Reaching speeds in excess of twenty miles per hour, Boy Scout troop 48’s Soap Box Derby cars thrilled fans as they raced down the hill between Eagle Point Middle school and White Mountain elementary. The cars were the creation of several teams of scouts who used every bit of creativity they possess to build their cars. Each team had a name, such as Red Bull and they followed through on that theme—in the case of Red Bull, they painted a cattle skull with red paint.
Each of the cars was equipped with the latest equipment. Some had unique steering devices, one a chain with links welded in a circle and then attached to the center column to give at least some degree of maneuverability. One had a lever attached to the steering linkage and that seemed to serve just as well as the ones formed into a steering wheel. There may have been a horn or two in there too, but no seat belts were visible.
All were made from different materials too. One appeared to be made of sheet metal stretched over a framework of plywood. Another was a smaller bath tub complete with a shower head, bubble gun and carpet. The steering mechanism on this one worked through the drain hole in the tub. Another was a plastic barrel with a stadium seat for the driver and another was completely made of plywood. Another was made to resemble a tank complete with a turret mounted machine gun or cannon that was heavy enough to stall out about five yards short of the finish line.
The cars were so tiny that even the smaller sized scouts had some difficulty squeezing in behind the wheel. As the race progressed, one driver was seen with his knees practically into his chest with his arms stretched around and then under his knees. He used one hand for driving and the other was holding a smart phone. He was either texting or making a video as he drove down the course. Talk about your multitasking.
Another young man had a tiny camera, possibly a Go Pro, attached to the top of his helmet, recording the race for posterity. It should be noted that all were wearing helmets for safety.
Team Hooters (for the hoot owls) had the most aerodynamic looking vehicle; Red Bull had a tilt-seat model. One entry had the proper rear view mirrors, a very neat looking flame job and clever exhaust ports made from plumbing fixtures. The bath tub entry had dual exhaust pipes of PVC pipes, and was the only entry with a shower head. Another entry sported dual American flags flapping in the breeze and the A-team entry was built like a tank to resemble the truck used by the original A-team from the hit TV show of the same name some years ago.
Some spectators remarked that it is refreshing to see the ingenuity involved in making the cars. At the end of the day everyone had fun and that was the goal of scout leaders. Scouts is a wonderful program for young people to gain skills that will last them throughout their lifetimes.