The soapbox derby is an American tradition dating back to 1934. The name “soapbox” originated from children using wooden soap crates for their vehicles. Young builders would use parts destined for the trash, such as sheet tin or old stroller wheels to create their racing machines. Although today’s soapbox cars are made with standardized wheels and precision bearings, the tradition still remains, and the cars still rely on gravity and a streamlined design to win the race.
The soapbox racing program in Columbus is organized by LET’S GROW STEAMX. It is an initiative aimed at providing a free, competitive and collaborative educational platform focusing on helping students strengthen their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) identity and utilizing their imagination, to develop a love for life-long learning. Students go through a series of clinics introducing them to engineering, art, math and physics. Clinic activities include an overview of history, rules, regulations and safety procedures of the re-energized sport, GrowSTEAMFun Stations, force and motion activities and the engineering of the Soapbox Derby racecars.
After building the car, students race in the RiverCity Soap Box Derby on June 8 to test their car’s endurance and see the results of their hard work. The derby is an event for the entire family! Attendees can expect relay games hosted by the YMCA, wet and dry inflatables, face painting, hands-on activities, food trucks, and of course re-energized soapbox derby racing. The race is licensed by the All American International Soap Box Derby Association.
Students, ages 7-17, who would like to participate in the soapbox derby must complete at least one clinic. Registration is required at www.letsgrowsteam.org. Clinics will take place in several locations throughout the city on May 4 & May 18. The program is free, in partnership with YMCA of Columbus, The Columbus Museum, Athletes without Borders and CSU’s Math Collaborative.
For more info about the LGSX Racer Clinics, River City Soap Box Derby, volunteer/vending opportunities or upcoming Let’s Grow STEAMX activities and events, contact Robbie Branscomb, Let’s Grow (STEAM)X at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.letsgrowsteam.org or www.facebook.com/LETSGROWSTEAM.