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Start building your Langley Soup Box Derby racers

These racers went head to head during last year
These racers went head to head during last year's Soup Box Derby. The race is held Sept. 15 this year in Langley.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley

LANGLEY — The countdown is on for this year’s Soup Box Derby in Langley.

And organizers want potential racers to start building their speed machines now so the vehicles are ready for the Sept. 15 race.

“It’s not easy and it could take a couple of weekends to pull something together,” said Tucker Stevens, one of the organizers.

The race has been a fixture on South Whidbey since its first running in 1972. Though not officially an annual event, the Soup Box Derby is back again this fall for one of its intermittent appearances.

“We were thinking of doing it every other, odd year,” Stevens said.

But last year was such a big success, that another installment of the competition was in order.

“We had a great turn out. The Langley Community Club decided, we’re going to do it again,” he said.

The race gets its name from one of its early sponsors. Langley’s Soup Box Derby was named for the Langley restaurant The Soup Co-op.

The 2007 race will be held on the original race course; the hill on Langley’s First Street. The derby will include a parade to showcase the vehicles and their pit crews.

“We’re going with the tried-and-true method,” Stevens said.

Winners will be awarded homemade trophies.

There have been some speedy entrants in past races and to protect crews and the audience, the course will be lined with bales of hay sponsored by local businesses.

The best places to find materials are the garage or the junk yard, Tucker said.

Contestants should start brainstorming for a winning design soon. However, contestants should keep in mind that there are some rules.

• Vehicles must be able to stop in less than 200 feet.

• Vehicles must be easily steered.

• Drivers and riders must wear helmets and shoes.

• Vehicles must be tested prior to the race.

• Racers will compete in three categories: Children 7 and under; children 8 to 12, and age 13 and over.

To emphasize the derby’s non-competitive nature, prizes will go to racers for a variety of reasons that have little to do with speed. Awards given out in past races have included honors for the most recyclable entry, the most edible, the most ecological, but also the fastest.

Last year, Greg and Liz Osenbach of the Whidbey Winery were the fastest racer with their wine barrel on wheels, Stevens said.

Creativity knows no limits in the contest. Take last year, for example.

“Gary Piper had an outhouse. His racing number was Number one and Number two,” Stevens said.

To sign up for the race, pick up an entry form at Langley City Hall or the Langley Chamber of Commerce office.

The fee for the race is $30 for every adult vehicles and $20 for children’s vehicles.

A total of 32 vehicles will be accepted into the derby.

Call Stevens at 221-4188 for more information.

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