Let me get up on my Soap Box and…..
If you have not heard about the Soap Box Derby, it has a long history in the City of Fredericksburg and throughout the nation. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the All American Soap Box Derby and hopefully the revival of this great community event.
Ask any kid who has ever raced in the derby what makes the event special and you will get a number of answers. “It’s fun”, “I get to spend time with my family”, “I like racing down the hill, building the car, winning a trophy”, etc. You get the point: they're learning and developing new skills but in a super-fun way that does not require an electronic device!
The derby is the type of event that helps build stronger family and community bonds. Mom and dad, pull out your tool box and help your child build the car! He or she will learn how to steer and brake, take their car through inspections and more. It truly is a family sport!
The derby brings so many positives to each family who participates as well as to the hosting community, which is why it is so disappointing to see this tradition going by the wayside. Each year the number of competitors drops and as one of the race coordinators, I struggle with finding a reason why.
Corbin Bernsen, most known for his roles in Major League, L.A. Law and more recently Psych, feels the same way and has dedicated his time and money to helping save this great tradition. After reading an article about how the national race organization lost its major sponsor and was more than likely going to have to put an end to the national race, Bernsen stepped in, writing and directing the movie, 25 Hill. It is a movie about saving the soap box derby and the values he believes it instills in our community: Respect, Teamwork, Family and Community.
“I have four kids,” Bernsen said in an article published in the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think about them. I think about the country and what we are handing off to them. There’s something about the Derby, when I see these kids coming together. If I can reproduce that over and over, those are our building blocks to a better economy, a new America. That’s the way I see it.”
Bernsen put his money where his mouth is and actually came to Fredericksburg last November, promoting his movie and local derbies everywhere by giving half of the proceeds of the movie sales to local races. You can check him out in our video on www.fredericksburgsoapbox.com. My point in bringing this up is that the derby and those traditions may be falling by the wayside, but with a few more Fredericksburg families with Bernsen's enthusiasm, we can resurrect the event in our town!
Kids today are more prone to watching TV, playing video games and posting on their Facebook page than actually gaining life experiences. The days of “go outside and play” have been replaced by modern technology and apps like Angry Birds. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good game of Angry Birds when I have a free moment, however, we need to build back up the traditional values of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. The derby is a great way for you to start bringing your family together and be a part of your own community!
Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than bonding with your kids over how to build a derby car? What about the pride they feel when they cross the finish line a winner? Every competitor in our race receives a medal, a competitor t-shirt, a goody bag with prizes donated by local companies and the feeling that they belong to something bigger than themselves. Respect, Tradition, Family and Community: don’t let these values become a thing of the past.
There are two weeks left to register for the Soap Box Derby. You don’t need to spend a lot of money buying a car. We believe in the derby so much, we will try and find a car for every kid who wants to race. All you have to do is register them and give us a call. Start the tradition in your family, build a memory, and give your child the gift of an experience rather than more screen time.
For kids ages 9-17
Three divisions: Stock, Super Stock and Masters – see website for details
Registration Deadline: End of April
Race Date: June 16th
Call Alvin Staples at 540-786-5930 for help finding a car. We have numerous cars that need drivers.
Call Jennifer Hellier at 540-372-1086 x 215 if you want to volunteer your time at the event or become a sponsor.