This is not The Little Rascals' Go-Cart Derby. The cars are not built from trash cans and old bird cages, and they do not have engines or super-chargers.
The cars in the Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby are built from kits and propelled by gravity. Kids ages 8 to 17 will be racing on Sunday, June 12, in downtown Colorado Springs (on Costilla Street, between Wahsatch and El Paso) for a chance to compete at the All-American Soap Box Derby in lovely Akron, Ohio.
"The goals of the Soap Box Derby Program are to promote families working together to teach youngsters some of the basic skills of workmanship along with the spirit of competition and the perseverance to continue a project to completion," according to the Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby website.
The races are run in three divisions, which are determined by the type of car used in the race: The "Stock" division is for kids between the ages of 8 and 14, and is the smallest of the three types of cars. The "Super Stock" and "Masters" divisions are for kids ages 10 to 17. The kids have ordered and built their cars from the kits purchased from All-American Soap Box Derby.
Using kits, rather than having kids build the cars on their own, is to keep the races fair.
"The one thing that the Soap Box Derby is trying to do, of course, is level the playing field," says local Soap Box Derby director Glenn Scott. Nobody wants a repeat of the 1973 national competition, where the winner (who was representing Boulder, actually) was stripped of his title after they found an electromagnet in the nose of his car.
No modifications are allowed, but the quality of the construction of each car will set them apart. Those who have paid attention to alignment, balance, placement of weight, and other various details will have more of an advantage in the race. The driving skills of the kids will also have an impact on the outcome of the race.
The winner of each division will get an expenses-paid trip to Akron to compete for the national championship. Those who win there get scholarships, apparel, a trophy and a chance to appear on Good Morning America.
The race is open to the public and begins at 8:30 a.m. Admission is free, and food vendors will be available.