BOX 7233 DERBY DOWNS, AKRON, OHIO 44306 (216) 733-8723



June, Dear Fellow Jaycees: WHY THE SOAP BOX DERBY NEEDS YOU!

1983, Hartford

The All-American Soap Box Derby can truly be classified as a spectacle. The city of Akron a sea of red, white and blue bunting and decorations. The cheers of the crowds and the roar of the sirens on Welcoming Day. The excitement of meeting stars from stage, screen and television. The pageantry of the Derby parade winding its way through downtown. The anticipation in the eyes of the youngsters crouched in their racers. The thrill of the first heat leaving the starting line on its way down Derby Downs to the checkered flag. Yes, it is surely a spectacle, but it would be nothing without YOU and the thousands of other volunteers who dedicate their valuable time to see that local Soap Box Derby races are run fairly and efficiently. Without YOU there would be no local Soap Box Derby programs, and without local Derby programs there would be no All-American. As past president of the Akron Jaycees, I am proud that our organization stepped forward in 1975 to help save the All-American Soap Box Derby when Chevrolet dropped its national sponsorship of the event. As a current member of the Derby's board of trustees, I'm even more proud to see the great strides the program has made in the years since then. The Soap Box Derby is a strong, viable community involvement program that caters to our nation's most valuable natural resource - our youngsters! My most memorable Derby experience had nothing to do with any of the winners, but with a young man who typifies the Derby philosophy. It's been four or five years ago now, when working as a member of my chapter's manpower team, this youngster caught--my eye. He barely stood as tall as my belt buckle, and soaking wet he couldn't have weighed more than a large sack of potatoes. His t-shirt, stretched to more than double its original size, drooped from from his bony shoulders and his eyes peered out from under a much too large baseball cap. He was kneeling next to "his" racer - which even the casual observer could denote wasn't among the cream of the crop at the track that day. Its edges were rough and poorly sanded, its paint job reflected an old stiff brush and a can of whatever-was-left-on-the-shelf paint from the garage. Nothing slick, nothing sleek - but it was "HIS!" He had built it, and he was going to race it! It stood for many hours of hard work, an acquired knowledge of tools and craftsmanship, and a commitment on his part to tackle a job and complete it. His pride in "his" racer was quite evident - it was written in big, bold capital letters in the smile that stretched from ear to ear. His reward was sitting right there next to him, shod in four gleaming official race wheels. Sure, it would have been a real treat to win, but he was already a winner. He had proven to himself that he could accomplish something in his lifetime if he really put his mind to it. That, i.n my opinion, is the real story behind the Soap Box Derby program and the reason why YOU and your chapter should start a program in your town. The attached brochure has all the informati.on you'll need to get started. Read it, take it back to your chapter, fill out a CPG and get your chapter on the road to Derby Downs - we'd love to have you here! Yours in Jaycees,



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William J. Koch Member, Board of Trustees JCI SENATOR #32864




How can your club get started?
First step in becoming a sponsor of a local Soap Box Derby program is to apply to AIIAmerican Soap Box Derby headquarters in Akron for a race city agreement. Derby officials then review the geographic area to be covered by the proposed race to make certain it is not duplicating another program's authorized boundaries. Qualifications of the potential sponsoring group are studied to be sure it has the necessary experience, manpower and funding to conduct a local Derby event. Your group will be contacted by the All-American headquarters staff or by a volunteer regional Derby director to discuss the basic fundamentals of running a Derby program. You will receive a Derby director's handbook which features step-by-step details for running a successful local Derby program. The guide contains suggested promotional campaigns, including news releases and public service announcements. It outlines what to discuss at construction clinics. After you have signed your race city agreement and contributed a race city donation for insurance and some expenses related to your champion's All-American activities, you will receive a quantity of official Soap Box Derby rule books for junior and senior competition. You also will receive information on how to order Kit Cars, wheel sets and other materials and supplies. For more information and an application for a race city agreement, fill in the form or call All-American Soap Box Derby headquarters in Akron at (216)-733-8723. The Derby staff and volunteers will be glad to discuss with you how your club or organization can get started making plans for staging a Soap Box Derby race in your community.

