Soap box derby rolls through Moss Point

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Young people from across the coast put their homemade cars to the test at the annual Soap Box Derby. The Chevron Black Employee Network sponsors the race to promote sportsmanship. Organizers told Patrice Clark they hope it will also peek the children's interest in the world of science.

The kids may not be old enough to compete in the Indy 500 Race or even drive. But they were more than qualified to take part in a Soap box derby that is just as exciting.

"I am more excited than anybody here," young racer Blake Boothby said.

The derby is named in honor of former Chevron Employee Deborah Washington. The dedicated worker died of breast cancer more than 10 years ago.

"My daughter Deborah was watching the derby years ago from Akron, Ohio and said we can do that in Moss Point. From that she talked with people at Chevron, International Paper, and the naval base, Kessler, and got all those people to volunteer," Mother Gladys Vaughn said.

For 21 years the race has been a success from start to finish. Many kids along with their parents build, decorate, and even personalize the gravity powered wooden cars they race.

"The name of the car is Leaping Lizard," Boothby said about his car.

This will be Gray Pace and his grandson Blake's third time competing and they love it.

"It teaches him teamwork and discipline," said Pace.

Then there is first time racer Robert Porter who was a bit nervous about operating an engineless vehicle.

"It was scary because in front of me I saw someone bump into a cone and crash, but then when I went down it didn't feel that scary," Porter said about the race.

This event also helps encourage kids to learn more about science, technology, and engineering concepts.

"They build the cars from stretch, so they get to learn about nuts and bolts and piecing things together. They learn how to organize diagrams, read diagrams and instructions. So I think it is definitely helping cultivate that engineering aspect," Chevron organizer Guy Davis said.

Winners of the Moss Point divisions then travel to Akron, Ohio to compete in the All-American Soap Box Championship.

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