The All-American Soap Box Derby will continue as a local tradition as the racing event enters its second decade and welcomes a new director, Lisa Wells. The event was in danger of being cancelled if new leadership couldn’t be found, so Wells comes as a breath of fresh air to many local kids, parents and event supporters in the community.
In addition to leading a Girl Scout Troop, Wells was motivated to volunteer as race director by her 11 year old daughter, Bethany, who won the stock division in Glens Falls in 2012. Bethany went on to compete at the national All-American Soap Box Derby championships in Akron, Ohio with racers from all over the country. In Akron, Wells and her other two children, Ann-Marie and James, volunteered on the national race support staff while her husband, John, focused on racing.
Wells is seeking volunteers to serve on the organizing committee as she plans for the future. She has turned the event around after the organizers announced in 2012 that the future of the local race was in jeopardy unless new leadership could be found. William Brown, a Glens Falls area businessman, established the local race in 2003.
Wells is excited for this year’s race, which is open to children ages 7 to 16, and will take place June 15 on Murray Street hill in Glens Falls (with June 16 scheduled as the rain date). The registration fee and insurance to host the local race have been paid for this year, so the focus will be to recruit enough racers, as a minimum of 12 children in each of three divisions is required.
The race is open to children from throughout the region and beyond, and has drawn competitors from as far away as Quebec.
The city of Glens Falls provides support for the race, and the town of Queensbury has budgeted for a $5,000 contribution to the event. The committee has also built up a collection of race cars over the years that can be reused as long as they are taken apart and reassembled each time.
Sportsmanship, determination and friendly competition are all qualities the Soap Box Derby hopes to instill in its participants.
Are you excited the tradition will continue in Glens Falls?