How Do I Compete In The Soap Box Derby?

One of the oldest competitions for young kids involves not high tech computer wizardry, or rough and tumble contact sports. But it is just as competitive. And, in my opinion, more fun.

Each year, youngsters from all over the world race the cars they build or assemble themselves for the Soap Box Derby. Though today’s cars are more high-tech, the derby remains a wholesome activity that teaches the values of hard work, craft and honest competition.

  1. Read the rules written up by the Soap Box Derby organization.
  2. Qualify for the race if you are 9 to 16 years old by August 1 of the current racing season. The divisions are: Stock and Super Stock for 9- through 16-year-olds, and Masters for 11- through 16-year-olds.
  3. Study the rules for any special division you want to enter: Stock, Super Stock, Masters, Scottie Special, or Rally.
  4. Understand that you must build the car, drive the racer you build, and prove your ability to do the work required to build the racer.
  5. Look for potential sponsors and sign up for the race with All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) through the local or regional derby director.
  6. Design the car based on your height, weight, foot length, hip width and shoulder width. The shoulder width determines what frontal-view and top-view shapes you can use.
  7. Draw the frontal view, using the specifications in the rules.
  8. Determine the top-view shape — its distance from the nose, the nose’s shape, the tail’s shape.
  9. Figure out the side-view shape, matching it up to the top view.
  10. Design the car body formers (section views). You will need to learn how to calculate the coordinates for individual cross sections.
  11. Refer to helpful books and Web sites that describe methods used by other racers.
  12. Order parts from All-American Soap Box Derby. No car parts may be used that would cause injury in the event of loss of control. Order a car kit if you’d rather do that than start from scratch.
  13. Have fun designing and building the racer.

The Derby is designed to be a parent-child activity. Although you are to build the car yourself, your parent or adviser must also be there to help and instruct you on the methods of construction so that you may learn by doing. Soap Box Derby kits are also available from AASBD and other organizations.

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[tags]soap box derby, soapbox derby, hobby racing, family activity[/tags]

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