Kids of all ages pushed their soapbox racers to the limit Saturday, Sept. 12 during the Downhill Derby on 42 Avenue.
One racer made it up to 41 km/h on a 30 km/h zone with his soapbox. Logan Heidt said he has been racing for several years now and he enjoyed getting up to a high speed. “It’s fun and it gives us kids a chance to race,” said Heidt.
His father, Ryan, added the event gives families an opportunity to work together on a fun project. “It’s fun and inexpensive,” said Ryan.
But for Heidt it comes down to one simple thing: “It’s racing.”
Co-organizer Greg Rowland said the derby came about as an economic development project for the Town of Ponoka 11 years ago but it has since grown to a fun, family day. It is also an opportunity to give kids some lifelong memories.
“I know I’d remember if I was in a derby like this,” Rowland said.
The Downhill Derby committee’s goal is to create lasting memories and create a family environment. While the committee does buy back old soapbox racers, some kids refuse to give them away.
“There’s quite a few kids that won’t let it go,” he explained of their desire to have the racer as a keepsake.
To help parents get involved the committee sells front-end steering units, which Rowland says can be tricky to put together. Next year planners intend to work with Red Deer College, which hosts a summer camp for kids to build racers.
This year three kids came from the program to race their soapboxes as their race was rained out, said Rowland. Planners put together a new division to accommodate the Red Deer racers.
Rowland is grateful to the residents for allowing the races to continue and for the committee for working many hours to keep the races going.
Rowland added that new starting lights and hydraulic ramps were developed by Peter Oakes of Alberta Flares. He said Oakes has been with the committee since its inception.
• First place, Division A – Reid Klimec
• Second place, Division A – Curtis McAfee
• First place, Division B – Logan Heidt
• Second place Division B – Jack Jones
• First place, Division C – Avery Klimec
• Second place, Division C – Brayden Jackson
• First place, Red Deer College Trades Camp Division – Noah Weir Chaba
• First place, Red Deer College Trades Camp Division – Michael Sharp