Children and young adults in southcentral Kentucky are gearing up for the largest double-elimination Soap Box Derby competition in the world.
The 22nd annual BB&T All-American Soap Box Derby will be Friday and Saturday at Phil Moore Park in Warren County.
Race director Jacqueline Peterson said the event usually draws about 100 competitors.
“I can’t even think of another double-elimination tournament that compares,” she said. “It takes twice as long (as a single-elimination tournament), but it gets more kids out on the hill and it’s more fun for them.”
Peterson said she attributes the success of the local competition to the efforts of the Kiwanis Club, which organizes it.
“I think it’s mainly a lot of hard work and dedication and wanting as many kids to experience it as we can,” she said.
The Kiwanis Club maintains 60 to 70 soap box cars it can loan to youngsters who want to participate but don’t have one of their own.
Both days of the competition are free to attend as a spectator, according to Peterson.
“It is one of the few all-American kinds of family fun you can have that costs nothing,” she said.
The stock division competition, which features racers 7 to 13 years old, will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, Peterson said.
“Those kids get to race under the lights, which is super exciting for them,” she said.
The competition will continue Saturday, running from 7 a.m. to roughly 4 p.m. That day’s schedule will feature the conclusion of the stock division races, the super stock competition for ages 9 to 18 and the masters division for ages 10 to 20.
Saturday will also feature the Norton Children’s Hospital-Meijer Super Kids single-elimination race, which Peterson said is for children with documented disabilities or medical issues that prevent them from racing on their own.
The competition pairs each child with a racer who operates the car, she said.
“A designated driver is in charge of driving the vehicle and operating the brakes and the kid gets to enjoy it,” she said.
The BB&T All-American Soap Box Derby’s winners will go on to compete at the World Championship Soap Box Derby Race in Akron, Ohio, which will be July 14-20, Peterson said.
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