Jacket:Soap Box Derby Champion's Jacket

Swingster Wearables1975

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Since the 1930s, America's kids have participated in annual soapbox derby races. Qualifying races take place all over the country, but the World Championship races take place in Akron, Ohio, at Derby Downs, a track built especially for the competition as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project of the New Deal era. Kids aged eight to seventeen race nonmotorized vehicles they have built themselves--initially from scrap lumber--down a 900-foot course. The car that crosses the finish line first, wins the race. The soapbox derbys reached their greatest popularity in the 1950s and 1960s when the baby boomer generation swelled the ranks of competitors, celebrities attended the Akron races, and the derby itself was sponsored by the Chevrolet auto company. Winners often attained speeds of twenty-five to thirty miles per hour in cars that usually weigh about 150 pounds. In 1993, the name of the competition changed to Rally World Championship--it had been many years since the race cars were made from repurposed wooden soapboxes. Karren Stead became the first girl to win the derby in 1974, and the city of Rochester, New York, is one of only two cities to have sent three consecutive winners to the races at Derby Downs. In 1975, Dave Marra won the Monroe County Soapbox Derby at Durand-Eastman Park, and he competed in the national competition in Akron, OH. Competing against 99 other contestants, Marra ran in the second heat of the competition against two other racers. His second place time of 27.72 second eliminated his car from the race. The winner of the 1975 national derby posted a time that beat Marra's by just two-tenths of a second. Marra's gift includes the racer, a t-shirt, winner's jacket and banner, certifcates, inspection tag, and photos.

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  • Title: Jacket:Soap Box Derby Champion's Jacket
  • Creator: Swingster Wearables
  • Date Created: 1975
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: soap box derby
  • Type: Outdoor Play, People at Play
  • Medium: fabric


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