COLORADO SPRINGS — Since 2004, the Pikes Peak Soapbox Derby has been combining the love of speedy racecars to promote families working together to teach the next generation.
The early June race, which this year saw 34 racers take to the 500 block of East Costilla Street in Colorado Springs to test their mettle against other young speedsters from across the Front Range and beyond, is part of the official All American Soapbox Derby race program.
Winners of the various divisions are given the chance to compete again in Akron, Ohio at the international championship.
The program/organization has roots that run back to the early 1930s when a reporter stumbled upon a group of boys who were racing homemade cars; According to the organization's website, "[The reporter] was so impressed with the event that he acquired a copyright to Soap Box Derby and went in search of a corporate sponsor to establish a national program."
Chevrolet became the first official sponsor, popularity grew, and by 1936 the first official raceway (Derby Downs) was established in Akron, Ohio; the race continues to run in this location.
Races continued year by year until World War II and resumed in 1946; it has continued to run uninterrupted to the present day with the one exception of 2020.
Locally, the derby officially came to the Pikes Peak region in 2004, when local Sertoma clubs began to sponsor the race; in 2009 local Kiwanis clubs joined the effort as well. Since that point, many additional sponsors have taken an active role in aiding with the production.
By 2015 the race had reached its all-time high, seeing 155 entries into the derby; winners continued on to represent the Pikes Peak region for the first time at the world championship in Akron, Ohio.
Numbers took a hit following the suspension of the race in 2020, but race organizers report that numbers have started to rebound since that point.
For more information on the Pikes Peak Soapbox Derby, CLICK HERE.