Wet track doesn't dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship

Wet track doesn’t dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship

Light rain and a wet track didn’t diminish the turn out for the 10th running of the Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Alaskan Championships. The only remaining Soap Box Derby event in Alaska assures the winner of a place at the International Soap Box Derby races in Akron, Ohio. For the second year the race was held in the parking lot of the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, “We built some ramps in front of the multi-purpose facility and the track ran all the way to the CLCA parking lot. It worked out really well last year and is a better vantage place for spectators to view the event,” said Scott Hamann, Kenai Rotarian who has organized the event and built the necessary hardware for the races. Before moving the derby it was held on Spruce St. in Kenai that led around a curve and to the Cook Inlet beach. “The new course is much more in the tradition of the Soap Box gravity racing and we can return the cars more rapidly which moves the event at a quicker pace for spectators. It also gives the kids better practice for the Akron track. It was another great race this year with 16 kids in the lineup. We had more spectators than ever it was great to have so many people cheering the racers on. As always it was a privilege to not only see the kids have fun but also to see the displays of sportsmanship and growth in self-confidence. This is the second year in a row that the youngest racer as well as one of the lightest and a first time racer has taken the championship. This year’s Champion is Gage Trent and he and his family are excited to go to Akron to represent Kenai & Alaska in July,” said Hamann. Stepping up to help sponsor this year’s Derby was GLM and Louie’s UpTown. “With XTO who was our major sponsor leaving Alaska these guys really helped us make it happen.”In an interview with the Dispatch 9-year-old Gage Trent, a Redoubt Elementary student said his neighbor encouraged him to show up for the race and having never driven a gravity racer before never expected to end up being the winner, but was very excited to be going on the International Championships. He was congratulated at the finish line by the 2015 Alaska Soap Box Champion Wyatt Walaszek. He said that racing in Akron was a lot different and more challenging, but an experience of a lifetime, “I met kids from all over world; Japan and Europe it was fantastic and I was able to win one of my races which made me very happy. It was an exciting time and I wish Gage all the best this year,” said Wyatt. “We are already looking forward to next year and know that it will be bigger and better than ever,” said Hamann.

Wet track doesn't dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship
Wet track doesn't dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship
Wet track doesn't dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship
Wet track doesn't dampen 10th Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby Championship

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