History of Soap Box Derbies

It’s been called “The Greatest Amateur Racing Event in the World.”

All Soap Box Derby competitions start at the local race level.

It’s best to look for a sponsor to underwrite the cost of your racer.

According to the All-American Soap Box Derby there will be three racing division in most local and at the All-American competition.

The Masters division offers boys and girls, 10-17 an advanced class of race to try their creativity and design skills in.

Local race programs are sponsored by a mix of civic clubs, service organizations, and business firms.

1936 was a year of growth establishing the Derby as a national institution according to history.

In 1952 Soap Box Derby was maybe the most dramatic of them all and in 1957 for the 20th All-American a “guest race” was initiated to select the fastest foreign entry.

The celebration of the 25th All-American was a gala one.

Later hopes for the continuation of the Derby were growing darker when, on Nov. 24, 1975 a dramatic front-page headline read: “Barberton Company saves Soap Box Derby.”

One hundred seventy-three contestants for the All-American kept the race going in 1977 and the largest crowd in nine years, close to 15,000, watched 181 junior and senior contestants competed in the 45th All-American Derby in 1982.

“The All-American Soap Box Derby has traveled a long road, both uphill and down, since Myron Scott first photographed three boys and their engine-less racers,” reads the Derby’s website.

The All-American Rally Program started in 1986, sending three in each division to the All-American championships.

“The state of Connecticut made a sweep of the winners’ circles at the 50th All-American Soap Box Derby in 1987,” said Jeff Iula. “There were 163 champions that competed in the 50th all-American.”

One hundred sixty-three champions were represented in the 1991 All-American and there were 232 participants in the 1993 All-American with contestants from Canada, Germany, and the Philippines.

In March of 1995 the Derby’s first World Champion in 1934, Bob Turner, passed away.

Participating in the 61st All-American were 295 champions and 1999 was a year for firsts.

The 63rd All-American Soap Box was held on July 22, 2000 and the 64th on July 28, 2001.

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