Derby most likely heading to Oak Creek |

Derby most likely heading to Oak Creek

Susan Cunningham

The Soap Box Derby could be moving to Oak Creek, and the Oak Creek Town Board is welcoming the event with open arms.

“This is a big event on its own, with a whole lot of stuff, especially for the youth,” Oak Creek Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman said.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing. I’m excited,” she said.

Moving the event from Steamboat Springs to Oak Creek could foster the “derby fever” that derby director Michelle Petix said she has pursued from the first local event in 2001. Petix proposed moving at the Oak Creek Town Board’s Thursday night meeting.

Oak Creek provides an ideal place for the event, she said. The cars would race down Oak Creek’s Main Street, while the simultaneous “Youth In Motion” event would take place at nearby Decker Park.

“I find myself coming down Main Street thinking, ‘Man, this would be a great drag for Soap Box Derby,'” Petix said.

For the past four years, the city of Steamboat Springs has hosted the race and has been a great help through the process, Petix said. While sponsorship has been good, the numbers of spectators and participants has not been as high as the derby committee would like, Petix said.

In Steamboat, the event is something of a “little fish in a big pond,” Petix said. In Oak Creek, however, there would be more visibility for the event and chances to grow.

“I think people would really get into it,” she said. “I think the connection between the racing community and South Routt is there.”

Each year, about 20 youths in the third to eighth grades compete in the Super Stalk category of the event, which is the middle level of three. The race gets a number of youths who return year after year, Petix said.

Putting on the event costs about $5,000, but funding for this year’s event already is in place. A part of those funds go toward sending the winners of the local races on to compete at the national races in Akron, Ohio.

“I don’t really see downsides to it other than it’s going to take some public work,” Petix said.

If the event moves to Oak Creek, Petix said she would like to increase the number of categories in which youths can participate, which she hopes would increase the derby’s number of participants.

The Town Board agreed to host the event, and Petix said she would take steps to make the move final. The first Soap Box Derby in Oak Creek would take place in June 2005.

Town Trustee Mike Kien said he stands behind the event whole-heartedly and would like to see the town set aside the $500 it takes to sponsor a car.

“I say yes, no matter what weekend. I say yes, no matter how many cars, how many classes,” Kien said.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203 or e-mail

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