Soap Box Derby sure to be a hit

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Hopefully you have seen our big ads in almost every recent edition about the May 12 Laurel Rotary Club Magnolia Street Derby. The Leader-Call is ecstatic to be one of the top sponsors for the event, one that is sure to stamp itself among a growing list of “must-dos” in the Free State of Jones.

For those who are not up to date on what a Soap Box Derby is, the following is a brief history of the event from the official Soap Box Derby website:

“The idea of the Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment of Dayton, Ohio, newsman Myron Scott. He came across a group of boys racing their homemade cars in the summer of 1933, and was so impressed with the event that he acquired a copyright to Soap Box Derby and went in search of a corporate sponsor to establish a national program.

“Chevrolet liked Scott’s proposal and agreed to sponsor the first official All-American Soap Box Derby in Dayton in 1934. The following year, the race moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain.  

“The Soap Box Derby ran continuously from its inception until the onset of World War II. After a four-year hiatus, the All-American Soap Box Derby resumed in Akron in 1946, and has been at Derby Downs every year since. From its inception through 1970, the Soap Box Derby was open to boys only. Girls began racing in 1971.

“Early in 1974, after Chevrolet pulled out as the title sponsor, the Chamber’s Derby corporation assigned rights for the All-American program to the Akron Jaycees, which established International Soap Box Derby Inc., to operate the Derby. The corporation’s affairs are administered by a board of directors of community leaders from Akron and other cities.”

Building a car — kits are available online through the Soap Box Derby website — will cost one about $1,000 — and could climb in price as more amenities are added. But the payoff for drivers could be substantial in the Laurel race, which will begin near the post office on 5th Street and proceed down the hill toward Wallace Drugs and Ready Freddy’s car wash at the malfunction junction.

There will be a youth and teen class. In the youth (12-younger) and teen (13-17) class, prizes will be $500 for first place, $300 for second and $100 for third. In the open division, prizes will be $1,000 for first, $750 for second and $300 for third. Trophies will be presented to the winners of the youth and teen class.

To register, visit

And remember, before the Soap Box Derby, there will be the annual Touch-a-Truck event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Laurel. On April 21, Community Bank, the Laurel Sertoma Club and Laurel Main Street will be sponsoring a crawfish cook-off on Front Street.

Things are happening in Laurel. Get involved and be a part of it.