All-American Soap Box Derby 789 Derby Downs Drive Akron, Ohio 44306




Please contact me concerning sponsorship of a Soap Box Derby program

How much does it cost?
The cost of running a Soap Box Derby program varies from one community to another across the country. There are some basic expenses encountered by all local race programs (insurance, travel and printing), but other costs vary according to the scale of the program. An average local Derby project costs about $2,000 for such items as racing T-shirts and helmets for participants, trophies and savings bonds for prizes, police security, printing of stationery and newsletters, mailing, insurance and race city donation to the All-American Soap Box Derby organization. The local Derby sponsor also is responsible for shipping championship racers to Akron and for transportation of the local champion to the AIIAmerican. Some local sponsors also provide travel expenses for the family of the champion, as well as the local Derby director. Some Derby sponsors host a post-race banquet for all contestants, their families and local race officials. Others provide larger cash or scholarship prizes for winners. Some program sponsors even finance trips to the All-American for all contestants in the local Derby. Funding for a local Derby comes from a variety of sources. The sponsoring organization or business firm may choose to pay the entire cost. Other sponsors obtain financial assistance from other civic groups, sale of advertising in the Derby Day program, souvenirs and concessions, donations from local businesses and charities and individual entrant registration fees. To help the youngsters defray costs of building cars, many sponsors line up individual businesses or groups to purchase Kit Cars, wheel sets or building materials. In addition to monetary donations, local sponsors often obtain manpower support from service clubs, as well as contributions of prizes, racing shirts, medical services and a number of other services or merchandise from businesses and individuals.


Your club or organization can become a part of the All-American Soap Box Derby
Your club or organization can become a part of the All-American Soap Box Derby by sponsoring a Derby program in your local community. The rewards are many, as youngsters from your area channel their talents and efforts into a worthwhile project. Along the way, they are learning the basic skills of working with tools and building materials, as well as the spirit of keen competition. These are benefits that will remain with these youngsters through adolescence and on into their adult lives. As you help to shape the lives of your community's youth, your club is building an identity in your area as a group of concerned persons. Your dedication is recognized as businesses and civic groups offer their support of your efforts. And, on Derby Day, when crowds turn out to watch the excitement of these youngsters racing their cars, your members can be proud of what they have accomplished to help make your community a good place to live.

merchandise prizes such as power tools. By the afternoon's end, two new winners emerge to wear the traditional gold jackets signifying they are the champions of the senior and junior divisions of the All-American Soap Box Derby. That evening, the champions, their families and friends, Derby officials and business and civic leaders gather at an Akron theatre to pay tribute to all the contestants in the AIIAmerican Soap Box Derby and to present the awards to the winners. In Derby circles, all contestants in the All-American Soap Box Derby are considered winners, because it is believed they all have enriched their lives greatly through the experiences they have had in Akron during Derby Week and the lessons they have learned while building their cars and racing them in local Derby programs back home.

What is the Soap Box Derby?
The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. AIIAmerican Soap Box Derby finals are held each August at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio, adjacent to the city's municipal airport. The idea of the Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment of Dayton, Ohio, newsman Myron Scott. He covered a race of boy-built cars in his home community and was so impressed with the event that he acquired a copyright for the idea and began development of a similar program on a national scale. The first All-American race was held in Dayton in 1934. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality. Each year since, with the exception of during World War II, youngsters from throughout the United States and several foreign countries have come to Akron with the racers they have built and driven to victory in their home communities. Over those four decades, the designs of the cars have evolved from real "soap box" racers to sleek and sophisticated cars. Back then, youngsters worried about finding four wheels to use on their cars, while today's contestants are concerned about styling aerodynamics of their entries. Today, there are two racing divisions in local and All-American Derby competition. In the junior division, boys and girls 10 through 12 compete in Kit Cars purchased from the All-American headquarters. These kits assist the Derby novice by providing full-scale patterns and all hardware needed to build a basic "sit-up" style car. Introduced in 1976, the junior Kit Car division has proven popular in race communities across the country, as youngsters are exposed to the Derby program for the first time.

