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Soup Box Derby gets canned due to high winds, heavy rains

Bob Bowling sits in the soup box racer he built to compete in the 2013 Soup Box Derby in Langley. He had to sit the event out, however, as the event was canceled due to bad weather. - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Bob Bowling sits in the soup box racer he built to compete in the 2013 Soup Box Derby in Langley. He had to sit the event out, however, as the event was canceled due to bad weather.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

After an hour of constantly refreshing several weather forecasts on smart phones and laptops, Soup Box Derby organizers called off the beloved Langley race early Saturday morning.

It was one of the only races canceled since the Langley Community Club and Langley Men’s Club took over managing the race.

“We’ve done that kind of a race with a little bit of water and they slide,” said Tucker Stevens, president of the both clubs. “We sat there about 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning and knew it wasn’t going to change.”

The Soup Box Derby will not be rescheduled in 2013. One of the major difficulties in planning the race for another weekend is the flexibility of the race volunteers’ schedules.

“The following weekends, they’re going to weddings, visiting relatives,” Stevens said. “You can’t get the same group back again … We regret it. Oh gosh, we regret it.”

That left several racers without a course to roll down Saturday morning. Though one intrepid team took the wedge-shaped racer sponsored by Village Pizzeria and claimed Soup Box Derby victory as the only racer to roll down First Street. A video that was posted on Facebook by Ross Chapin shows “The Midnight Outlaw and The Fire Flys” racing in style with flames painted on the sides and actual pyrotechnics — two lit Roman candles — from the sides.

The race, which has run annually for the past 11 years, is one of the main fundraisers for the community club. As a service group, the Langley Community Club uses sponsorship revenue to benefit public areas in South Whidbey’s only city, such as buying new playgroup equipment at Generation Park.

Next year, the club plans to schedule the race in August with the hope that rain and wind won’t be as likely in the summer. All sponsors who donated to the race will not be asked for money next year, and all sponsorship dollars will be kept by the community club for use toward Langley projects.

“They’ve got a free ride for next year,” Stevens said.

Exact dates of the 2014 race have yet to be decided. Stevens said the Langley Community Club was working out the details with other organizations in the city because summer weekends are typically booked for various events, such as Choochokam and DjangoFest Northwest.

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