Soap Box Derby brings families to downtown Columbia

1 week 5 days 15 hours ago Sunday, June 10 2018 Jun 10, 2018 Sunday, June 10, 2018 4:27:00 PM CDT June 10, 2018 in News
By: Eric Graves, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Downtown Broadway from 8th Street to Providence Road was closed down for part of the day on Sunday so kids could get the green light to hurtle themselves down the street.

More than 50 kids raced in the 80th annual mid-Missouri Soap Box Derby. 

There are three different divisions within the race: stock, super-stock and masters.

The divisions differ by shape of the car, weight of the car and the age of the driver.

The winners from each division will get a chance to race in the world championships in Akron, Ohio.

"Even though it’s competitive the kids are all still friends,” said Casey Holmes, a board member for the derby.

Holmes said her child met his best friend at the derby when he started five years ago.

“A lot of these kids just get so excited. They get to drive down Broadway going 25 mph running red lights,” Holmes said.

The Downtown Optimist Club sponsors and owns all of the cars and allows the kids and their parents to work on them for the race.

Holmes said the derby gets a lot of community support, not just from the optimist club but also the shops on Broadway.

Ed Hohlt's son started competing in the derby five years ago, he's been his crew chief every year.

“It’s a total family experience, if you look around everybody is  set up in gazebos to support their families and kids and bottom line it’s just a lot of fun,” Hohlt said. 

Hohlt said the kids learn way more than just how to race a soap box car.

"You're learning not only how to work on things, mechanicals, how it works but you're also learning lessons in life about defeat, winning and losing and taking that in stride,” Hohlt said.

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