition has grown fierce and the children have gotten even more competitive. Children, between the age of six and sixteen, work with their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents to build the fastest car.
Kits are available for purchase and will help to ensure the success of the car. Kits can be purchased online or at craft and outlet stores for reasonable rates. Still, some families choose to make their cars from scratch, trying to make the best and the fastest car. Construction clinics are offered in many cities and can be very useful to the novice builder. The good thing about soapbox derby racing is that the cars must be built by the kids. Parents can help but the children must do the majority of the work in order to qualify.
The aerodynamics of soapbox derby cars have been tested by many an expert, each trying to learn what will make these machines fly. Experts have studies crosswinds, streamlined shapes, and even wind tunnel testing, trying to develop the perfect car.
Believe it or not, there are many factors that make the best and the fastest car. Not only do teams have to worry about aerodynamics, but they also have to consider the weight of the driver, the suspension, the size of the wheels, the axles, the alignment, and also the curve of the driver’s back. In order to become one with the vehicle, the driver must arch their body toward their feet in an attempt to reduce wind resistance. A misplaced elbow or top of a helmet at an odd angle can cost a driver the race, so great care is taken.
Soapbox derbies can be great fun for the whole family. Events are held all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Many families still make the journey each year to the famous races in Dayton, Ohio after competing locally and winning. The excitement and jubilation that the children feel both before and after a race make the whole day worthwhile.
While you won’t hear, Gentlemen, start your engines, at this race, you will see the smiles on the faces of the children who participate. It’s guaranteed to get your blood pumping.While you won’t hear