Soapbox derby returns to Haweater Weekend

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LITTLE CURRENT—After a nearly 20 year hiatus, soapbox derby racing is back at Haweater Weekend and kids aged 5-11 are welcome to participate for free and win prizes Saturday morning, August 4.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says Billy Moore of Spring Bay, who is bringing the race back to Haweater Weekend. “They can race against their friends. Everyone is going to get a prize, no matter if they’re first or last,” he says.

Mr. Moore began hosting soapbox derbies in Cambridge 15 years ago. Gateway to Life Church and the Little Current Lions Club are supporting this event.

“Fifteen years ago, we built four cars and 12 kids showed up,” says Mr. Moore. “Now we have 30 cars and we get about 200 kids at the event in Cambridge.”

His team from Cambridge uses a custom-built trailer to transport the cars to events around Ontario. The trailer’s side folds down to become the take-off ramp.

All participants must get a parent or guardian’s permission to register. Mr. Moore’s team will provide the cars. The event starts at 9 am, and kids can take practice runs and try out the course until 10:30 am. They are not required to enter the competition stage.

“It’s no pressure. If they just want to come for the first bit and get a prize, that’s fine,” says Mr. Moore.

At 10:30 am, the competition will start. Four cars race per heat and the top two racers will advance to further rounds. The other two will be out of the competition, but still receive a prize. Mr. Moore encourages all the racers to stay by the track and cheer on the winners.

The top four competitors will receive trophies and larger prizes.

All participants are required to wear a helmet and are encouraged to bring one from home. Mr. Moore has a limited number of helmets available to borrow in case the racers forget theirs.

“We have hay bales lining the sides of the track,” says Mr. Moore. “Nobody has ever got hurt.”

Having Mr. Moore’s team supply the cars also ensures a fair competition. “All the cars are built from the same kit. They’re basically identical,” he says.

The difference between the cars is the paint scheme, ranging from Jurassic Park to Wonder Woman. Racers will be assigned a car based on which lane they are in, and won’t be able to choose at the starting line.

Mr. Moore was inspired to start this event after living through some tough times in his past. While living in Sudbury in 1999, he became homeless, losing everything he had due to a drug and alcohol addiction.

Mr. Moore sought treatment and moved to Cambridge to start his new life. He joined a church and started off-road racing to promote positive choices. Mr. Moore has shared his story at high-profile events like Monster Jam, and later encouraged kids to get hands-on by creating a soapbox derby.

“We just want to show kids that there’s a lot of things you can do to have fun without getting high,” he says.