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DOWNHILL DASH: St. Johns Soapbox Derby rolls into town

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jun 07, 2024
  • St. Johns Soapbox Derby is back hosting more than 50 racers this year.
  • Sunday, the city will block off the streets to host the 5th annual Soapbox Derby.
  • Video shows Lee Smith and others speaking about the excitement behind Soapbox.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I'm your neighborhood reporter Russell Shellberg here in St. Johns, where right now you're getting a view of the downtown street. But this weekend, it will turn into more than that – a racetrack.

"So it's not like you're on a go-kart or something where the wheels turn a lot," said Soapbox Director, Lee Smith.

Director Lee Smith is talking about the upcoming soapbox derby.

"You have to put everything together with precision," said Smith.

Lee Smith inspecting the chassis of a Soapbox Derby car
Lee Smith inspecting the chassis of a Soapbox Derby car

An event that made its way to St. Johns just a while back.

"We started out in 2019 with 32," said Smith.

That is now thriving...

"This year we have 54 racers, the most ever," said Smith.

Including first-timers like Addison Poff, who's been gearing up with practice runs.

"When I got down to the end, my legs started shaking because I was scared," said Poff.

Sunday, racers harnessing gravity will compete for a championship spot in the Stock Class and Super Stock Class. Winning that title sends them to compete in Akron, Ohio. Addison's father, Joe, says watching her do this for the first time is already a win in itself.

Joe Goff and Lee Smith talking about upcoming Soapbox Derby
Joe Goff and Lee Smith talking about upcoming Soapbox Derby

"Addison's first time when she went down the hill... one of the volunteers stopped and said, 'Hey, the number one rule is you gotta smile.' And ever since then, the kids love to smile, and that's what it's all about" said Poff.

And while it's all about the racers, the city comes together to make it more special.

"This awesome event has been resurrected. It brings thousands of people downtown to the local businesses, generating commerce for the city, and just brings some good, clean, wonderful fun," said Gamble.

The races start at 10 AM on Sunday, giving you plenty of time to head over and watch the derby. You can find more information on the derby here.

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Russell Shellberg

5:49 PM, Jun 03, 2022

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Russell Shellberg

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