Lions Club welcomes Soap Box Derby racers


Jun. 13—Competition and camaraderie were the name of the game as Soap Box Derby racers of all ages and experience levels competed for a place at the First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships to be hosted in Akron next month.

Josh Meyer, race director of the Owensboro Lions Club Soap Box Derby, said during the event Saturday at Ben Hawes Park that three divisions of cars were competing to race at the nationals event.

“There is stock, super stock and masters and the winner of each class here today gets to race at the nationals in Akron, Ohio,” he said.

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The Owensboro Lions club began sponsoring the regional race in 2001, which is open to competitors that call the racetrack at Ben Hawes Park, 400 Booth Field Road, their home tack.

“There is a track in Bowling Green and Madisonville and Hopkinsville, so if you live closer to there, you have to race there, but if you live in Owensboro or Daviess County, you are going to race here,” Meyers said.

Nolan King, 13, who races in the super stock class, said this is his first year competing in Soap Box Derby.

“We saw it in the paper about two, three months ago, and dad said, ‘hey, you guys want to do it?’ ” King said. “One of the cool things is I did pinewood derby cars and this is like a full-size version of that.”

Sisters Cecilia and Mary Lou Thompson, ages 10 and 8, are also enjoying their first year of Soap Box Derby competition.

“Our poppa is part of the Lions Club and he has two cars and me and my sister race,” Cecilia said. “It is just fun, it is like a roller coaster going down that hill.”

Meyer said 25 kids were racing this year, which is less than the usual number of about 40, which participate in the Owensboro Lions Club Soap Box Derby during a typical year.

“Our numbers are down because of the pandemic,” he said. “We do a lot of planning early on in the year, but of course early on in the year who knew what was going to happen.”

The Lions Club would like to see about 50 kids racing during the event next year, Meyer said.

In addition to its June race, the Lions Club also hosts “rally races” at different times throughout the year, which are open to drivers from all over the country.

“We had a rally race this past May and we had kids from New York, Georgia, Illinois and Tennessee,” Meyer said.

For those that would like to see what Soap Box Derby racing is all about, which is open to individuals age 7 through 20, the track at Ben Hawes Park hosts “open track” days from March until November.

“Anybody that wants to try it, we have a ton of cars here,” Meyer said. “Just give me a call before that open track date and I would be happy to meet them out here and help get them down the hill.”

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837



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