Plans underway for 22nd Soap Box Derby

MARTINS FERRY – The streets are still covered with ice and snow but members of the Martins Ferry Soap Box Derby committee are hard at work making preparations for the 22nd annual Great Race.

Members met last week to set dates for the 2014 edition. The race itself will be held Sunday, June 8 with a 10 a.m. sharp start time. The National Anthem will officially kick off the day’s activities at 9:30 a.m.

The pre-race clinic for drivers and their parents is slated for Wednesday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at the American Legion in town.

The following week, picture day for the drivers will be Wednesday, May 21, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot adjacent to The Times Leader at 200 S. 4th St.

Drivers will need to bring the shell of their car for the picture. Photos will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and will later be included in the color special section The Times Leader publishes prior to race day. All drivers are encouraged to attend.

Trial runs down Hanover Street will be held the Sunday preceding race day, June 1. The first group of racers will head down the hill at 9 a.m. and the trials will conclude at 1 p.m. Drivers are asked to register for their desired testing hour by calling the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce at 740-633-2565.

Car inspections will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, June 3-4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Martins Ferry School District Bus Garage. Inspection times are handed out at half-hour intervals up until 8:30 p.m. each evening.

Drivers are asked to call ahead of time to sign up for their preferred inspection time.

A number of racers are pre-registered, but as in past years, there are sponsors looking for drivers.

“We’re still looking for cars and drivers to sign up,” said Marion Klier, secretary at the Chamber.

Boys and girls wishing to participate must be at least 8 years old by June 9 and cannot be age 16 on race day.

All drivers must wear the soap box derby helmet which costs $16. The registration fee is $40 per driver, payable by either the driver or the car’s sponsor.

This year, the emphasis will be placed on recruiting participants for the Super Kids race. The Super Kids Classic is for physically challenged racers. In addition to racing, the participants receive trophies, and the winner receives a trophy and a very nice prize each year.

The decision was made to allow the winners trophies and a car to be placed inside local schools during the upcoming months to promote the race.

Interested racers can pick up registration forms at the Chamber office, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The next meeting of the committee is Wednesday, March 17 at 6 p.m. in the Chamber office.