Soap Box Derby in Houlton Maine, the Aroostook County race venue held it’s big June race last Saturday. The State of Maine Soap Box Derby race is in Houlton each year. The success with the derby racing program is tied very much to the course used to host it. If a small town or city street is used for a derby program, the logistics to using that hill are huge. The manpower needed to set up, maintain, tear down and tuck away the equipment needed for a local soap box derby race drains the resources.
At one time Maine has five soap box derby race venues to give boys and girls the opportunity to downhill race.The locations for Maine derby racing were many and spread around the state in Houlton, Bangor/Brewer, South Portland, Rumford and Camden. Houlton is now the lone remaining site for the Maine race used to produce winning derby car drivers to represent the state in Akron Ohio’s All American Race centers on just one major factor. The small Northern Maine community in Aroostook County raised funds, drew up the plans for an engineer hill for rally and local derby races. “Derby Hill” has lights, safety guard rails, a garage at the top for storage that make for time and labor efficient set up and tear down operations. When less time, smaller amounts of yearly funding is channeled into the derby race course, more effort can be poured into other vital areas of the event. The workers putting on the derby race don’t suffer from burn out and drop by the wayside from exhaustion and dwindling numbers.
“Derby Hill” is also used by area children during the winter for sliding on the snow. Even fireworks have been staged off the area called “Topside” during 4th of July celebrations. Spring and fall soap box derby rally races in addition to the annual local run down the hill happens at “Derby Hill”.The Houlton Maine race started with a small group of local parents traveling to Camden to witness a local 1995 derby event. MBNA, the big credit card company was looking for a worthwhile family friendly event to sponsor. The plastic card with the magnetic strip giant allocated twenty thousand dollars to hire derby racing officials from New Hampshire to show the Maine race cities how to put on the event. Like grass fire when it is dry and conditions are right with wind blowing in the right direction, soap box derby racing in Maine took off. In fact, after the Houlton Maine derby race in 1996, the next five annual installments of the downhill event were the largest in the country. The Northern Maine Soap Box Derby race with two hundred cars meant sixty six local volunteers stepped up to pull off the event. Money from sponsors, funding for cars, everything needed from event t-shirts to trophies, from food to car parts had to be raised. Derby car racers from over two hours away in Maine would venture to the Houlton venue to compete. In Akron Ohio when the largest race city award was presented at the All American downhill event, it would be asked over and over. How big is your city, is Houlton Maine to field up to two hundred soap box derby car racers? Just a tad over 6000 population for an answer made the person asking the question scratch their head in disbelief. How could that small a Maine community field that large a field of derby car racers? The answer is you don’t know the size of the heart and passion of a home town proud parent or sponsor or derby race volunteer. More on Maine Soap Box Derby racing in Houlton, the county seat for Aroostook.
Videos of this year, past races below to show what this soap box derby racing program is all about.
Please like and follow us on the Maine Soap Box Derby race page.The planning and execution of events in rural communities of Maine. In small Maine towns, everything is home grown not store bought. You work the event not just pay your price of admission and sit down to enjoy the show and then look for your car to go home.
I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker 207.532.6573 | firstname.lastname@example.org | MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA