PARKERSBURG — It was all downhill Sunday for the racers in the annual Soapbox Derby at the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival.
Around 28 local Cub Scouts and others came out to Market Street early Sunday afternoon to race in about a dozen cars constructed by the youth.
Kids took turns riding in a number of racers that travel 600 feet down Market Street. They were timed on their trips down the hill with overall winners determined by the fastest time.
“This is the 10th anniversary of the Soapbox Derby (at Homecoming),” said M.J. Lemon, one of the race coordinators.
The race is always something the kids look forward to doing every summer, from the first-time racers to those who have done it before.
“It is the teamwork, the camaradarie and the excitement of racing down a track,” Lemon said. “It is also because the teamwork of building the cars.
“We would take apart the old cars and put together a new car. The whole entire family is involved and that is the great thing about it. Everyone comes out to help and that is the best part of it.”
The race was sponsored by I.B.E.W. 968, R.L. Roush Excavating and Dave Francis Construction.
Humid and warm conditions on Sunday did not stifle the kids’ enthusiasm for the races. The racers were talking about the best ways to handle certain cars, who their best competition would be, how previous racers did, who would win between certain drivers and more.
Cub Scout Dylan Khoury of Pack 104 said he enjoys the speed of the races.
“What is fun about it is you don’t often go really fast and when you do, it feels like you can do anything,” he said.
For Cub Scout Alec Holber of Pack 20, it is constructing the cars and then driving them that he enjoys.
“What is fun about this race is we get to build a car and race in them,” he said. “It is really fun.”
Cub Scout James Reedy of Pack 104 just loves being out doing the race.
“I love racing because it is so fun and such a good experience,” he said. “One year, I spun around and it was so fun.
“It felt like I was on a roller coaster and on the ride of my life.”
Cub Scout Issac McNemer of Pack 104 also likes the speed of going fast down the hill.
“My favorite thing about racing is when you go super fast into the wind and it hits your face,” he said. “It is really fun when you go down the hill.”
Throughout the race, organizers were stressing to the racers the importance of safety and being good sports. At the same time, they still wanted everyone to have fun.
“We always stress safety,” Lemon said. “Safety is first with Scouts.”
Jason Linnell, of Vienna, came with his son, Grayson, who was apart of Pack 104. This was the first year Linnell had attended the race.
“It is great in that they actually get to work on how to make a car and learn all about it,” he said. “It is the fun part, coming here and doing the races.”
For many of the kids it is exciting to be able to drive one of these cars on an actual city street.
“It is great to be downtown on the street and for them to actually drive a car in the street is a real thrill for them,” Linnell said. “It is a lot of fun for them.”
This is the second year parent Chris McNemar, of Vienna, has participated with his son, Issac, in the derby.
“We enjoy doing this,” he said. “We enjoy having fun with everyone.
“We come out and watch what everyone makes and what else they have created.”
There were a couple of issues involved with one of the cars they were involved with, but organizers traded around cars so everyone had a chance to race.
McNemer said that was good for these kids to do.
“They get to come out and interact with other packs and they get to enjoy themselves,” he said.
It is families coming together and doing something fun together, Lemon said.
“It is about having fun,” she said. “Scout families are really tight knit.
“We do a lot of things together.”