Gearing up for the derby

Ponoka’s fun and speedy Downhill Derby is so popular that organizers can’t wait for this year’s event to start

Ponoka’s fun and speedy Downhill Derby is so popular that organizers can’t wait for this year’s event to start

Set for Saturday, Sept. 10 planners want to get the word out now that there is still time to get their registrations in and get their kids into a speedy soapbox.

The annual race is held on the 42 Avenue hill with soapboxes making some serious speed. Last year’s top speed was 41 km/h in a 30 km/h speed zone.

For those kids who have a thirst for speed, the derby is an ideal way to bond with parents and build a soapbox that suits their needs, explained Jennifer Heidt, committee member with the derby. “The idea is that it gives parents and kids a chance to put some creativity into a car.”

Kits are available, or parents and their kids can build their own as long as they meet the specifications/regulations of the derby.

If last year was any indication, 34 kids came to compete, Heidt feels this year will be as busy for the fun and friendly competition. The derby is one of those nostalgic experiences that many folks remember from back in the day, said Heidt, and this experience also gives parents and kids hands on work together.

Typically racers are divided into three age groups with trophies going to the top racers in each group. But every kid will get a special derby t-shirt for their participation. Plus, a best in show ribbon will be awarded to the soapbox with the best decorations. Information on the derby can be found on the Facebook page: Ponoka Downhill Derby or at

Registration forms and soapbox specifications can also be picked up at Alberta Flares in the Southwest Industrial Park. All cars must go through a safety inspection and can be done ahead of the race if needed. Heidt says planners are there to help in case there are any questions and to provide support for the soapbox construction.

Early bird registration fee before Aug. 19 is $25 and between Aug. 21 and Sept. 2 is $40. Sept. 2 is the last day to register and each racer gets the t-shirt, lunch and a drink.


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