Marine Corps Air ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Heat vapors rose off of Donnell Hill as children sat at the starting line in their soapbox cars. The blow of an airhorn, started the first heat of racers, kicking off the 7th annual Armed Services YMCA Soapbox Derby June 1.
Forty-six racers ages 5 to 14 drove their unique soapbox racers along side the Twentynine Palms 13th annual Street Fair & Car Show Sunday. Children from the local area were able to showcase their racing skills and their creativity with their hand built soapbox race cars.
“I was first in both of my heats and I had the fastest times,” said 9-year-old Dillan Hargrove. “At first it was pretty scary, but it was fun after a while.”
Each time racers passed the finish line, one of the Marines and sailors who volunteered to work the event pushed more cars back up the hill, helping the racers get ready for their second and final heat.
After the races, the crowd gathered around the awards tent, talking shop and comparing notes while Sadie Fisher, the ASYMCA special event and volunteer coordinator, tallied the racers downhill times.
“Thank you so much for attending the 2013 Soapbox Derby Race,” Fisher said as the crowd cheered loudly.
Fisher announced each racer by name so they could come forward to accept their participation ribbon and placement trophies.
“The building of the cars is really supposed to be a family function,” Fisher said. “So the parents can do something with their children. They have input with design and color. We have them come out here and race down the hill, for fun. We award trophies but the point is just for the kids to have fun.”
The results were broken up into a few categories, first time racers for both 5 to 8 and 9 to 14 years old age groups, veteran racers for both age groups and the choice awards.
Alex Murray, 7, won third place in his division. It was his first time racing in the event.
“I was shocked,” Murray said, as he and his father, Kevin, carried his soapbox racer to his car. “I’m serious, I was shocked.”
The children raved about their awards and huddled around each other so the volunteers and families could get pictures of them.
“Again, one more round of applause for our racers and wonderful volunteers,” Fisher said. “The kids always have a wonderful time.”
The ASYMCA is also hosting a summer camp in Big Bear, Calif., this August. For more information of events or volunteer opportunities call Sadie Fisher at 830-7481.