Participants in the Owensboro Lions Club Soap Box Derby have often said the track at Ben Hawes Park is the fastest around. On Saturday, the Owensboro Police Department helped them prove it.
Local race director Josh Meyer said they always tell people you hit 30 miles per hour when you cross the finish line. Officer Andrew Boggess brought his radar gun and clocked the speeding cars, which reached speeds of 35 miles per hour down the hill.
Boggess said he thought checking the speed was an interesting idea and the department likes to help out however they can.
“It’s pretty cool,” Meyer said, “it’s just gravity but it feels like flying.”
David Edds, a parent of two soapbox racers, said tracks in Madisonville and Bowling Green only reach speeds of 7 and 17 miles per hour, respectively.
Meyer has volunteered with the Lions Club Soapbox Derby for seven years but has had a son competing in it for four. “I thought it would be something we did once in a while, but we spend eight or nine weekends of the year going to races.”
Three rally races are held in Owensboro annually, allowing participants from all over to come try the track. Meyer said the contest has entries from West Virginia, New York, Florida and more. The track also hosts one completely local race, and the winners go on to compete in the championship in Akron, Ohio.
The local race usually sees 30 to 40 participants, but Meyer would like
see that number up to 50 or 60.
“We have a whole building full of cars for people to use,” he said. As people outgrow the sport they often donate their car to the Lions Club for others to use. “On the first Saturday of the month, in March through November, the track is open for practice so anyone who wanted can come try it.”
Participants have to be seven years old to race, but they can keep going until they’re 20.
Anyone interested can get more information on the Lions Club website at www.owensborolions.com, or reach out to Meyer at 270-903-0753. “Basically if you want to try it, just get in touch with me,” he said.
Said Edds: “Have cars. Need kids.”