Soapbox Derby takes to rain-soaked streets

PARKERSBURG – Around 17 area Cub Scouts braved the falling rain and raced along Market Street on Sunday afternoon in 12 vehicles they worked to create for the eighth annual Soapbox Derby at the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival.

Although the rain fell throughout the race, it did not dampen the kids’ enthusiasm for the races. The racers were talking about the best ways to handle certain cars, who their best competition would be, how previous racers did, who would win between certain drivers and more.

The race is always something the kids look forward to doing every summer from the first-time racers to those who have done it before, race coordinator Larry Lemon said.

“The kids get to build the cars, they have the anticipation of the race and they love racing,” he said. “How often can they run down Market Street like this?”

The rain did cause a couple of racers not to show up and attendance was down because of other Cub Scout events going on in the area Sunday.

The wet conditions also caused some braking issues for some of the racers, but Lemon said they are already looking over the safety issues as they begin to plan for next year’s event.

Throughout the race, organizers were stressing to the racers the importance of safety and being good sports. At the same time, they still wanted everyone to have fun.

With the rain, Missy and Ken Storey, of Vienna, were not sure what to expect as this was the first time they attended the Soapbox Derby. Their son, Conner, was part of the team for Pack 20 of Vienna.

They thought the rain did not spoil anyone’s time.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ken Storey said. “The kids will have fun rain or shine.

“They don’t care about rain.”

These kind of events help teach the boys about teamwork and working with others, Missy Storey said.

“It taught them a lot about using tools and designing something and working together,” she said. “This is the finished product, seeing how it works.”

Conner Storey helped work on the car and was able to race it a couple of times.

“It is fun going down the hill,” he said.

Teresa Holbert, of Vienna, has attended the derby for several years. She was there with her son, Alec.

“It is great,” she said. “Larry (Lemon) does a good job putting it on.

“I know the boys have a great time doing it. They like to build the cars and they like to go fast down the hill.”

Holbert did not think the rain mattered at all to any of the racers.

“They don’t care at all,” she said with a laugh.

After his first run down the hill, Alec Holbert said he was enjoying himself.

“It was slow at first and then I speeded up because I bent forward so I would go faster,” he said. “You get to be out with friends you don’t normally get to see.”

After the race, Alec Holbert presented his third place Webelos trophy to Dylan Khoury saying that “(Dylan’s) car would have won if it had not broke.”

Next year a new award will be added for good sportsmanship, organizers said.

A lot of people helped make sure the race happened.

“We would like to thank the sponsors I.B.E.W. 968, Start Plastics, Cameron Construction and the Parkersburg Homecoming and all the parents that helped,” Lemon said. “Without them we would not have been able to hold the race.”

Despite the rain, Lemon said those in attendance really enjoyed themselves.

“Everyone still had fun,” he said.