How can your club get involved~
Civic clu bs, service organizations and other interested groups can become involved in the "greatest amateur racing event in the world" by becoming a sponsor of a local Soap Box Derby program. Running a local Derby program takes a great deal of dedication. The rewards are many, to the contestants, the volunteers and the community as a whole. A Derby program is not a "one day event." Background work starts as much as a year in advance. That's when the sponsoring group sets up the Derby committee, picks the volunteers for the key posts and begins making preparations for the race. Your club plans its promotional and fund-raising programs. It begins scheduling clinics at schools and youth clubs to instruct interested youngsters in proper construction techniques for their racers. You line up your race committee, including inspectors, judges, track crews, service pit workers and first aid director. As race day approaches, publicity campaigns tell your community about the upcoming Derby parade and other festivities. The Soap Box Derby becomes an EVENT in your town. On Derby Day, the youngsters are proud to show off the racers they have created with their own efforts. Families and friends cheer on their favorites as junior and/or senior division winners are determined. And, then comes the chance of a lifetime for your local champion ...a trip to Akron and the chance to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby!


As boys and girls gain building experience, they progress into the senior division for 12 through 15 year-olds. In this division, the cars are usually the more sophisticated and sleeker racers, often of the "lay-back" style. Seniors can build a car from scratch or they may purchase a senior Kit Car, which also includes patterns and hardware. Twelve-year olds have the option of racing in either the junior or senior division, depending on their experience and skills. The goals of the Soap Box Derby program have not changed since it began in 1934. They are to teach youngsters some of the basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to continue a project once it has begun.

Who runs the Soap Box Derby?
The Derby youth program is administered by International Soap Box Derby, Inc., an Akron-based non-profit corporation. Operations of the corporation are conducted by a board of trustees and executive committee comprised of Akron area civic and business leaders. Prime sponsor of the Derby is Novar Electronics Corporation of Barberton, Ohio. The City of Akron, as well as local and national business firms and organizations, also provide funds and manpower for the Derby activities. In addition, local race organizations contribute funds to support activities of their champions while in Akron. Local race programs are sponsored by a variety of civic clubs, service organizations and business firms. These groups establish their local Derby administrative and promotional organization to conduct the program with the All-American headquarters. Technical conduct of the Derby program is the responsibility of the national control board, which sets the rules and provides interpretation and enforcement. Acting as liaisons between the All-American organization and the local Derby groups are the volunteer regional Derby directors, who have been elected by local directors to assist in communication and coordination. "




What happens in Akron?
Local champions from each of the junior and senior division Soap Box Derby races throughout the country come to Akron, Ohio, in August each year to compete for scholarships and merchandise prizes in the All-American Soap Box Derby. The week these champions and their families spend in Akron is an unforgettable one. Upon their arrival, each of the young champions is whisked into downtown Akron with a police escort. As the young boy or girl arrives at the site of the welcoming ceremonies, the Derby band strikes up a song and an announcer introduces the youngster to the crowd. After signing in on the official entry board, the champions leave for Derby town, a YMCA camp south of Akron which is their home for the duration of Derby Week. Here, the youngsters make great and lasting friendships while relaxing, swimming, riding horses, participating in a variety of sports activities and enjoying the natural surroundings. As the week progresses, the young champions are reunited with their racers which have been shipped from home. The cars are weighed and thoroughly inspected to make certain they meet all the safety regulations. The champs get their first look at Derby Downs, a 954-foot racing track designed specifically for Soap Box Derby competition. Each of the contestants gets a trial run down the course to become familiar with the track. Celebrities from the sports and entertainment world come to Akron to visit the champs at camp and to take part in parades and other Derby festivities.





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Parents and families of the Derby champs, as well as local Derby officials and fans who visit the All-American, also have a busy week. There are special entertainment programs for families and friends, while Derby officials attend meetings concerning rules and workshops on how to improve their local racing programs.


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The week's festivities lead up to Derby Day when the anxious youngsters prime their racers for a chance at the winner's circle. Race day activities kick off with a spectacular track parade, followed by the traditional Oil Can Trophy Race in which celebrities compete in oversized Derby cars. As in local competition, there are junior and senior divisions at the All-American. Senior champs are racing for a share of college scholarships, while the juniors are competing for

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