Soap Box Derby

The River City Soap Box Derby brings together students, parents, and community volunteers to study, build, and race gravity (motorless) soap box cars. The derby gives our participants opportunities to strengthen individual qualities, work as a team, and build stronger bonds with their families. In addition, they get hands-on experience with the real-life application of science, technology, engineering, arts and math in their derby car.  The children’s excitement gives us a peek of what our future holds.  

Soap Box Derby Racing is BACK Fall 2021

During our program, participants are assigned a race car and mentored by parents and community volunteers.  They reverse engineer, rebuild, and learn the history, rules, and regulations of gravity (motorless) racing.  Participants also engage in monthly STEAM-based activities, such as coding, engineering, and digital multimedia.  These “STEAM Saturdays” are facilitated by scientists, engineers, and technology professionals. 

Participants not only learn to build derby cars, they also develop skills in applying knowledge to real-world challenges, employing the engineering design process, working as a team, and being a leader. All of these efforts culminate in our yearly soap box derby hosted in Midtown Columbus, where our racers compete for educational and local championship titles.  

We offer 2 levels of racing under our derby program:  Educational and Sanctioned racing. Educational racing exposes racers to the joys and hard work of racing and gets them great experience behind the wheel. Sanctioned racing is a higher level of competitive racing, with the potential to move on to regional, national, and international competition. 

Youth can get involved in soap box derby racing in a number of ways: 

  • In-School Program – program operates in select Muscogee County Schools (South Columbus, Dorothy Heights, Reese Road, Dimon Elementary, and Wesley Heights). Participants in this program are eligible for Educational race category only.
  • After School Program – 25-week program, offered at the Let’s Grow STEAMx Headquarters. Participants in this program are eligible for the Educational and Sanctioned race category.
  • Loaner Program – Starting Fall of 2021 – Participants in this program are eligible for Educational race category only.

In 2019, the River City Race Program was thrilled to travel to Akron, Ohio, to the International Soap Box Derby Race with the winner of our local championship title, Zyon June!  This was an amazing opportunity for Zyon to not only compete against other regional winners but to test his racing skills against peers from all over the world. Thank you to Liberty Utilities for sponsoring our effort to help youth stay on the right track!