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South Jordan Journal

First ever soap box derby sees kids race cars, ‘make memories’

May 24, 2021 03:07PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Rowen Andersen, 11, at the starting line, racing the Lake Village sponsored car in the stock division. (Photo courtesy of Jeana Andersen)

By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected] 

The first ever Daybreak soap box derby was held in Highland Park on April 24 sponsored by Live Daybreak. Participants were able to choose from two race divisions, the stock car division for ages 10 to 18 and freestyle division for ages 12 and older. The stock cars were made from prefabricated kits and freestyle cars were made from scratch. The event was open to everyone in the region and the registration fee was $20.

To build any soap box derby car takes time and money, that was especially true for the stock car division, with prices ranging from $200-$800 a kit, not including the cost to wrap the exterior of the cars. An inspection of all the entries was done on April 15 to check the cars for braking, steering, and proper wheels. After inspection there were 16 stock cars and 5 freestyle cars cleared to race.  Also held the night of the inspection was a contest for best wrap.

The winner for best wrap for the stock division went to the Daybreak beer club car and the car representing Lake Village took second place. The owners of the first and second place wrapped cars were Daybreak residents Lisa and Matt Radke.

“I like to be involved in the events if I can be,” Radke said. 

Radke graciously bestowed the opportunity to race the stock cars to her neighbors, 11-year-old brothers, Brayden and Rowen Andersen. The brothers at one point were racing side by side, Brayden drove the car representing the local Daybreak beer club and Rowen drove the car representing Lake Village. The beer club won second place overall in the stock car race. The Radke’s took home three custom-made metal trophies overall.

“We thought why not let the kids in our neighborhood race the cars and make memories,” Radke said.

The course itself was two lanes side by side and two competitors loaded up their cars by securing them onto slightly elevated ramps that were placed at the starting line. As soon as the horn blew, the cars let gravity do the work as racers were responsible for steering down 750 feet of paved road towards the finish line. 

“This is kind of a retro activity, in the days gone by, seeing dads building cars with their kids, that’s what it’s all about,” Dan Rodgerson said, director of LiveDaybreak.

One such dad, and mom, were Daybreak residents, Joe and Marissa McBride, who built a freestyle car with their children. Their 12-year-old daughter Maevie McBride, competed and won second place despite never competing in a race prior. The family's freestyle box car was named razor crest and their inspiration for the design and colors came from the Mandalorian.

“For sure we will do this every year,” McBride said. “We hope they amp it up next time with ramps and timed races.”

The McBride family, like many other Daybreak residents, were made aware of the event via a resident email and were very eager to participate.  

“The kids collected pallets for months,” McBride said. “Our build took a month and lots of duct tape.”

For more information about future events and activities sponsored by Live Daybreak visit